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Daniel Lefebvre heads a kindergarten in Hernaing, northern France. The son of a miner, he works in a once-affluent area that is now plagued by unemployment. Backed by a competent and devoted team of teachers, he encourages verbal and intellectual creativity among the children. One afternoon, a woman named Mme Henry arrives late to pick up her daughter. When bending over to kiss the child, she crumples in the school yard, dead drunk; overcome with embarrassment, she flees, leaving her little girl and her infant there. Daniel suddenly finds himself lumbered with the two kids.