Friday, 7 October 2011

Taking the long road

Belgian parents working for the now, and for the future

Fabian Gillard writes –
    On the occasion of the last meeting of the Association of Parents of La Famille, we addressed the issue of the long-term future of children attending the school and family centre La Famille (in Brussels).
    In fact, the school and the center care for children up to age 13 years, and no more. Beyond this age, children are referred to other structures, none of which is the perfect extension of La Famille (whether in terms of work philosophy or the daily method).
    It occurred to me that this question was raising serious concerns, particularly among members of the Association whose children are approaching the fateful age of 13.
    My son Mano is only five years old. I do not experience this anxiety, but I will, for sure.
    This anxiety refers to a question: what can be the sense of a process of guiding one's children on a along a path... that ultimately takes the form of an dead end? What is the sense of a process that ask someone to go forwards... towards a brick wall.
    Unfortunately, the answer is a simple one: there is no sense!
    This finding highlights the 'too small' the place granted to conductive pedagogy in schools and centers, yet this pedagogy is (strictly from my experience) the only one that permits my son the tools to become independent, to move forward, to learn.
    Faced with this problem, two possibilities exist: sit down and weep, or work to create the place.
    We in the APLF have decided to put our energies to this cause: creating a place for ​conductive pedagogy that can accommodate children up to age 18.
    We are once again on the road, together.
    As are our children, every day.
    This makes me think ever more strongly that parents and children are recoiprocally 'conductors', each guiding the other along the same road.
There follows an open letter to parents –
Dear Parents,

As you know, for a little over a year, there is an association of parents at the school and family center La Famille.
Don't hesitatae to come and join us, and to share our conviction: each of us has the power to improve the everysay lives of our children.
How to join? By paying the annual fee of € 12 to the account APLF No. 000-3259138-35, stating 'contribution 2011-2012'. Thank you , we can also send us your full details by e-mail!
What does it mean 'being a member of the APLF'? You are regularly informed of our projects and invited to attend our meetings (once every three months or less). Of course you remain free to participate or not!
How to support us otherwise? By making donations to the account APLF No. 000-3259138-35 with "donation for children." There are no small donations: every small amount helps!
As for the rest: we are entirely at your disposal. All ideas, questions, projects... welcome!
Specific information:
Any message can be left at school for our attention.

The APLF association in a nutshell
Since its inception, the parents' association has used the funds raised (including through the Barbecue Concert held in May this year) to realise the following projects:
  • Acquiring equipment for children: the Association has offered a sandpit for the nursery as well as soccer goals and a multi-table games for school.
  • To improve the quality of living conditions for children during the autumn holidays, the hall on the ground floor will be renovated. To this end, a opreparation day will be held on Saturday, October 22. We need hands to scrape off the paint and sand the walls! Keep that date free, we are counting on you! If you're available, for even a few hours, please contact us!
  • Installating a garden: During the year, a garden suitable for children with disabilities will be built in the playground
  • Organisating activities: The Association has allowed children to spend a day at thenbaths in Brussels, offered (and will again this year) tickets for the Bouglione circus , offered equestrian activity for children who have gone on school camps...
  • Support at school: some school staff have mobilised to enter a team-sponsored marathon, on Saturday, October 15, 2011,. The parents' association has entered two that will run to raise money to school. For non-athletes, it is still possible to sponsor us!
Beyond this, the parents' association has other goals, always more.

The Association and conductive pedagogy
The Association has participated and still participate sn workshops on conductive pedagogy, we try to understand and disseminate the pedagogy to create a link with various professionals.
Discussion and reflection: This year, we wish to address two specific questions:
  • What do our children eat? Food is essential to our children. We want to examine possible ways of offering them a healthy and varied diet.
  • What is the future for our children? What will become of them after La Famille? We wish to examine existing structures and what we might do to improve them.
The Association of Parents
Small steps along a long road, but concrete ones taken with eyes on where families want it to go.

A principle for the future 

The Association offers a further concrete example of what looks like a  factor vital if CE is to hold to its essence and fulfill its promise in the modern Western world: joint 'ownership' of projects (centres, services, whatever), incorporating  families'  inevitably long-term perspectives.

1 comment:

  1. Prompted by this into a meandering reflection on my own blog, Andrew