ID of the school                                                                                               

Name of the School: De Kameleon (the Chameleon)

City: Brussels (Anderlecht)

Country: Belgium

Number of pupils: 184 in the whole school (2.5-12),  76 pupils in pre-primary education (2.5-6) divided in four classes (K0-K1-K2-K3)

DIVERSITY AS A REALITY AND A STRENGHT

For the Kameleon (the Chameleon), situated in Anderlecht (an urbanised area near one of the three main stations in Brussels), diversity is a daily reality. Having classes with an almost 100% divers pupil population, this school mirrors its surrounding neighbourhood. The reality shows families living in a low socio-economic situation. Also, a lot of children did not attend childcare, so the school is the first environment outside the family. Although the situation is challenging, diversity is seen as a strength. Striving to create equal opportunities for all children, the school is not afraid to try new things; as a chameleon is able to change colour and adapt in a variety of situations. 

A SCHOOL WITH A VISION

Let’s learn from care”

The Kameleon takes the children and their story as the starting point for learning.  The developmental goals are taking the uniqueness of every child into account. The school wants to use play- and experience-based learning to connect with the home-world of children and their families. Because of the background of the children ‘care’ has a special place in the school, which is mainly a task for the assisting practitioners throughout the day. Due to the VALUE project the school has noticed that care and education are still two separate worlds in their daily practice. So, the main aim of VALUE is to bring them together.

A DYNAMIC AND WELCOMING TEAM

“The team can always count on me” (assisting practitioner)

In the Kameleon there is a dynamic and welcoming team. This team consists of all-female pre-primary core practitioners, who do not represent the diversity of the neighbourhood. There are also 3 assisting practitioners (one male), who support the core practitioners and are the bridge between school and parents. The openness of the team makes them a vigorous group to work with. Although the core and assisting practitioners appreciate each others work, they are in search of ways to connect as a team. 

OUR STORY

Using a narrative approach we started with strengthening the group-dynamic. In the first phase, creating awareness and reflection were central. In the next phase, we refelcted on the words and the meaning they used for ‘care’takers, parents, children, the team… Together we created a vocabulary they wanted to use. These concepts are the bases for a strong vision on educare. The story continues by focusing on three central themes: the involvement of all members of the team (team teaching), goals and actions for ‘a child-ready school’ (instead of school-readiness of the child) and the parent as an active agent in the school.