Since 2017, regional agents of the Service national de la jeunesse have been accompanying childcare structures, day-care parents and youth centres in the development of their pedagogical work. We were on the road with one of them. A field report.
It’s quiet at the Cockerills Park. Too quiet for a day care centre with almost 50 spots. But there is a simple reason for that, because most of the children aged between two months and four years are asleep that afternoon.
Marco Da Silva has announced his arrival for this Tuesday in July. The 41-year-old is one of 33 regional agents of the National Youth Service who monitor the pedagogical quality of working with children and young people in childminders, childcare structures and youth centres across the country.
Marco Da Silva chose the topic of multilingual early childhood education for the on-site visit called especially for the purpose of this research. The 41-year-old regional agent is on first-name terms with the director of the crèche in Esch/Alzette. Being in a partnership with those responsible for crèches, Maisons relais and childminders is crucial for the work of the regional agents. Marco Da Silva sees his work "clearly as a collaboration" that can hardly function without a certain basis of trust. "My work consists to a great extent of asking questions to push their reflection further, to interpellate them with different statements." Without a basis of trust, however, an open exchange is not possible.
Mission: Creating a basis of trust
The regional agents first had to gain this trust. In October 2016, they made informal visits to childcare providers to introduce themselves and explain the quality framework. Da Silva recalls: "They listened a lot and revealed very little about themselves. From the second or third visit onwards, it became more and more of an exchange." Da Silva's assessment of the past years is therefore predominantly positive: "More than 95 per cent of the structures cooperate. Of course, there are also structures where it is more difficult or where there may be resistance. There we simply have to demand more things."
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