how are the little French schoolchildren doing?

There’s a kind of reassuring little music that we’ve always been playing: children have a tremendous capacity for adaptation. Convenient, when you have to take what most adults can’t stand. For example: three tests per week and wearing a mask outside. Gaspard is 8 years old. He is in CE2 in an elementary school of 5and district of Marseilles. He would like “ask the president if we could never wear the masks again. Otherwise, just not in the playground. But still, no more at all would be better. » Like other small French schoolchildren, Gaspard has been absorbing, for a little less than two years, the stack of health rules put in place at school.

Read the Decoders article: Health protocol at school: 19 changes to the rules in less than two years

And they adapt. Not without tears or without fear, but they do what they are told, the little ones. Despite the weakening of their social ties, disrupted learning, the uncertainty of tomorrow, the anguish of death, young French schoolchildren are strong. “It’s not difficult, but it’s hard”, this is the basis of their philosophy. After spinning behind the screen or sitting at a table, facing us, primary school students, aged 7 to 10, agreed to answer the question from a distance: ” How are you ? » In their answers without filter or lament, it is less carelessness that is expressed than unconscious resistance. On January 14, the national education system announced more than 330,000 contaminations in one week among students, and 14,380 classes closed. A record since March 2020.

Gaspard, 8, and his little brother Joseph, 7, alongside their mother Charlotte, in their apartment in Marseille, January 10, 2022.

“It takes time away from us to play together”

Arthur, 10, goes to bed every night not knowing if he will go to school the next morning. “When mum receives the email in the evening at 10 p.m., I am already asleep. » When there is no school, “sometimes it’s a bit hard to do the homework alone, because mum is there, but she’s working”. And then “Sometimes I’m very bored because I don’t see my friends too much. There are some, it’s been so long since I’ve seen them that I can’t count. That’s why I like going to school, to have a little laugh, because we always laugh with my friends. »

When there is no school and the homework is done, there is Deadly Adele, books, stickers, toys, TV or a nap. All-you-can-eat crisps, pancakes with mom. The stories we tell ourselves while bored or the activities we are lucky enough to be able to do on the side. Dance lessons, music theory, gymnastics, music, foreign languages… Not all children are in the same boat.

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