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atelier du savoir

The Atelier du Savoir project



The key concepts


This intervention is based on the following key concepts:

- A child-centered/group-centered concept as compared to the
classroom-centered concept.
- A participatory concept as compared to the only-teacher-
knowledgeable person concept.
- A child`s own reality concept starting from the known to the unknown
- A success-oriented concept in monitoring and evaluation as compared to the failing-child evaluation concept.

The whole programme acknowledges the dialectical relationship which exists between special education and the need for inclusion.













 Our main concern is the overall development of the child in line with the provisions of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child. Our main references are Articles 28 & 29 of the Convention.

Article 28:
The child has a right to education, and the State’s duty is to ensure that primary education is free and compulsory, to encourage different forms of secondary education accessible to every child and to make higher education available to all on the basis of capacity. School discipline shall be consistent with the child’s rights and dignity.

Article 29:
Education shall aim at developing the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to the fullest extent. Education shall prepare the child for an active adult life in a free society and foster respect for the child’s parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, and for the cultural background and values of others.








1. Provide a child-friendly learning environment for the child 
2. Allow the child to discover/develop his potentials and explore all his talents/skills in line with the development of his multiple intelligence 
3. Provide the child with a variety of stimulating and life skills development activities such as literacy and numeracy in the child's language, group play, music, performing arts, crafts (painting, embroidery, wood carving & screen printing), movement education, cookery, needlework, swimming, exposure to IT & audiovisual education. 
4. Provide nutritive meals to the child so as to stimulate attention. (breakfast and lunch are provided to children) 
5. Provide guidance on how to learn through workshops and instructors instead of teachers as providers of knowledge. 
6. Provide further training to those aged 16+ in open employment 
7. Setting up of a participatory management which caters for children’s opinions. 
8. Involve parents

The operational system

The Atelier du Savoir is run on a model close to a special needs school. Children aged 9-17 are grouped in small units of 8-10 according to criteria of age, developmental level and socialization/behavioural level.
The school calendar is similar to that of the mainstream primary schooling. Activities are organized from Monday to Friday from 9.00 hours to 14.30 hours.

The daily plan of work is worked out on the basis of

(a) a series of activities (as mentioned below)
(b) a time-table with two broad periods in the morning and one broad period in the afternoon.
(c) a number of instructors each one with special skills in one specific field.







The project rests furthermore on the following framework and measures:

1. Each instructor is entrusted with a group of children over one period. The activity is documented in a carnet de bord by the instructor.
2. Various corners or workshops are used. They range from a room and hall accommodation to open spaces such as playgrounds and sheltered workshops.
3. Every morning, a meeting is held among the instructors to review the previous day’s activities and fine tune the present day’s activities.
4. Every thursday, another meeting is held to review the week’s activities and plan the following week’s activities. This meeting serves as well as a means of continuous monitoring and evaluation of the children and of the project itself.
5. A more structured method of evaluation is carried out at the end of each term.



The beneficiaries


Who are the beneficiaries and how many are they:
1. 61 children aged 9-17 who would otherwise be at great risk due to the fact that they are not at any educational or training structure.
2. the parents with whom we are in permanent contact through visits and meeting and the food aid programme.






Benefits to the community

1. Children are held out of the streets and are less likely to indulge in deviant actions
2. Through the socialization programme, they learn to adhere to acceptable norms of society
3. Parents are empowered in terms of parenting skills and reinforcements techniques as regards proper socialisation

Number of children concerned: 61


Un apprentissage enrichi par les disciplines artistiques
Au cours des activités quotidiennes à l'ecole specialisée l'atelier du savoir, Terre de paix, les enfants et adolescents participent à des cours d'alphabétisation, de mathématiques, d'anglais, mais aussi à des ateliers vocationnels, comme la cuisine, la menuiserie... En plus d'enseigner ces disciplines, les animateurs de Terre de paix cherchent, chaque jour, à développer davantage la créativité de l'enfant et à l'engager dans une démarche artistique, par le biais des cours de musique, de sculpture, de créativité...

Des études scientifiques ont montré l'efficacité de ces programmes artistiques et culturels et corroboré ainsi les observations faites sur le terrain, par le personnel de Terre de Paix. En effet, depuis plusieurs années, l'expérience menée à Terre de Paix a apporté des résultats tangibles concernant le développement de l'enfant. Ainsi, on observe que le comportement de nombreux enfants s'est amélioré et leurs capacités d'apprentissage se sont renforcées grâce à leur participation active au sein des ateliers artistiques.

Contribuer à bâtir une société imprégnée de plus de compassion, par le biais d'un combat incessant contre toutes formes de pauvreté et contre ses conséquences sur les familles, et les enfants en particulier.



Camp Levieux project : A community perspective that has worked out great!


This report describes and analyses a unique experience carried out at the Camp Levieux Primary School for the past two and a half years. Designed in the form of a specific project, this experience took the challenge of addressing the issue of behaviour problems of a number of children at school and the ways in which the necessary conditions had to be created through a community-based action led by Terre de Paix and involving all the stakeholders. The project on the whole turned out to be a most conclusive experience that will need further support for its development.

1. Origin of the project

The intervention of Terre de Paix at the camp Levieux Government School in 2005 addressed a felt need of the school and the community. It pertained to an unmanageable situation of the school as regards behaviour problems depicted by a number of children and their parents.
The concept paper presented to the UNDP in 2005 mentioned the original tasks of the initial project in the following terms:

1. “Containment of behaviour problems depicted in around 20 children (10% of school population)
2. Attainment of a workable school environment for teachers and the other children of the school
3. Acquisition of education skills in terms of literacy, numeracy and creative arts for the targeted children”

2. The first inferences

The concept paper referred as well to the evaluation process in October 2006. The work carried out from a community perspective had yielded indeed good results. More importantly, this initiative had clearly opened the way to a number of innovative practices aimed at forging a viable partnership among the school, parents and the community. In this regard and based on the one and a half year experience of the project, a specific action-oriented programme was submitted to the UNDP based on the concept of capacity building so as to reinforce the tradition of the project at school and to develop its capacities to position itself as an inspiring model taking into consideration the fact that many other schools were and are still experiencing unmanageable situations due to behaviour problems of children and parents. A proposal was thus explicated on the following lines and details:

“The following proposal was construed as the way forward toward
(a) Further developing the project at Camp Levieux Government School and
(b) At the same time, rendering this particular experience accessible to other schools in the form of a support and complementary training programme.

The proposal rests basically on the same methodology used to achieve the results obtained at Camp Levieux. We believe therefore that the basic requirements for the project to continue in the first instance and to develop its full potential subsequently are to:

1. Allow for the project to continue at Camp Levieux on the lines expressed in proposal 1 annexed.
2. Disseminate the experience and the methodology used to a number of stakeholders at various levels of decisions and action. The teachers, deputy head teachers, head teachers, and the cluster coordinators are to be targeted in priority in this respect.
3. Address a number of themes relating to the current situation at school”

The proposal met with a favourable response from the UNDP in February 2008 on basically the same lines developed in the concept paper.

3. Confirmation of action

This confirmation of action of the project at Camp Levieux materialised on the basis of:
a. A memorandum of understanding between Terre de Paix, the UNDP and the Ministry of Education and Human Resources in February 2007.
b. A detailed action plan for 2007 from Terre de Paix, the executing agency submitted to the UNDP. (See annex II)


After two and a half years' existence, this project has been phased out at the level of direct intervention at school. Work in the community however is ongoing. 


For more details of this unique experience in Mauritius, click here



The Arts and Crafts Project


1. Vocational training to 15+yrs old
2. Pre-vocational exposure to children <15 yrs old from the Atelier du Savoir
3. Employment opportunities.





1. Children from Atelier du Savoir
2. Residents from youth home