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Scandal rocks Luxembourgish Montessori crèche chain: poor conditions for workers affect children

Scandal rocks Luxembourgish Montessori crèche chain: poor conditions for workers affect children

A Luxembourgish chain of famous Montessori method crèches was captured in the middle of a scandal. Employees speak of poor working conditions and inadequate child care.

Former and current staff members of the «L'enfant Roi» nursery are making serious allegations of misconduct against the management, including minimum paid wages, unjustified dismissals, chronic staff shortages, pressure on pregnant workers, poor conditions, a high turnover, burnout, and even modern slavery.

The Montessori crèche company runs 12 private nurseries in Luxembourg and employs 330 people, attended by 1,093 children. A petition generated 882 signatures and 156 comments, many of which claim the company doesn't at all follow the promoted Montessori method: the groups of 16 children under the age of two years old are not good for both nursery workers, kids, and even Ministry.

The Montessori method emphasizes individualized learning, with teachers acting as guides. Children are given the freedom to choose their own activities and work at their own pace, while teachers observe and provide guidance when necessary. Another important aspect of the Montessori method is the focus on practical life skills, such as self-care and food preparation. The belief is that these skills not only help children develop independence and confidence but also lay the foundation for academic learning from an early age.

Two women who spoke to RTL.lu allege that the groups of children are systematically too large to take care of them on the proper level, resulting in a lack of attention and negligence. Lucienne Schmit, who worked for the nursery from 2017 to 2021, and Rosalie Weber, who worked there for just under a year, said that they were asked to change the nappies of 16 children in just 30 minutes, which is two minutes per child.

The pressure on employees is huge, and the two women allege that their fatigue is so great that they are unable to enjoy hobbies or housework. Both women claim that management is aware of the excessive number of children in the groups, and they are creative about finding ways to get around it.

Sick leave due to overwork and fatigue is common, but absenteeism is punished, and bonuses are affected, which affects the pay in general. The women allege that the management takes advantage of cross-border workers who are not familiar with Luxembourg labor law, and Luxembourgers are paid more than cross-border workers with the same diploma.

It's important to choose the right daycare center according to the standards of safety and personal wishes. To help you do that we recently updated the Guide article on daycares in Luxembourg.