Ecole Primaire / Primary Schools: End of year extravaganza!
The French primary school covers the ages of six – eleven. This covers the equivalent of England’s school years of 3 – 6 and US grades 1 – 5. Subjects are divided into three main groups: 1. French, history, civic studies and geography 2. Science, math and technology 3. Physical education and sports, music and arts and crafts.
French law mandates Twenty-four hours of instruction per week. While some flexibility is given to the teacher as to which subjects to spend time on each week. A national curriculum, which was established in 2008, provides additional class time and individualized assistance for students at risk of falling behind.
The Ministry of Education states that the official direction of a French elementary education is: “to ensure acquisition of the basic tools of knowledge: oral and written expression, reading and arithmetic. Its objective is to stimulate the development of the child’s intelligence, artistic sensibility, manual and physical skills and sporting abilities. It provides grounding in the plastic and musical arts, and, in conjunction with the family, undertakes the child’s moral and civil education.” The parents will observe that a great emphasis is placed on the basic skills: reading, writing and arithmetic.
Is there an opportunity for the child to learn a second language, if so, would that be English? The teacher will choose the language that he/she wants to expose to her students. As a result, the child may learn the basics of Spanish one year and English the next. Also, the standard of language instruction will vary depending on the teacher’s skills in that area. Should your primary language be other than French, it is advised you not rely on the teacher to substitute teaching the child’s native tongue. On numerous occasions it has been found that English-speaking children educated in French primary schools quickly become fluent and articulate in French and not progress in the native tongue without support from the parents. Among the list of supplies each student is required to obtain each year is a notebook that will be used not only by the child but also by the teacher and parents. It provides another link or way to communicate. The parents are expected to check the notebook for messages and sign to show that they have received any relevant information. Requests for meetings with the teacher or school principal would appear in the notebook. For more information you may want to visit: http://www.education.gouv.fr
The photos here represent the end of the school year festivities in a small village. It does happen to be where I live. There are 60 children enrolled and six classes, six teachers and a number of assistants. In addition, there is a British woman who resides here and volunteers to assist teachers that choose to teach English. Each year, the entire village is invited to attend an event put on by the students. They will perform theatrical skits; recite poetry, sing, and dance. At the end of the festivities, the teachers are presented with floral bouquets. The schoolyard is filled to overflow each year and many are left to watch from the outside the school yard gates. Even villagers without children or grandchildren will come to support the students and teachers.