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Three Figures Game

Game guide

To be continued :
facial expressions
I understood that when we are hurt, we must tell the mistress.
Oliver, 8 years old
The J3F, what it is
The J3F, what it is not
To appropriate the J3F

The J3F, what it is

3FG is a form of theatrical activity which aims to allow children sharing common experiences in their daily lives to discover and experiment with new relational possibilities in an overlap of their respective play areas. It is totally in line with the 2015 programs which provide in part three: “a school where the children will learn together to live together”. It is specified that each child must be able to "build himself as a unique person within a group, (…) through the concrete situations of class life, an initial sensitivity to moral experiences (feeling of empathy, expressions fair and unfair, questioning stereotypes…)”.

The J3F fulfills five of the six objectives that French programs set for kindergarten : appropriating the language, learning the rules of socialization and living well together, acting and expressing oneself with one's body, implementing the imagination, and valuing the reference to writing.

3FG encourages other important functions at this age : it constitutes a form of pre-education in images by allowing children to take a step back from those they see, especially on television; he teaches “pretend” and encourages children to “imitate for fake” in their games rather than “for real”; it fights against gender stereotypes; it facilitates the learning of the French language among non-French-speaking students; it favors the recognition of the emotions and it stimulates the narrative construction.

But it has been specially designed to invite children to imagine themselves in each of the postures of an aggressive situation and to teach them never to let themselves be made into a victim without protesting. This last result was confirmed by an evaluation carried out in 2007 and 2008 (see “ Historical ").

The J3F, in its version adapted to CM1, CM2 and colleges, adds to the initial objectives the care given to the construction of the change of emotional perspective. The period between nine and twelve years indeed seems particularly favorable to the implementation of this capacity. The priority objective at this age is to prevent the child from locking himself into a rigid posture which could lead him to a radicalized commitment.

The J3F, what it is not

3FG is not an “expressive” activity. It is not a question of encouraging free play, but on the contrary of setting benchmarks to encourage children to explore multiple identificatory postures, when many of them have already settled into a single identificatory posture - in particular aggressor or victim.

The J3F is not "doing theater". It is not a question of interpreting a work or a character, but of living a collective experience which makes it possible to reintroduce flexibility into relations by implementing different forms of symbolization, and by confronting different roles.

3FG is not role-playing. The role play leaves a lot of room for improvisation. On the contrary, in 3FG, the actions, sentences and emotions related to the situations are precisely fixed before the volunteers begin to play.

3FG is not psychodrama. There is no form of interpretation: teachers or educators are invited to make no comments, neither on the meaning of the stories constructed and then acted out by the children, nor to "judge" the performance of the children, even if it would be with the intention of enhancing it.


All of the theoretical foundations of the J3F, as well as the specific protocols adapted to kindergarten, elementary and middle school students, are available in this "Practical Guide" version 2018 available in a digital version that can be downloaded free of charge for people who have undergone training. J3F. This guide replaces the old "manual" published in 2007 under the title: "The Game of Three Figures in kindergarten classes" which is no longer valid. It gives a new impetus to the 3FG by introducing the dimensions of the recognition of facial expressions, the importance of theatrical acting and the construction of empathy. Finally, it develops these same benchmarks by adapting them to the characteristics of pupils in elementary and secondary classes, in such a way that it constitutes the only valid guide for the Game of Three Figures from infancy to adolescence. But, no more than the old one, this guide does not claim to replace the "face-to-face" training which is essential for practicing 3FG.

To appropriate the J3F

The J3F is a protocol that is both highly codified and very free. It is codified because it is essential that the teachers know perfectly the steps and the sentences that they must pronounce in it, insofar as these guarantee the framework. These sentences work a bit like the famous "once upon a time", except that here it is not a question of opening up the space of the imagination of the tale, but the space of the imagination of the game. However, as long as the essential steps of the 3FG are respected, it is possible for each facilitator to "personalize" it.

Thus since the J3F was set up, many proposals have been made by teacher facilitators and trainers to make it more attractive and easier for children without changing anything in its principle. Here are the main proposals so far. They may or may not be put in place by the facilitator teachers, depending on their own sensitivity and that of the children in their charge.

An opening and end of session song (in Kindergarten)...

A song to accompany facial expressions (in kindergarten)...

To help contain emotions (in Kindergarten)…

Encourage and develop self-talk (in Kindergarten)…

Two proposals for teachers for reception (nursery)...

Three proposals to encourage a return to calm (kindergarten)…