- 2006: the « nursery school strategy »
- 2007-2008 : evaluation
- 2010: Expansion to Specialized Education and Colleges
2006: the « nursery school strategy »
"At the end of 2005, INSERM gave a worrying report about violence in schools. The solution suggested an identification of violent behaviors as early as nursery school and kindergarten. This finding has led to very negative reactions among child care professionals because of the risk of stigmatization of some children at an age where behaviors have not yet stabilized and can therefore not be predicted. The collective of practitioners “No zero for behavior for the under three years old” was born in this context.
However, condemning the solution which was suggested should not make us ignore the existing problem! This was the basis on which I thought of a way to help reduce school-based violence by setting three priorities: non stigmatization of children; helping those who tend to be attacked without protesting as much as those who attack without reason, because both are equally worrying; and letting the teachers put it in place for themselves. Thus I imagined a theatrical activity which I have called the Three Figures game, as a response to the proposals of the Inserm report, as a strategy for kindergartens. This project was further refined thanks to my studies on empathy, in particular developed in my book published in 2010: Empathy, at the heart of the social game (Albin Michel).
Since then, other advantages of the Three Figures game have been pointed out by its users, in particular fighting gender stereotypes, learning of the French language among non-francophone pupils, recognition of emotions and development of narrative skills. This is hardly surprising since all these abilities have a link with empathy!
Violence and harassment are terrible problems and there will obviously never be a single solution. However, 3FG shows that even at a young age, empathy is one of the best tools that we have to build a more serene world together.
2007-2008 : evaluation
The effectiveness of 3FG was evaluated in 2007-2008 by a research carried out in 6 classes, thanks to funding from the Fondation de France (Tisseron S. (2010) Prevention of violence by the "Jeu des Trois Figures ", Devenir, Volume 22, Issue 1, 2010, pp. 73-93).
During one school year, six kindergarten classes belonging to three schools (nursery schools Saint-Pierre in Paris (75), Langevin in Argenteuil (95) and René Coty in Gonesse (95) have participated in a research program that has been possible thanks to the support of the Fondation de France. In each school, one class had benefited from 3FG each week for one year, and another class, called "control class", had not benefited from it. A projective test - a simplified "Patte Noire” - was carried out in a blind test by research psychologists before the inclusion in the research, and after a year of experimentation.
Results were identical for all schools and social categories of children. (This refers to the age range of 4-6 years, which obviously does not mean that differences related to social categories do not appear later on.)
Three significant differences appear between September 2007 and June 2008 depending on whether the children benefited from the 3FG or not:
3FG helps change the identification posture.
3FG is particularly effective regarding those children who have either an aggressor or victim posture; change is less predominant in children who adopt an onlooker position.
3FG develops in children a posture of avoidance of confrontation and the use of an adult as a regulator of conflicts.
These quantitative results were confirmed by a qualitative assessment by teachers, who observed a better social climate in class among children who benefited from 3FG, a better understanding of activities requiring social regulation and self-organization, such as the use of communal material available in playground - and the reappearance of make-believe games.
2010: Expansion to Specialized Education and Colleges
On the basis of this positive experimentation, 3FG was developed in kindergarten classes, both in public and private education, in France as well as in Belgium. Elementary schools also introduced it, and more recently colleges, with an obvious adaptation of the protocol for teenagers.
In 2012, a request was made by the special needs education platform of Catholic education to introduce 3FG in special needs classes of primary schools and colleges (CLIS and ULIS), to pupils with various handicaps including developmental disorders, learning disorders and autistic spectrum disorders. It was an opportunity to study the adaptation of this device to special needs pupils and to observe its effects before considering its introduction into a day-care hospital for children.
Finally, the issue of empathy being central to children with autistic spectrum disorders, it has been interesting to study its application to this specific population, first in Specialized classes, then in a children's day hospital with a TSA, André Boulloche Children's Hospital (CEREP-PHYMENTIN Association, Paris). The qualitative results show that this activity has very positive effects. These results encourage the development of this practice and its quantitative evaluation.