Parents' Space in schools

As in some other countries, schools in France generally provide a dedicated space for parents. This provides opportunities for parents to meet, participate in learning activities, enhance their understanding of the school and develop their relationship with school staff.

The law of 8 July 2013 (Loi d’orientation et de programmation pour la refondation de l’école de la République du 8 juillet 2013) created a legal basis for the creation of a dedicated room for parents (Espace parents) in all schools .
Two examples of schools which provide a dedicated Parents’ Space are provided. The first is the primary school ‘Les Géraniums’, in Lyon, which has had a 'Welcoming space for parents' (Lieu Accueil Parents, LAP) for about 15 years. The LAP is a physical space which is open to parents during school hours. Its main objectives are to:

  • Contribute to improving the links between parents and teachers,
  • Change negative mutual perceptions,
  • Promote collaboration and involvement of parents in various school activities.

A social worker is available in the LAP for eight hours per week and provides regular activities for parents such as meetings on specific issues to inform them about the functioning of the French education system, meet other teachers, and exchange with municipal social and health services on the schooling of their children. Parents also receive support from the school’s staff (director, teachers).
Parents can visit the LAP at any time and the room is used by parents themselves as a meeting point to discuss, to share experiences of their role as a parent of a schoolchild and support each other. A play corner is available for parents who attend with toddlers. Books, information about school rules and activities, and also about cultural, social, sport and leisure activities in the area, are also available in the room. With the help of the social worker, the room is used to organise talks on school issues (e.g. on how the school operates) or to organise meetings with external specialists (e.g. members of the network of teaching assistants for pupils with learning difficulties, social workers or medical staff). In addition, a number of actions have been developed in which parents are able to get more closely involved in school life, such as: cooking workshops with a view to preparing and selling cakes to fund a school activity; preparing bags for pupils wishing to borrow books from the school library (an activity which has also raised awareness of the importance of reading); and a puppet show, which parents organise and perform for the schools pupils.

At the Collège Schoelcher, also in Lyon, an 'Espace Accueil Parents' has been created. The room is open to parents of children attending both the college and any of the five primary schools in the neighbourhood, and the social worker based there is the same as allocated to the LAP in the primary school Les Géraniums. This makes it easier for parents to join the room, as they already have the habit of attending a similar place in the primary school.
The aims of the parents’ space are to support the integration of families; provide activities to promote a better knowledge of the college and its operation; provide support for student counselling; and promote republican values and citizenship. There are a range of activities provided in the Parents’ Space. These include:

1. Language courses for adults (French as a Second Language) for groups ranging from absolute beginners to preparation for university entrance. This course enable parents to:

  • Progress in French (to understand, speak, read and write) in order to better understand written documents related to schooling of their children and to participate in oral exchanges with teachers.
  • Learn about how the School operates and its expectations, and to enhance collaboration with teachers.
  • Understand how the school system operates in order to be able follow the schooling of their children.
  • Understand the principles and values of the Republic and their implementation in French society.

Characteristics of the action include:

  • 5 groups, of 12-15 people, supervised by stand-in staff, holding a degree in French as a foreign language or by high school teachers ;
  • Pathway with a duration of 120 hours for a school year (minimum 60 hours) re-enrolment possible the following year, with a limit of 3 years;
  • Possible preparation to the Initial Diploma in the French Language (DILF) and to the Diploma in French Studies A1 (DELF A1), but no funding of diplomas;
  • It is free for participants.

2. Activities relating to health issues:

  • A session delivered by a dietician, with kitchen workshop;
  • Fitness for mums’ workshop;
  • First aid’ workshop.

3. Citizenship workshop: this workshop works with parents to publish a newspaper looking at issues relating to citizenship – e.g. usage of mobile phones in college; the evolution of the neighbourhood, the quality of teaching and student success after college, student behaviour when they leave college or school.

4. Tutoring (often provided by the college teachers on a volunteer basis), providing an introduction to topics such as English, Spanish, German and information technology (IT).


1. Language courses for adults (French as a Second Language) for groups ranging from absolute beginners to preparation for university entrance. This course enable parents to:

  • Progress in French (to understand, speak, read and write) in order to better understand written documents related to schooling of their children and to participate in oral exchanges with teachers.
  • Learn about how the School operates and its expectations, and to enhance collaboration with teachers.
  • Understand how the school system operates in order to be able follow the schooling of their children.
  • Understand the principles and values of the Republic and their implementation in French society.

Characteristics of the action include:

  • 5 groups, of 12-15 people, supervised by stand-in staff, holding a degree in French as a foreign language or by high school teachers ;
  • Pathway with a duration of 120 hours for a school year (minimum 60 hours) re-enrolment possible the following year, with a limit of 3 years;
  • Possible preparation to the Initial Diploma in the French Language (DILF) and to the Diploma in French Studies A1 (DELF A1), but no funding of diplomas;
  • It is free for participants.

2. Activities relating to health issues:

  • A session delivered by a dietician, with kitchen workshop;
  • Fitness for mums’ workshop;
  • First aid’ workshop.

3. Citizenship workshop: this workshop works with parents to publish a newspaper looking at issues relating to citizenship – e.g. usage of mobile phones in college; the evolution of the neighbourhood, the quality of teaching and student success after college, student behaviour when they leave college or school.

4. Tutoring (often provided by the college teachers on a volunteer basis), providing an introduction to topics such as English, Spanish, German and information technology (IT).

Type
Practice
Country
France
Language
BG; CZ; DA; DE; EL; EN; ES; ET; FI; FR; HR; HU; IT; LT; LV; MT; NL; PL; PT; RO; SK; SL; SV
School level
Primary; Secondary
Intervention level
Universal
Intervention intensity
Periodic
Funding source
Local funding; National government

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