Wednesday, July 04, 2012

No school on Wednesday

In many regions of France, nursery and primary schools follow a four day week system in which Wednesday is a no school day. When students move on to middle school (collège), they study half day on Wednesday then full day when they go to high school (lysée). This system requires a different way of organization in terms of family life.

If both parents are working, they need to find a way to take care of the kids on Wednesday. There are several options:

1. Baby sitter
Hire a baby sitter to come to your house or send your kid to her place.
In our case, our current sitter will apply for a certificate in order to take care of a preschool kid. She will have three kids under 3 years old + one preschool kid on Wednesday.

2. Local childcare center
Find a spot in local childcare center who organizes activities for kids on Wednesday.
The structure that Aelig went to every Friday afternoon is closed on Wednesday to welcome kids over 3 years old.

3. Local leisure center
Some parents enroll their kids to different kind of extra-curricular activities organized by the Town hall.

4. Grand-parents or relative
Helps from grand-parents are quite common if they are living in the same town or same area.

5. Working four days a week (4/5ème)
Parent can negotiate to work only four days a week and take off on Wednesday. Traditionally most of the people working at 80% are women but there are more and more dads join in. It seems that employers here are quite comprehensive to their employees family situation as it is not uncommon to see people working on different kind of contract conditions: 90% (4.5 days a week), 80% (4 days a week), 50% (2,5 days a week). The drawback is that it becomes more complicated in terms of planning in the working environment. For example when schedule meetings or trainings we have to try to avoid Wednesday, decisions or information requests are pending as the person in charge do not work on Wednesday...

No school on Wednesday has also created some inconveniences for parents. Many baby sitters choose not to work on Wednesday as they want to be with their own children who are off school. Some childcare centers are closed. Parents have to think of other solutions and sometimes it is not easy to find one.

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