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Marjorie Bautista - teacher in the public school (Education Nationale) for 5 years - co-founder of the democratic school « Ecole Dynamique » in Paris - co-founder of the democratic village « Village de Pourgues » - Marjorie offers immersions in Pourgues for families who make the choice of a democratic education, in school, in a family or in a community.
In Village de Pourgues, children grow in an environment where they can interact with many people. Villagers spend time, pay attention and take care of their own children and those of others: coeducation happens daily!
I live this coeducation since 1 year with joy and gratitude for my little boy Zeÿa, who is 16 months old. Here are some examples of my daily life that I wish to share with you.
Since his birth, I hold Zeya in a sling, as often as possible, especially during naps and we have taken the habit to go for a walk in this moment.
Rapidly, some villagers wished to hold Zeya in a sling too, in order to help dealing with his naps. When they see that he is tired, they take the sling, give me a little nod and go with him for a walk to the “land of dreams”. When he wakes up, they rock him, talk to him and come back to me if he expresses the desire to suck. Zeÿa is always smiling, peaceful and happy. These naps with them are a source of well being and give him confidence in himself and in the other.
During meals, Zeÿa chooses the person with who he wishes to eat. Villagers are happy to share their dish with him. And all of them are authentic in the way they share with him. L. likes eating with fingers sitting on the floor. She takes Zeÿa on her knees and lets him put her fingers on her dish and empty it as he want. On the other side, J, prefers eating sitted at a table and uses cutlery. He sets up a firmer frame: Zeÿa can take on the dish only if he throws nothing on the ground or on the table and if he is relaxed in his gestures. He does not hesitate to tell him stop calmly and firmly, and get him off his knees when he passes his limits. B regularly invites Zeÿa to her home to eat fish or yogurts. Having rather vegan parents he discoveres other food products.
These culinary experiences will later allow him to be able to choose his diet freely and not imposed by his parents.
Thanks to these shared meals, Zeÿa gradually integrates the codes of this ritual with the sensibilities, the habits, the tastes and the limits of each one.
Every day, Zeÿa can live "real games" with different villagers. I insist on real games because in Pourgues, authenticity in relationships is important: we do not allow ourselves to play with Zeÿa or another person if we do not really want to. It is the diversity of our interests and personalities that allow Zeÿa to live a myriad of games: B loves to read stories, L enjoys playing guitar with him, M is happy to make castles sand, I enjoy flying paper planes, R offers pursuit races, G likes to hold him and jump with him on the sofa, ... How lucky to have as many people of any age to play with daily !
When having a bath, L enjoys being with Zeÿa: they discuss, play, sing ... Zeÿa discovers other possible, other ways to live this "ritual" moment of the evening. Then L. soapes, rinses, dries and then dresses him, with great joy and patience, as if he was his own child. All these attentions of caring for him develop further his confidence in himself and in the other.
Coeducation is also expressed in the emotional moments that Zeÿa goes through. For example, in learning to walk, Zeÿa regularly falls with more or less "damage". There is then very often a villager who takes the initiative to deal with the situation: make sure the injury is not too serious, be present for him, hold him if he asks for it, heal the wound if necessary ... Zeÿa gets the attention he needs. He understands that his parents are not the only ones to welcome his wounds and tears. How this is reassuring, for him and for me!
I love this coeducation in Pourgues: it is rich, stimulating, it is a source of happiness and learning for all. Zeÿa develops his personality, his relational-emotional-physical-intellectual abilities and acquires the socio-cultural codes with great speed thanks to these multiple interactions.
And above all, co-education in Pourgues is harmonious because coherent with the established culture: "democratic education". What is it exactly? You will learn more about it in my next article!