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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisational variations and alternative structures in ECEC

Belgium - French Community

4.Early childhood education and care

4.7Organisational variations and alternative structures in ECEC

Last update: 27 November 2023

Alternative pedagogies

Several pre-primary schools have adopted teaching methods that are based on the educational principles of educationalists such as Decroly, Freinet or Steiner.  These institutions are often named after these pedagogues.


Some pre-primary schools also provide early learning of a foreign language (from the third year of pre-primary education), while others practise linguistic immersion in German, English or Dutch starting at the same stage.

Linguistic immersion is a pedagogical procedure aimed at ensuring the mastery of the expected competences by providing part of the pedagogical activities in a modern language other than French. It aims for the progressive acquisition of this other language (decree of 11 May 2007).

In the third year of pre-primary education, if part of the weekly timetable is dedicated to immersion learning, it consists of a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 21 periods (out of 28 periods). Lessons and educational activities provided in the immersion language seek to achieve the attainment of both the competences set out in the core skills and oral and written communication competences in the immersion language.

If a school or centre organises immersion learning, this is mentioned in the school plan. Enrolment in immersion learning should not entail a selection process.