Your child 5-11 years

School rhythms: what are the needs of the child?

School rhythms: what are the needs of the child?


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At the beginning, some children will spend from 4 to 4.5 days of school per week. Is this new pace good for their health? Yvan Touitou, chronobiologist and member of the Academy of Medicine, tells us more.

At the beginning, some children will go to school 4.5 days a week instead of 4. Is this a good thing for them?

  • Yvan Touitou : Yes. At the Academy of Medicine, we have been advocating this for many years and we are not the only ones. All the reports and other symposia on school rhythms all came to the same conclusions. In France, with the current pace, children do not have what they need at school. They have a very short week and very long days but only 144 days of school compared to 180 at most of our European neighbors. It tires them a lot. This is a health problem and yet we observe a kind of corporate selfishness of some adults, parents or teachers, who put their quality of life at the center of the debate, rather than the child.

What do you think of the choice of Wednesday morning for the extra half day of class?

  • Yvan Touitou : From a chronobiological point of view, Saturday morning would have been ideal. Currently, the children have two days in a row without working and if the parents are not attentive to bedtime, they shift their pace. As the weeks go by, fatigue accumulates. The draft reform provides that the choice of the half day is left to the discretion of the rectorates but, again, we can make recommendations, society is there. Parents are used to having 48 hours with their child, some are divorced, others work a lot during the week and are fond of these weekends. It is understandable but we return to the comfort of the adult who takes precedence over that of the child.

At the beginning of the next school year, the days will not exceed 5:30 of lessons. Is this the ideal duration?

  • Yvan Touitou At the Academy of Medicine, we asked that the days be modulated according to the age of the child between 4 hours and 5:30 of lessons per day. This does not mean that the child should not be in school beyond this time, but he or she must do other activities. These 5:30 must also include time for homework and lessons. At noon, the break of 1h30 minimum is also a good measure. That is so up to the tray. Children need to breathe and take the time to eat. In college, some students do not even have 30 minutes to eat, it's not possible!

Do you think the holidays are too long, as we say a lot?

  • Yvan Touitou : They are too long only because the year is too busy. If you want to rebalance the year, you have to cut it somewhere ...

Stéphanie Letellier