"La Maternelle", the French preschool is essential in the French educative system. Although school is not mandatory before 5 years old, most of children are enrolled in preschools by age 2½ to 3½ years old. It has been proven that early education provides high academic and cognitive achievements.
As in France, teachers at La Maternelle have 3 to 5-year college degrees. They have training in child psychology and physical development, as well as in education. They have experience working with young children. They are First Aid and CPR certified. They also attend training on child development throughout the year.
Class Age :
Preschoolers / Trιs Petite Section 2½ - 3½ years old
Pre-Kindergarten / Petite Section, JK 3½ - 4Ύ years old
Kindergarten / Moyenne Section, SK 4Ύ - 6 years old
The French curriculum is organized as a series of multi-year Cycles, during which students must acquire specific knowledge and demonstrate given competencies. The concept of Cycles acknowledges that learning occurs in a different way, and at a different pace, in every child. For example, some may be proficient readers very early, while others, equally bright, take longer. Children begin to speak in French, to count, to sing, to read and to write at the start of Petite Section (JK) . By the end of Grande Section (SK) grade, which is also the end of a Cycle, all children should be bilingual.
The Preschool (Maternelle) :
France's renowned Ιcole Maternelle has been imitated in many countries. The French preschool is an integrated and essential first phase of the educational system. Maternelle teachers, who have the same 4-year college degree as primary teachers, have solid training in child psychology and physical development, as well as education. They begin preparing the youngest children for the work they will be asked to do later in elementary school.
In the Prι-school Les Petits Princes aims to instill in children a curiosity for learning, as they develop their own skills and talents. They work in a supportive yet stimulating environment which is responsive to individual needs and differences. Although children follow an intensive curriculum in French at that level, language, culture and basic learning skills are emphasized.
The curriculum program at the Kindergarten and Junior Divisions is structured in such a manner as to integrate all subject matters and to foster accelerated learning and achievement. The methodology at the early stages is based on concrete pedagogy and is gradually phased out at the end of Senior Kindergarten. Although the classroom environment is informal at the Kindergarten Levels, the curriculum is structured and has very clear objectives.
French Culture Mathematics Social studies Science Art Music Computer Studies Physical Education
During circle time we focus once again on language development, following rules and socialization.
The following is a list of various stations available to the children:
The block station
Basic math concepts, which include counting, addition, subtraction, classifying, spatial relationships
Creativity Numbers Self-expression Small muscle development Problem solving
The literacy station
Recognition of symbols, left-to right orientation, sequencing of story
Small muscle development
Communicating effectively in-one-on-one and small group situations
The library station
Select books for individual needs and interests
Follow simple story lines in stories read aloud
Listen to literacy selections for personal enjoyment
Distinguish between real and make-believe
The art station
Visual recognition of color, shape, texture
Small muscles development, eye-hand coordination
Self-expression through paintings, collage materials, clay, and other dough
The manipulative/readiness station
Develop eye-hand coordination and small muscles
Learn a variety of readiness skills: sorting, comparing, counting, identifying patterns, sequencing, making predictions, classifying
Make decision and choices
The science station
Use sense to gain information about the environment
Observer systems, cycles, interactions and diversity in the environment
Develop curiosity about the natural world
Pouring liquids without spilling
Hanging jacket on hook
Blowing nose and throwing away tissue properly
Social skills: sharing, negotiating, creating and following rules, taking turns
Motor development: opportunity to develop and refine large muscle skills
Students also benefit from small classes of no more than 8 students providing them individualized attention to help them develop mentally, physically and socially.
To download the full curriculum, please click on the following link: Full Curriculum