Referential benchmarks for nursery schools approved by Wallonia-Brussels Government

Referential benchmarks for nursery schools approved by Wallonia-Brussels Government
Children playing in a nursery. Credit: Belga

The Government of Wallonia-Brussels on Wednesday approved a draft decree establishing the first referential benchmarks for the federation’s three-year nursery programme.

The draft decree is one of the recommendations of the Pact of Excellence conducted during the preceding legislature. It formalises, for the first time, in a binding text the basic skills that all children need to master by the time they leave nursery school.

The new framework prioritises the psychomotor, intellectual, artistic and emotional development of the child. It also lays out learning targets in the areas of autonomy, creativity, thought, language skills and school culture, reading, experimentation, structuration and categorisation of the world.

“While ensuring that a solid base, common to all pupils, is developed, these referential benchmarks aim to sustain the desire to learn and learning pleasure,” Education Minister Caroline Désir (Socialist Party) said in a press release.

“The targeted knowledge, know-how and skills have been selected while taking care not to subject the pupils too early or too quickly to formal education,” the text added. “These benchmarks aim to respect the general development of each child and thus contribute to a harmonious transition to primary education.”

The new requirements are the result of months-long work by a working group made up of nursery teachers, Inspection Service officials and various academic experts. They were then reviewed by a committee of mainly nursery teachers and will now be presented to unions and education officials for their comments.

After the final draft is approved by the Government, it will need to be confirmed by a decree adopted in Parliament.

According to Minister Désir, this legislative process is expected to be completed by the first semester of 2020, paving the way for the decree’s entry into effect at the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

By then, continuous training courses will have been organised for nursery teachers to familiarise them with the new requirements and enable them to apply them correctly.

The Brussels Times

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