French elementary school
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Elementary school welcomes children from age 6 to 11. The children enter the CP (1st year) on September the year of his or her sixth birthday.
It is during this period that children learn how to read, write and basic of mathematics. Scientific education related to children’s centres of interests, entitled Discovering the World in official programmes, is provided as early as cycle 2. From cycle 3, this course becomes more precise and expands to France and the world thanks to history lessons, geography, science and technology. Sports and artistic education are also provided from preparatory course CP.
Programmes of history, geography and art history in cycle 3 are adapted in a way to integrate local elements of Lithuanian heritage.
Primary school cycles:
Schooling from preschool to the beginning of middle school is divided in 3 pedagogical cycles:
Cycle 1, the early learning cycle, in TPS (2-3 years), PS (3-4 years), MS (4-5 years) and GS (5-6 years) of preschool.
Cycle 2, the basic learning cycle, in CP (6-7 years), CE1 (7-8 years) and CE2 (8-9 years) of primary school.
Cycle 3, the development cycle, in CM1 (9-10 years), CM2 (10-11 years) and 6ème class (11-12 years) (in middle school)
Primary education begins at age 6 and consists of five levels.
Preparatory course (CP) and elementary course 1 (CE1) allow pupils to acquire the basics of languages (French language, mathematics), scientific activities, artistic languages of body gesture, civic education. Elementary course 2 (CE2) and Intermediary courses (CM1 and CM2) classes allow to consolidate and make use of the knowledge acquired from basic learnings. Emphasis is put on rigour, acquisition of working methods and learning how to be autonomous on the way to begin middle school.
Official programmes for primary school:
The main objectives of CP and CE1 classes are:
- Learning how to read
- Writing French language
- Knowledge and understanding of numbers
- Writing numbers in numeric form (decimal numeral system)
- Calculating small quantities
At the end of preschool’s big section GS, the pupil has greatly increased his or her vocabulary. He or she can express himself or herself, listen and speak. The pupil understands a story read by an adult and clearly distinguishes the sounds of the language and the graphic signs that represent them in written texts.
In preparatory course CP, learning how to read involves the decoding and identification of words by gradually acquiring the knowledge and competence necessary to understand the texts. Learning how to read and write, whether words, sentences, texts, are mutually reinforcing throughout the cycle. Learning is based on oral practice and acquisition of vocabulary, accompanied by an initial introduction to grammar and spelling.
Knowledge of numbers and calculation are the main objectives of CP and CE1. Problem solving is learnt gradually and helps building a number sense of operations. At the same time, a regular practice of mental calculation is necessary.
Physical education aims to develop the necessary capacities for motor behaviour, offering a first introduction to sport, physical and artistic activities. While responding to the need and pleasure of moving, it helps develop a sense of effort and perseverance. Pupils get to know themselves better and they get to know each other better. They also learn to take care of their health.
Pupils discover very soon the existence of different languages in their environment, just like abroad. From the first year of Elementary school, CP, an initial awareness of modern language is brought orally. During the first year of CP, language teaching combines oral language and written language. This helps with understanding and speaking. Language teaching should soon be extended to CP class.
Discovering the world
In CP and CE1 classes, pupils acquire references in time and space, and knowledge about the world. They master the corresponding vocabulary. Pupils go beyond their initial representations by observing and manipulating. They discover and use the basic functions of a computer: they begin to acquire skills for the Information and Internet Certificate (“B.2.i.”, brevet informatique et internet).
Artistic practices and history of the art
Artistic practices and cultural references linked to the history of the arts develop pupils’ artistic sensitivity and expressiveness. These activities come with a precise vocabulary, allowing pupils to express their sensations, emotions, preferences, and tastes. A first contact with artworks leads them to observe, listen, describe and compare.
Civic and moral instruction
Pupils learn rules of politeness and how to behave in society. They gradually acquire a responsible behavior and become more autonomous.
In line with the early years of primary school, the main objectives of CE2 and Intermediary course:
- Fluency in French
- Main elements of mathematics
The pupils are preparing themselves to attend the different disciplines courses in middle school.
Ensuring that all pupils reach command of the French language and can express themselves precisely and clearly both orally and in written language, is primarily related to French language teaching. It also involves all disciplines: science, mathematics, history, geography, physical education and the arts.
Progression in the mastery of the French language is based on a programme of reading and writing, vocabulary, grammar, and spelling. A literature programme supports pupils’ autonomy in reading and writing.
Practicing mathematics develops a taste for research and reasoning, imagination and abilities of abstraction, rigour and precision.
From CE2 to CM2, pupils develop their knowledge, acquire new tools, and continue to learn how to solve problems, thus strengthening their skills in mental arithmetic, gaining new automatisms. In mathematics, mechanisms acquisition is always associated with comprehension.
Physical education and sport aim at the development of motor skills and the practice of physical, sports and artistic activities. It contributes to health education by letting pupils know their body better. It develops safety education through controlled risk taking. It teaches responsibility and autonomy by giving pupils access to moral and social values (respecting the rules, respecting oneself and the others).
From CE2 class, oral activities for comprehension and expression are a priority. The vocabulary is enriched and the language’s sound components remain a constant preoccupation. During grammar class, the objective is to use elementary forms. Knowledge about the country’s lifestyles fosters understanding of being and acting differently.
At the end of CM2, pupils must have acquired the necessary competences for basic communication, as defined by level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
Eduscol website: Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
Experimental Sciences and technology
Experimental science and technology have the following objectives:
- to understand and describe the real world, the one created by nature and the one constructed by man, to act on it
- to manage the changes induced by human activity
Observation, questioning, experimentation and argumentation are essential to achieve these goals. For example: the spirit of lending a hand. This is why knowledge and skills are acquired through an investigation process. This research develops curiosity, creativity, critical thinking and interest in scientific and technical progress.
To begin understanding the unity and complexity of the world, history and geography provide joint, temporal and spatial references. They develop curiosity, sense of observation and critical thinking in pupils. Pupils’ works are the subject of various writings. For example, summaries and historical timelines, maps and sketches.
Individual or collective artistic practices develop aesthetic sense. They promote expression, thoughtful creation, mastery of the gesture and the acquisition of working methods and techniques. Within the framework of the history of the arts, they are enlightened by a sensitive and reasoned encounter with works considered in a chronological framework.
Common information and communication techniques
Digital culture requires a reasonable use of computers, multimedia and internet. From primary school, a responsible attitude in the use of these interactive tools must be targeted. Pupils learn to master a computer’s basic functions:
• to know the function of the different elements of a computer
• to use the mouse, the keyboard
• to use a word processor
• to write a digital document
• to send and receive messages
• to conduct an online search
• to identify and sort information
Civic and moral instruction
Civic education and moral instruction allow every pupil to better integrate into the classroom and school community at a time when character and independence are asserted.
It leads to reflect on the concrete problems raised by life as a pupil and to become more explicitly aware of the very foundations of morality.