The French Education System

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Kindergarten

There is a long tradition of pre-school education (enseignement pre-elementaire) in France. Nursery schools (ecoles maternelles) are the only educational establishments that all children aged over two years on the first day of term may attend. The percentage of children attending nursery schools is higher in France than in any other European country, except Belgium; it ranges from 34% for two-year-olds to 100% for five-year-olds.

Attendance is optional but it is strongly recommended that children attend regularly so that they can adjust better to being with other children and draw the maximum benefit from this first experience of school. Attendance at public institutions (which represent 85% of all the establishments) is free of charge. The remaining 15% is mostly made up of denominational or non-State (private) institutions, which receive State and/or regional support and financial contributions from the individual families.

The children are generally divided by age into three sections: lower, middle and upper. This division is flexible in order to take account of the different learning rates and degrees of maturity of the various children and the skills they have acquired. The teaching team, in consultation with parents, can choose to place a child in the section that best suits his or her needs, even if it does not precisely correspond to the child's age.



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The French Education System
Page 1 of 4 Kindergarten There is a long tradition of pre-school education (enseignement pre-elementaire) in France. Nursery schools (ecoles maternelles) are the only educational...

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