Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Long school days for small children

My mum was here to see us and asked me at what time school starts. Nine, I said. And when does it end?she continued. Half past four, I answered. Oh, so late! she exclaimed.

Yep, compared to Sweden, French school children have very long days. The small ones have among the longest school days in Europe. But what I am to do? I live here, so I also live with the school system.

In France the children start voluntary school the year they are three years old. You can start with a half time if you wish, 9-12, but after the first months almost all children do full days until 16.30, Monday to Friday, except Wednesday. Wednesday is a day off, supposed to be dedicated to sports and other extra activities like music. The second year you can't do any half days anymore, but they still have a nap every afternoon. As the third year. Then the serious business starts at 6 years with CP, cours préparatoire, which indicates the start to really learn how to read and write.

Clara is now 8 years old and comes home almost every day with some home work. She writes a beautiful handwriting, with ornaments, like my own mother writes!  Her little brother is four and doing his second school year. He was proud to start school last year, walking beside Clara. She had briefed him about everything. The toilets. The lunch room. The recreation area, where a yellow line separates the smallest ones from the bigger ones.

Both of them love school and I have never any trouble taking them to school in the morning. They are happy to go - and for the moment that is all I ask to be happy myself.

Example of Clara's handwriting


  1. Très bon commentaire sur l'école mais nous allons nous rassurer en nous disant les petits français ont beaucoup de vacances (Toutes les 6-7 semaines en moyenne)

  2. Tout comme les petits suédois... c'est un fait que les petits français ont parmi les plus longs journées dans toute l'Europe! Surtout les plus petits....


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