Tag Archives: college

Your Guide to the French Educational System


The education system in your country may come as innate knowledge, but from the outside looking in, the educational roadmap may be harder to navigate. As many of you are quite literally moving from the familiar to the unfamiliar, SFP thought it would be helpful to cover some of the topics central to your new way of living. The education system is perhaps one of the most important topics for those living in Paris with kids. It may be a bit tricky to comprehend on your first go, but understanding how kids come into adulthood in France is a valuable and important piece of knowledge about the French culture. Take, for example, the early pathways kids are sorted into in order to choose their topic of expertise. Or take a crack at the organization of levels (hint: the French sometimes count backwards.)

 

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Photo courtesy of JJ Thompson

 

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The Education System in France


Ahhh the French school system.  You’ve heard legends about how short the weeks are and how long the vacations last.  Or what about the fact that it’s virtually free?  That’s right, no $50,000 price tag on a college education! Well we’ll be more specific with that in a bit.

But let’s start with the basics.  French children start going to school at a very young age: some start at the age of 2, while nearly all begin at the age of 3.  Spending 2 to 3 years in maternelle (the equivalent of pre-school and kindergarten) is the norm.  The government wants kids to get a head start with their verbal and motor skills.  Not a bad idea when you think about it! The U.S. government has even been in talks to make preschool and kindergarten mandatory for all students because the early years are establish more discipline and focus.

maternelle max

After maternelle comes primaire (elementary school )  and secondaire (middle and high school).  During these years kids go to school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.  Wednesday used to be the one day a week that was ‘libéré,’ (not in session).  Students have very long days, Continue reading