The debates should be less heated than a few years ago, when school rhythms hit the headlines. In Orsay (Essonne), parents of students are once again invited to give their opinion on the subject via a consultation for a week and open until December 7. While since 2018, many municipalities have chosen to return to a four-day week for schoolchildren, the city is one of the few (with Molières in particular) to have remained on 4.5 mornings per week for students. kindergarten and elementary.
“In 2018, when the municipalities were able to choose, we had already proposed a consultation, recalls David Ros, the mayor (PS) of Orsay. More than 68%, or 330 participants, had wanted to keep the 4.5-day week, while 150 people had positioned themselves for a return to the 4-day week. We made a commitment to ask the question again four years later. »
Participation should be meaningful
Promise kept. Parents can give their opinion online or on paper. “The idea is not to limit yourself to a ‘stop or even’ to the 4.5-day week, details David Ros. In Orsay, students come to class every morning from Monday to Friday. But they finish earlier, at 3:30 p.m. From 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., extracurricular times are free and they have lessons on Wednesday mornings. »
Five questions are asked of parents on extracurricular activities, timetables, childcare options envisaged… “It remains advisory, warns David Ros. Participation must be meaningful. Because those who want to return to the 4-day week will mobilize. But if this represents only 10% of parents, it will not be very representative. In order for parents to respond in full knowledge of the facts, we indicate to them the cost differences between the two organisations. »
Namely, 64.85 euros per month for the leisure center currently paid for a household with an average family quotient of 1,048 euros, which would increase to more than 88 euros per month with a 4-day week. “An increase of 36%”, underlines the municipality.
Convenience and fatigue as arguments
The “pros” 4-day week are already on the job. “It’s time to change,” breathes Véronique. “Finally,” rejoices Marjorie in advance. The 4 and a half day week is ridiculous, almost all municipalities have abandoned this choice. The children who leave school at 3:30 p.m. are a handful. So the vast majority of children have to work full days, like children who have a 4-day week, but also have to come back on Wednesday morning. The children are tired of this operation, I hope the Orceans will realize it. »
The supporters of five mornings are not left out. “Most of the arguments for a 4-day return revolve around the parents and the “practical” side, believes Isabelle, mother of two children. When you read all the studies carried out by chronobiologists, the 4.5-day rhythm seems more suitable for children. If teachers play the game by favoring learning in the morning, I only see advantages. My daughter, who has just entered 6th grade, had no trouble going to class on Wednesday mornings because she was used to it. My children are no more tired than others. On the other hand, they benefited from extracurricular activities, a real plus. »
In 2022, about half of the children took part in extracurricular activities between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. in elementary school in Orsay. A figure that nevertheless decreases from year to year: in 2018, 54% of students were enrolled, compared to 46% in 2022.
In Les Molières, a village a few kilometers away, the students also continue to go at school five days a week. “Opinions were very divided” on the question in 2018, underlined the municipality. It seems that is always the case. “We are still at five mornings, extended, with a Thursday afternoon of discovery trail, indicates Yvan Lubraneski, the mayor (without label). But there is real pressure from teachers and some parents to go back to four days. To be continued…”