The children spend three years in infant classes before going to junior school:
- Petite Section (PS): age 3
- Moyenne Section / Junior Infants (MS): age 4
- Grande Section / Senior Infants (GS): age 5
We have five infant classes (about 120 children), with French teachers who take the children from 8.25 am to 2.40 pm (8.25 am to 12.25 pm on Wednesdays). In addition, each class has a teaching assistant to help the teacher and has English once a week in MS and every day in GS with a native English speaking teacher.
The Teaching Programme
‘Maternelle’ embodies a particularity of the French educational system, scolarisation from the earliest age. The children learn to become more precise in their intentions and more demanding in what they achieve, and feel the satisfaction of growing and progressing. They become aware of the benefits of learning.
The essential objective of the infant classes: to help each child to become independent and to acquire knowledge and skills. The children must acquire a facility for oral expression which is rich (in French to begin with – but also in English), structured and understandable by others. The aim is to be ready for CP in French and in English as they continue in our primary school, which is based in the same place in Foxrock.
The learning programme in the infant classes is structured according to the following five domains:
- Developing language – discovering writing
- Becoming a pupil
- Developing movement and corporal expression
- Discovering the world
- Perceiving, feeling, imagining, creating
1) Develop language- discover writing
Oral expression is key to learning in the infant classes. The children learn to converse and express themselves. Particular attention is paid to the comprehension of more and more complex narratives by the speaker. Working with language allows the children to:
- acquire the rules which govern the structure of sentences,
- acquire vocabulary in particular sequences with the help of the teacher, who uses very specific language
Working on the sounds of a word and acquiring the principles of the alphabet and the actions of writing: these are three key activities which help with the learning systems for reading and writing which will begin in first class (CP).
2) Becoming a pupil
The objective is to teach the child to like coming to school and:
- to recognise what makes her or him different from others, to be recognised as a unique person
- to live with others in a group organised by rules (to understand what school is and what her or his place in school is)
Becoming a pupil is a gradual process which requires the infant class teacher to be at the same time enthusiastic, flexible and rigorous.
3) Developing movement and corporal expression
The children discover the possibilities of their bodies through physical activities, either structured or unstructured, and activities involving artistic expression (dance, dramatic games).
4) Discovering the world
In the infant classes, the children discover their surroundings: they learn to get their bearings in space and time. They observe, they ask questions and they learn to take on points of view other than their own. Being faced with logical thought gives them the taste for reasoning. They become capable of classifying, ordering and describing, through language and various forms of representation (drawings, plans). They start to understand the distinction between animate and inanimate (matter, objects).
5) Perceiving, feeling, imagining, creating
The infant classes awaken artistic awareness. Drawing and modelling (making objects) on the one hand, the voice and listening on the other hand (music, songs), enlarge the child’s range of sensory experiences.