Sunday, 6 April 2008

French movement gathers pace

Parallels with Anglophonie

Leticia Burigo writes -

Did you know about this 10-year school in France ? I have some friends there and they follow my blog. They sent me this article from today. Great!

I replied, thanking her and saying that I know the French Association for Conductive Education but not the specific programs mentioned in the interesting newspaper article that she attached:

Daniel le Gall, «Avant, je ne pouvais pas me tenir debout», Ouest-France, 4 April 2008

I added that I would try to find out a little more over the weekend. In the meantime, I cautioned that it is unlikely that the work reported would be a 'school' as such as, since the badly mishandled official French visit to the Pető Institute a few years back, it is unlikely that Conductive Education will be countenanced in France without further major official review.

Ulysse's odyssey

The article that Leticia sent me focusses upon the story of a seven-year-old boy called Ulysse who attends a project under the auspices of the Association Française de l'Education Conductive (Afpec). His mother, Christine Durieux, explains that some twenty families in the West of France have organised three- or four-week blocks, in the towns of Laval, Saint-Malo and Caen, with parents free to choose the duration of attendance. Services are provided by visiting Hungarian conductors.

She adds that Conductive Education is not always well appreciated in France:

Some doctors recognise the progress made but do not want to interest themselves in the method. But others do support us.

The organisation wants to show that Conductive Education exists. There was an open day in Laval on Saturday, to mark ten years of the local association, with speakers from Afpec national and from La Famille in Belgium.

Vive la France!

Ulysse's family has a blog that illustrates his progress over the years:

So has the family of a little girl called Alice, aged two-and-a-half years:

Alice attended the program in Pouilly, now her family has established a centre nearer home, under its own association, Association Enfance Handicap Moteur, with the catchy name of A petits pas (“For first steps'). Local publicity is being achieved:

Another French family blog is Les progres d'Ilona:
Ilona's family is still in the going-to-Pető phase.

If you cannot read French, then the ample photos in all three blogs are strikingly familiar.

Parallels and contrast

Like much of the development in the Anglophonie (as the French call the the English-speakingworld) and elsewhere in recent years, the conductive movement in France is following family visits to Hungary with establishment of visiting programs back home, it is parent-led, Internet-reported, small-scale, small-town and presumably marginally funded.

The movement's long hibernation in France has meant that the country seems to have skipped the stage of aiming to create medium-size institutions, once a quite common aspiration in the Anglophonie and beyond.

NB None of this is to deny the pervasive economic problems experienced worldwide by marginally capitalised institutions, in any country.


Leticia Burigo is a parent and activist in Brazil:

Previous items on CE in France:

One of the links in the website of A petits pas is to the Dévény Anna Alapítvány (the Anna Dévény Foundation) in Budapest. I think that this is the first time that I have ever seen this mentioned by any CE service outside Hungary. Twenty years ago a big question for some back in Hungary was whether the two approaches, the 'Dévény method' and Conductive Education, were mutually supportive, or mutually antagonistic. I do not know whether that question was ever satisfactorily resolved.

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