Learning in nature: a school in Montluçon (Allier) practices school outside

Under an old oak tree, the children sit in groups. After having listened to the instructions of their teacher, they aim to form a figure with what they have picked up on a path in the bocage: pebbles for the eyes, a pine cone for the nose, straw for the mouth. … “But be careful, you mustn’t tear anything,” warned the teacher.

Reconnect with nature

For the first year, the four classes of the Louise-Michel kindergarten, in Montluçon, practice the school outside at the rate of one morning per week. Born in the countries of the North, this pedagogy reconnects with the primordial need of the child to spend time in nature.

Observe at your own pace

“Some children go outside very little, and adults don’t encourage them, for fear of dirt or injury. They are not comfortable running, climbing, inhibited. The school outside offers children freedom of movement, the possibility of observing at their own pace and getting to know the world around them better, “explains school teacher Delphine Chenevat, who guides her class of medium and large every Monday. towards the old string railway, a pretty green site on the edge of town, near rue de Marignon.

Better focus

Since the start of the school year, she has taught students how to flush out chestnuts, insects, slugs, hawthorn and even plantain. “We are also working on more academic notions, such as opposite words – soft and hard, for example – or the arrangement of elements of nature from largest to smallest. When we work on the concrete, it remains anchored in them. »

Work in group

Studying in a group strengthens cooperation. “It forces them to come together to achieve a goal. We are not in competition, I want future citizens who help each other, ”supports the school teacher, who recalls all the benefits of these pedestrian outings: strengthening the immune system, fighting obesity, improving the well -being, self-esteem or stimulate creativity.

There are also benefits for teachers. Freedom of action is greater. We act according to the children’s remarks, we rely on what they see, we let go a little

Better inclusion for students with disabilities

Four adults supervise the outing, including Atsem (territorial agent specialized in nursery schools) Marie-Alice. “We see that children are more sensitive to nature than at the beginning of the year. When they see litter, they alert us,” she notes. “For students with disabilities, it helps them to evolve, to socialize,” adds Nathalie, AESH (accompanying student with disabilities).

A micro-forest in the school

This initiative is not isolated in this Louise-Michel school. In the playground there is an educational hive, vegetable plots, an orchard, a composter, a vermicomposter, chickens and even a micro-forest, planted a few weeks ago. “We are four close-knit teachers, with the same desires and the same vision of teaching”, explains Delphine Chenevat.

premium A micro-forest planted in a kindergarten in Montluçon (Allier)

While the schoolchildren are finishing their “abominable or adorable man of the woods”, the teacher takes stock of this first year of school outside. “This has allowed some children to approach others more easily, to integrate more quickly. We also see that their vocabulary has progressed, as has the construction of sentences. »

Guillaume Bellavoine