Sunday, July 6, 2014

My 5 Favorite Things About French Preschool



Here in France, just about everyone sends their children to preschool as of age 3. It is free and run by the national education system. 

As my daughter finishes her first year in the school system, I’ve been reflecting on how different the experience is compared with my experience in the U.S. school system, which starts with Kindergarten at age 5.

The most interesting/surprising things about French preschool?

Field trips. Lots of them. I’ve lost count. Courageous (or na├»ve?) teachers and parents leading about two dozen 3-4 year olds through the streets and subway to museums, movies and activity centers. There have been a few minor injuries along the way, but thankfully no lost children.

Little beds. When I first brought my daughter to school, I was shocked to see a room full of little bunk beds! Each bed has a child’s name on it. This is where our little darlings nap! They have little pillows and blankets too. And of course, they bring their favorite stuffed animals to school to cuddle. I remember those mushy plastic mats that were our naptime “beds” when I was a kid…



The school "dormitory"


Lunch. OK, we’re not talking sloppy joe’s here. We are talking appetizer, main course, cheese and dessert. I’m not kidding you. And elaborate things: chicken with mustard sauce, fish with a lemon butter sauce, aged cheeses, chocolate mousse. Many of the ingredients are organic and cooks prepare the food on site. Oh, and my daughter won’t touch a thing. But that’s another story…

Lesson Plan. When I first thought about P. attending preschool, I thought she would be doing a lot of arts and crafts, but didn’t realize to what extent she would be learning. The teacher teaches the students the days of the week, the alphabet, numbers, how to write their names and much more. Volunteers help out, introducing the children to foreign language for example. (The other day, P. says to me “Sing Happy Birthday in Spanish.” I say “Umm, I don’t know how… Do you?” P. sings “compleanos feliz.” I widen my eyes in amazement…)

Report Cards. All this learning isn’t for nothing. As I recently found out, the teacher prepares a very detailed report card for each student! She assesses each child’s ability to discover the world around him/her, imagine, create, interact with others etc. P. received a majority of “A’s” meaning the skill is acquired and a few “EAs” meaning the skill is almost achieved. Whew!


The report card!


This post is part of the Paris in July blogging event. I’m delighted to be co-hosting this year! Please check out the blogs of Karen at “A Wondering Life” and Tamara at “Thyme for Tea," creators of the event, for links to all participating posts.




10 comments:

  1. Oh, tres mignon! Elle est tres intellegent. (je suis desole pour ma francaise). She's doing very well. Even better if she's understanding all that french! I'm actually very jealous of your daughter....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your French is great! And yes, I'm sometimes jealous of her too: Learning a second language as a toddler seems to be very easy!!

      Delete
  2. That's too cute for words! I love it all. The beds are adorable. I want to go to preschool!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too! They have so many fun activities... and even the food is yummy.

      Delete
  3. Yes, I think the beds are great too. French pre-school seems wonderful. It's later it seems to get so rigid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I hope my daughter enjoys it because school here does indeed get very difficult as the children enter the higher grade levels...

      Delete
  4. Wow!! These children eat better than most adults at lunch! Leave it to the French to put the appropriate amount of emphasis on proper nutrition lol. I used to see all the groups of children on their field trips - amazing that the school system will put in the effort to taking advantage of all Paris has to offer. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's really cool! They have days filled with exciting activities and good food... lucky children!

      Delete
  5. What an interesting post! Something that we won't read unless from an 'insider'. The French preschool sounds like an excellent education for your child. I admire how they teach foreign languages and take them on field trips. And report cards! I personally feel that's very useful, albeit people in our educational system think the same.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you and thanks for stopping by! I was really amazed by the school program as I never would have imagined introducing so many things to 3 year old children... and seeing the result is great. My daughter has made so much progress in a year.

      Delete