Nursery Schools in France
Nursery Schools in France (maternelle)
Whilst attendance at Nursery school is optional in France, attendance levels are high with around 30% of children aged two and nearly 100% by the age of four attending Ecole Maternelle.
School is divided into:
Les petites: 2-4 years old
Les moyens: 4-6 years old
Les grands: 5-6 years old
Note that the years from three to six form part of the Educational Cycles.
Nursery schools can be found in most villages or as part of the local Primary School. Hours are generally from 8.30/9.00 to 11.30/12.00 a.m. and 1.30/2.00 to 4.00/4.30 p.m. As is becoming normal with Primary Schools, there is no school on Wednesday. Children may attend for half-days initially. Lunches (normally very good) are served at the school for a small fee, typically around €1.50 – 2.50.
Nursery school is designed to introduce children to the social environment of school and to help develop the basic skills of coordination. School encourages the development of self-awareness and provides an introduction to group activities and exercises, including arts and crafts, music, games, listening skills etc. During the later years of nursery school the rudiments of reading writing and arithmetic are taught in preparation for Primary school.