Ages 2 To 4 Years Old

French Kindergarten

The kindergarten is a unique educational cycle, fundamental for the success of all pupils. It is characterised by three main features:

  • A school which adapts to young children, which endeavours to guarantee their emotional security and to develop their self-confidence
  • A school that organises specific learning methods, prepares them for fundamental learning, particularly by developing their language, an essential element for accessing and structuring learning
  • A school where children enjoy learning, progressing and living together

    Organised in a single cycle, kindergarten is the first step in guaranteeing the success of all pupils in a school that is fair to all and demanding of each individual. It adapts to young children, taking into account their development, and builds bridges between the family and the school.

    It organises specific learning methods by setting up various situations: problem solving, manipulation, training, memorisation. Play has a special place in this context: it encourages a wealth of experience and the resulting exchanges in all areas of learning.

    The kindergarten also enables children to learn together and to live together: it ensures a first acquisition of the principles of life in society and respect for others, by allowing the child to build himself as a unique person within a group.

     

    The Kindergarten Curriculum

    The teaching is organised into five learning areas:

    Mobilising language in all its dimensions

    Acting, expressing oneself and understanding through physical activity

    Acting, expressing oneself and understanding through artistic activities

    Building the first tools for structuring one’s thoughts

    Exploring the world

    Each of these five areas is essential to the development of the child and must find its place in the organisation of daily life.

    The primordial place of language is reaffirmed as an essential condition for the success of all. The practice of physical and artistic activities enables the development of interactions between action, sensations, imagination, sensitivity, thought and language. The areas of “Building the first tools for structuring one’s thinking” and “Exploring the world” focus on developing an initial understanding of numbers and the first mathematical tools, of the children’s environment and on encouraging their questioning. The need for exploration, discovery, manipulation, experimentation, play and exchange among young pupils is stimulated in order to lead them towards the progressive mastery of new skills and knowledge.

    By relying on initial knowledge linked to their experience, the kindergarten sets up a pathway that allows them to order the world around them, to access usual representations and knowledge that the primary schools will enrich.

    Mobilizing language in all its' dimensions

    The primordial place of language in nursery school is reaffirmed as an essential condition for the success of all children. The stimulation and structuring of oral language and the development of comprehension of texts read by the adult and awareness of the sound and visual components of language are priorities for the nursery school and concern all areas of learning.

    Act, express themselves, understand through physical activity

    The practice of physical and artistic activities contributes to the motor, sensory, emotional, intellectual and relational development of children.
    These activities mobilise and enrich the imagination and are an opportunity to experience new emotions and sensations. They allow pupils to:

    – explore their physical possibilities
    – develop their motor skills and balance
    – better situate themselves in space and time
    – understand their own body image

    They also aim to develop cooperation and constructive relationships with others, while respecting differences, and thus contribute to socialisation.
    The participation of all pupils in all the physical activities on offer, the organisation and the approaches implemented seek to combat stereotypes and contribute to the construction of equality between girls and boys.
    Physical activities contribute to health education by leading all children, regardless of their “performance”, to experience the pleasure of movement and effort, and to better understand their bodies in order to respect them.

    Act, express themselves, understand through artistic activities

    This field of learning refers to the visual arts (painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, cinema, comics, graphic arts, digital arts), the sound arts (songs, instrumental and vocal music) and the performing arts (dance, theatre, circus arts, puppetry, etc.).
    Kindergarten plays a decisive role in giving all children access to these artistic worlds; it is the first stage in the artistic and cultural education pathway that everyone follows throughout their primary and secondary schooling and which aims to acquire a personal artistic culture based on common reference points.

    Build the first tools to structure your thinking

    Discovering numbers and their uses

    From birth, children have an intuition of magnitude that enables them to compare and evaluate lengths, volumes, but also collections of various objects (“there are many”, “not many”…). This perceptive capacity constitutes a basis on which the learning of numbers is anchored.
    Kindergarten gradually leads pupils to understand that numbers can be used to express both quantities and a rank or position in a list. This learning process requires time and exposure to many situations involving pre-numerical and then numerical activities.

    Exploring shapes, sizes, organised sequences

    Very early on, young children intuitively discern shapes (squares, triangles, etc.) and quantities (length, capacity, mass, area, etc.).
    In kindergarten, they acquire knowledge and reference points on a few shapes and sizes. The approach to flat shapes, objects in space and magnitudes is made through manipulation and the coordination of actions on objects.
    This approach is supported by language: it allows these objects and actions to be described and encourages the identification of initial descriptive characteristics. This knowledge constitutes a first approach to geometry and measurement which will be taught in primary schools.

    Exploring the world

    Finding one's way in time and space

    From birth, through exploration, children intuitively perceive certain spatial and temporal dimensions of their immediate environment.
    These perceptions allow them to acquire, within their living environments, an initial series of reference points, and to develop expectations and memories. However, this knowledge remains implicit and limited.
    One of the objectives of the kindergarten is to gradually bring pupils to consider time and space as relatively independent dimensions of the activities in progress, and to start treating them as such. It also seeks to get them to gradually move beyond their own point of view and adopt that of others.

    Explore the world of life, objects and matter

    When they enter kindergarten, children already have representations that enable them to take bearings in their daily lives.
    To help them discover, organise and understand the world around them, the teacher proposes activities that lead pupils to observe, formulate more rational questions, build relationships between observed phenomena, predict consequences, and identify characteristics that can be categorised. Pupils begin to understand what distinguishes the living from the non-living; they manipulate and make things to become familiar with objects and matter.

    A Rethought Evaluation

    In kindergarten, the differences in age between children, and therefore also in development and maturity, have an influence on the pace of acquisition. Any evaluation must therefore focus as much on the procedures and processes that the child implements in his or her learning as on assessing the results of his or her action.

    To facilitate the continuity of pupils’ school career when they move on to primary schools, teachers of the first learning cycle transmit to the teachers of the next cycle, the fundamental learning cycle, a statement of their pupils’ achievements at the end of their kindergarten education. The monitoring of learning and the communication of pupils’ progress are based on two tools: a learning monitoring booklet, filled in throughout cycle 1, and a summary of pupils’ achievements, drawn up at the end of the “grande section”, the last year of cycle 1.

     

    The document summarising the pupil’s learning achievements is sent to the parents or legal guardian.

    As with the transmission of the learning log throughout the cycle, this summary given to parents reflects what their child knows how to do at the end of his/her schooling in nursery school. It is an opportunity for positive dialogue with the families. It also enables them, if necessary, to be reassured that their child’s needs and weaknesses are being taken care of, so that they can approach the first year of cycle 2 with confidence.

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