The Preschool levels accommodate children before compulsory education which begins at the age of 6. This is an original aspect of the French system. It is generally organized in three sections, depending on the age of the children. By 2014, France had more than 15,000 preschools with more than 2,500,000 children.
The French Preschool differs from other kindergartens with a curriculum structured in 5 learning areas:
- Using language in all its aspects
- Acting, expressing, understanding through physical activity
- Acting, expressing, understanding through artistic activities
- Building the first tools to form own thinking
- Exploring the world
Since 2014, Preschool is named Cycle 1, the cycle of early learning, a fundamental stage for the success of all students. It sets three priorities:
- A school that is adapted to young children by taking into account the child’s development and that builds bridges between family and school
- A school that organizes specific learning modules: problem solving, practicing, memory skills. The game plays a special role as it fosters the wealth of personal experiences and fuels all areas of learning.
- A school where children learn and live together: it ensures a first exposure to the principles of life in society and allows the child to shape as an individual person within a group.
The duration of the school week in Preschool is set at twenty-four hours. Learning activities are scheduled mainly in the morning and spread over 5 mornings. The student’s learning progress is monitored with two tools: a learning record notebook, used throughout cycle 1, and a final report of student’s achievements at the end of the last year of the programme.