“The schoolyard is full”: struggle, resilience and hope

“The schoolyard is full”: struggle, resilience and hope


If raising a child requires a village, where is that village when students are struggling? This is the question posed by Jannie-Karina Gagné, whom we discovered during the first two parts of “The courtyard is full”. 

Mom of three children with special needs, Jannie-Karina has, in this new variant “The schoolyard is full”, launched the mission to understand where the shoe pinches in the education system and, above all, to seek if it there are solutions to meet the needs of all children.

Through these three new 45-minute episodes, she goes to meet families who have children with special needs, but also discusses with many school workers, specialists and teachers, who draw up with her the inventory of the system, needs and lacks. It addresses, among other things, waiting times, service breakdowns, gaps in specialized resources, but also Lab-schools and “the schools of tomorrow”.

Her meetings and her discussions at home with her husband, Jean-Nicolas Verreault, as well as a brief stop in Finland, will lead her to sit down with the former Minister of Education Jean-François Roberge.

Why Finland?

Jannie-Karina traveled to Finland to understand why the Finnish system is still cited as a success story and how the Scandinavian country meets the special needs of children. In particular, we visit with her a modest school in the city of Jyväskylä.

One of the teachers explains that there the school really values ​​the development of children and their esteem by offering, in addition to the basic subjects, various technical courses, for example carpentry, cooking, art, directly included in the course. Students learn while having fun, in a playful but simple classroom, where two or three adults work together to help the children and support the teacher.

The teacher also specifies that Finland has made the social choice to put the school and the students at the center, where, whatever the issue, from primary school onwards, all students have access to the same portal combining the health system. and education, among other things to facilitate the sharing of information when the time comes to meet specialists. Finland has thus understood that, diagnosed or not, each student is unique and the way of teaching cannot be a monolithic block. So that the evaluations are used to evaluate the notions acquired individually and not to mark the student in relation to the others. Whether or not they have a disorder, the children are all in the same class, although they progress at their own pace.

The so-called opinion documentary series highlights the determination parents who refuse to abandon their children in the system, sometimes at the risk of sacrificing their own health. As with the previous installments, this documentary series is touching, luminous and benevolent.

  • “The schoolyard is full” is available in the VÉRO.TV section of ICI TOU.TV EXTRA since Thursday.