The Freinet pedagogy is an original pedagogy set up by Célestin Freinet and his wife Élise Freinet based on the free expression of children. This pedagogy is part of the nouvelle education that dates back to 1899. Freinet explained the techniques in a book entitled Les techniques Freinet de l’école moderne (1964).
Freinet was a teacher (1920-1928) in Bar-sur-Loup, then in Saint-Paul-de-Vence (1928-1935) and then in Cannes (1946). It was his wife who introduced an artistic dimension to this pedagogy.
Because Freinet was wounded in the lungs during the war, he imagined a pedagogy that would leave more room for children, with fewer big speeches on the part of the teacher. Following school visits in Hamburg, he returned convinced that children need a rich and adapted environment, i.e., close to nature (vegetable garden, fruit trees, livestock areas, etc.) and suitable interior facilities (common room for collective work, specialized manual workshops such as carpentry, mechanical spinning, etc. and specialized workshops in documentation, expression, experimentation).
Freinet adopted walking classes in 1922. Thereafter, his first innovation was free text, used individually or collectively. After being produced, free text was used by the group to look at grammar and any other notions related to geography, history, based on the interests of the child. Célestin Freinet continued to innovate by developing this pedagogy to include cinema, correspondence, free drawing, transcription and more.
What a great way to engage in learning, to make your own schedule while following an already established school curriculum! The worksheets can be given to students who get to decide what they will do and when. Children can thus follow their own progress and express themselves on it. They can discuss and express their observations and questions.
As this pedagogy is based on the child’s decisions, you will need to provide a blank canvas for the child to record the tasks to be done during the week, depending on the school level. The work plan will be adapted to the child’s level of understanding.The parent may ask the child to work on certain concepts, in which case they can provide any necessary material in the form of sheets or activities to be completed. As children are accompanied, they can be guided, as necessary, according to their questions, to the research tools that will help them find their own answers.
Have on hand dictionaries, books, documentaries or any other work that children can consult to find answers to their questions.
Outings are an excellent format for Freinet pedagogy, because they involve the whole dimension of experimental trial and error that is also found in science. Outings in the form of walks in the forest, for example, provide excellent opportunities for observation, exploration and questioning that will form a basis for exploring various concepts to be addressed.
As children grow older, it becomes easier for them to prepare outings and related questions and concepts before an outing, and even to be involved with you in discussing and deciding on the location.
One of the foundations of this approach is cooperation and exchanging knowledge with peers. If your child is surrounded by siblings, he or she can easily engage in exchanges, knowledge sharing, discussions and debates.
Is your child an only child? No problem! They can present the week’s learning to a member of the extended family or to the parent who is at work during the week. All this can easily be done during mealtimes, creating a great opportunity for family bonding over a good meal, with all kinds of conversations regarding their achievements.
Sharing their pride in the work they’ve done will be enriching and rewarding for the whole family.
The basis of this approach is that experimental trial and error and vocational training prepare the child for adult life. It highlights the fact that by empowering children to make decisions about their learning, they will stimulate their need to learn. Thus, they will invest themselves, motivated by their own journey. Freinet deplored the fact that children were always seeking to imitate adults with fake tools. Thus, this pedagogy, which puts the child at the core of their own learning, also involves providing real working tools that enable a real educational approach. This pedagogy seeks to encourage cooperation and the development of engaged individuals who take charge of their own development while respecting others and their environment.
Everything becomes a voluntary engagement on the part of the child to learn and develop. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?
Why not take the opportunity to select the tasks your child wants to accomplish for the next week? Committing to daily tasks is also important in this pedagogical approach that prepares children for the future.
To provide work that can foster your child's autonomy, there are several notebooks, sheets and other resources on the Internet. You can also create your own files that will focus on the concepts to be covered.
It is important to provide your child with adequate materials for their writing workshops: correspondence, greeting cards, free drawing, weekly writing workshop, etc.
Taking care of the vegetable garden, setting the table, sweeping are all activities that promote children's involvement with their environment. Don't forget to invite your child to participate actively in family life, as well as in community life, so that they can thrive in society in a harmonious and responsible way.
The most important thing is that your child should have the opportunity to enjoy varied and enriching educational experiences to diversify their knowledge.
Marc-André Bloch, Philosophie de l'éducation nouvelle (1948), PUF, 1968.
Institut coopératif de l'École moderne, Pédagogie Freinet. Perspectives d'éducation populaire, Maspero, 1979.
Philippe Meirieu, Célestin Freinet. Comment susciter le désir d'apprendre?, PEMF, 2001.
Ginette Fournès, La danseuse sur un fil : une vie d'école Freinet, École vivante (2009).
Sylvia Dorance, S'engager dans la pédagogie Freinet, École vivante (2014). Voir : S'engager dans la pédagogie Freinet
Henri Louis Go, "Freinet à Vence. Vers une reconstruction de la forme scolaire", PUR, 2007.
Nadine Glauque Chantal Tièche Christinat , La pédagogie Freinet concepts , valeur, pratiques de classes, Chronique sociale 2015
Michel Barré, Célestin Freinet et l'École moderne : Chantier BT histoire (avec CD), PEMF, 1996, 39 p. (ISBN 2877854574).
Thanks to Anik Lambert, Annie Shirley Horne, Geneviève Côté, Patrick Riley and Suzanne Lagacé