Is School all that Different in France?

Beanie (4 years 4 months) and Crevette (6 years 5 months) have just spent three weeks at my mum’s local school in France. I also enjoyed the experience by teaching a couple of English lessons to all classes, from nursery to Year 6. It is without the shadow of a doubt an experience we will all remember for a very long time.

We headed home last Sunday and as I was getting my children’s school equipment and clothes ready for Monday, I was trying to decide which of the two systems I liked the most. I am no expert on the intricacies of the French and English educational systems and these are simply my own observations from the past three weeks. It should give you a glimpse of what my little ones and I experienced.

To set the context, Crevette and Beanie’s infant school here is in an urban environment in the suburbs of North-London. My mum’s local primary (École Primaire) school, which also has a preschool (Maternelle) on site, is in a small village 110 miles North-East of Paris.

Equipment

The first difference I noticed was the size of the children’s bags. Whereas my little ones carry book bags only at home, with the odd newsletter and reading book in, the children in France were pulling along huge school bags on wheels. They looked more like suitcases than bags fit for small children.

I asked the children what they were carrying around. They had books, exercise books, stationery, clothes and ring binders in their bags. Thinking about it, I remember my mum once weighing my school bag in Year 6 or 7 and it was 11.3 kg! That is as heavy as Jumpy, my two year old girl!

We put together a pencil case for my little man, complete with ruler, rubber, glue stick, scissors, pens, pencil sharpener and colouring pencils. He loved that as he is only allowed to use pencils provided by his school in England, and rubbing mistakes is not something he is normally allowed to do.

The playground in the primary school was a bit dull and grey but the little Frenchies loved la récré (playtime) so much most of them arrived fifteen minutes early in the morning. Most children were chatting and walking around in groups, with just a minority running around. In case it gets rainy, there is a préau (covered playground). During his stay, my little man spent a lot of time just chatting to his new friends, playing hopscotch, sitting at the old style desks or playing on the giant Connect 4.

School in France - Wooden Desks in the Playground

None of the children were taking their bikes or scooters to school. A lot of them were walking. Others arrived by car or coach.

School in France - Walk to school - Foggy Morning

Smart versus Casual

There is no school uniform in France. Crevette was really surprised when he asked me what clothes we had to pack for school in France and I replied he could wear what he wanted.

In France, the children did not need a PE kit or trainers. Their exercise was a range of games rather than sport as such.

The only thing Beanie was asked to bring was a pair of slippers. As they arrive each morning, French nursery school children sit on a tiny bench outside their classroom and take off their shoes, put them under the bench and put their slippers on. They then put their shoes back on at play time. I love that! It means the children are comfortable at school, and they also gain confidence in dressing themselves and changing shoes quickly.

Traditional versus High-tech

Children as young as three are using computers and tablets at school here. Beanie does. It gives them skills they will probably require in their future studies and careers. At the same time, I cannot help but think that a lot of them might already be spending lots of time sitting in front of screens, whether it be a television, apps on their parents’ phones, educational activities on a computer, video games or films on a tablet. During their time at school in France, Crevette and Beanie did not go anywhere near a computer. In fact, the boards in all the classrooms were chalkboards.

School in France - the classroom

Crevette had his own little desk, with a hook on the side for his bag and a compartment under the table to store his books. We had the same desks when I was at school.

School in France - Crevette sat at his desk

At nursery level, a carousel system was in place. The children were in groups, going from one activity or game to the other in an organised manner. Wandering from one table to another without permission was not an option and most children respected that rule. They also had a set playtime outside every day as well as a singing session. The activities Beanie enjoyed the most were singing, playing games, reproducing patterns, drawing, focusing on curved lines, cooking, making a salt dough pie.

Lunchtime

In England, children stay at school for lunch. In France, the children had one hour and forty-five minutes between the morning and afternoon sessions. A large number of children were going home to eat a warm meal with their parents or childminders.

When I told the French school children I only had approximately 30 minutes for my lunch at work and asked them what they thought I ate, they answered things like:

“Just a starter and a main course?”

“A main course and dessert only?”

“Only a piece of cheese and dessert?”

“Nothing?”

I replied that all I had time for was a sandwich and a piece of fruit or microwaved leftovers and they looked at me with pity. This sums up how important food is to the French, from a very young age. I love it!

La sieste (nap)

For her first afternoon session, Beanie was not impressed when she was told she had to lie down. She has not napped since she was three years old! After a lot of moaning and tears, she got comfortable on one of the small camp beds that had been set up in the cloak room. The children all snuggled up with pillows and duvets whilst a story was read to them. I fondly remember napping at school myself and loving it! Who is with me for a petition to make naps compulsory in schools and at work?

Staff

Staff members were as lovely in my mum’s village as they are at home, but teachers in France receive a lot less support and training to help children with additional needs than they do in England. There are very few teaching assistants as it takes a lot of paperwork and administrative procedures to get funding.

Overall, the atmosphere amongst the staff was very relaxed. In France, teachers are the ones in charge in their classrooms and there is no unnecessary scrutiny. They are there to share their knowledge with the children and the little ones are there to listen and learn. It seems a lot less complicated in France than it is at home.

When I leaf through my little man’s books from Year 1 in England, it all looks pretty amazing. Progress is obvious and there is an impressive amount of feedback there, but it seems like teachers work incredibly hard, possibly harder than the children, judging by the number of worksheets, stickers and comments in his exercise books.

Priorities

In France, the onus is on reading, writing, spelling and numeracy so that the children acquire a certain confidence in these basic skills. There is one standardised way of joined-up writing (cursive), leading to a rigorous approach.

Homework

I have to say there was a lot of homework and pressure for my little man. On Fridays, he was given a list of words and a sentence to learn for his dictation the following Tuesday. He also had some reading to do, poetry to learn as well as numeracy. This is how I was educated. To me, it gives the children structure as well as a good work ethic for the future. It may seem archaic to some, but this traditional education, based on grammar, practising verb endings, learning classic poems on a regular basis, focusing on neat handwriting with correct spellings provide good grounds for  writing accurately in their own language.

School in France - Homework- Learning a list of words & sentendes for a dictation - cursive handwriting

What are Parents Saying?

In the past few weeks, I have tried to pay more attention to the last thing parents were saying to their children as they were dropping them off to school.

England: “Have fun!”, “Love you” or “Have a good day.”

France: « Sois Sage. » (Be good), « Allez, rentre comme ça maman peut y aller! » (Go in so that mummy can leave !) or « Travaille bien! » (Work well)

At pick up time, the questions I overheard from parents were also different.

England: “What did you do today?”

France: « Tu as bien travaillé? » (Did you work well?)

Final Observations as a Mum, French Teacher in England and Volunteer as an English Teacher in France:

The general attitude towards education is very different in France and England I think. In France, lessons tend to be teacher-led. Children learn grammar from a very young age; they learn how to write using the cursive model. They greet staff before they start a conversation with them or ask a question. They learn by heart and their ability to spell is tested weekly.

I know this might sound a little rigid but although it is traditional, there is some flexibility. Teachers can choose how they deliver the curriculum. Responsibility for the children’s results in various tests and exams lies with the student, not the teacher.

True, some teachers can be labelled as ‘rubbish’, but at the end of the day, the teacher is not the one sitting the exam or receiving the result, and if a student is not confident in the teaching they receive, they are expected to buy a revision guide and work hard at home. No excuses are made. If you do not work hard enough, you will not pass and you can retake the year.

My youngest brother, who will be sitting his Bac (A-Levels) later this year, was told his Economics teacher might be off sick until the end of the year. There was no queue of students waiting to moan to the head teacher. The students, who will have to sit an exam in June, were told they had better buy a study guide and keep working.

What did my Children Think?

Crevette: “Great. I like meeting different children and making friends. I love doing Maths in French. We had our own tables. Instead of a whiteboard we had a blackboard.”

Beanie: “I don’t like it. They speak French. It’s too hard.”

 

Would you rather your children went to school in France or in England?

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  1. Kim Carberry says:

    Wow! What a big difference! I really do like the sound of the schools in France….They seem more relaxed but I like they way the children are taught and an hour and forty-five minutes for lunch! My girls would love that! How interesting to read x

    • I loved the long lunch-break with the kids. It was all so much more relaxed (apart from the homework) than when I am at home!

  2. The very first school I went to was French School (in Prague) – it was a nursery but I do think I remember that it was structured learning rather than free play like nurseries here. I think both systems have their own merits – I spent many years being educated in India and there the pressure is like nowhere else. Education is of a very high standard in India and you are expected to keep up. And like France, you have to pass tests and exams each year and if you don’t pass, you will not move to the next year. Here I think it’s far less pressure (although we do get a fair amount of homework and spelling tests every week) – but as I said I think there is good and bad on both sides. I also believe that each child is different so there is no one system that fits all – for some a more pressurised environment works better while others need more informal learning. I don’t think any country has the perfect education system that caters to all kinds of kids. I’ll stop talking now before I write a whole thesis on education! Very interesting read though and a great experience for your kids.

    • I completely agree with you! On the one hand, my little man seemed to be thriving and enjoying the structure, but on the other hand, Beanie, who is more of a ‘free spirit’, really did not enjoy it all that much.

  3. This was really interesting. My parents moved to France when I was 21 and my brother finished his schooling there. He didn’t enjoy it until he was at Uni though.

  4. Ah Mel, how fascinating! From what you have written and what I have heard before I would much prefer the French approach. In my view there is far too little emphasis on spelling and grammar here to the detriment of the children. I also love the idea of a nap and the ability to go home for a long lunch. How delightful! I love Beanie’s comment. So so cute!!! I probably felt like that when I was 5. We lived in Mexico and I had to do half of my school day in Spanish. However, because I was blue-eyed and blonde my teacher used to let me off so I am not sure I learnt an awful lot for 18 months!!!

    • I do wish there was a much more focused approach with spelling at Crevette’s school, but hey, what can you do? Wow, you lived in Mexico! Do you still speak any Spanish?

  5. What an interesting experience for you all. I find the comments that parents make very interesting, and I say every one of those English ones to my girl each day! I like that here there’s a lot of emphasis on play and enjoying learning, and I think this can appeal to many different learning styles, too. But, I like that in France, the teacher has more freedom and less paperwork, as well as the long lunch and naptimes! Thanks very much for sharing with #WotW x

    • I also love the fact my little ones enjoy learning whilst having fun. They also love the stickers and awards they get at school here.

  6. What a fascinating post Mel – I loved reading about the difference in the two systems. Jessica’s only just started preschool so we’ve yet to really have much experience of the school system over here – although she does take her wellies off when she arrives and puts her slippers on so that side of things sounds very similar to Beanie at Maternelle. I love the sound of napping at school and the focus on being able to have time for a proper meal at lunchtime too x

  7. C’était très intéressant lire ton post Mel ! Il faut dire, il y a des choses que ne sont pas pareil à Bordeaux, comme quoi, parfois dans le même pays, les choses peut être différentes ! Par exemple, les sacs, les miennes laissent tous ces cahiers et livres à l’école et amènent à la maison seulement les choses nécessaires pour faire les devoirs.
    Pour le repas, c’est vraie que quand les miennes étaient à la maternelle je le laisse deux fois pour semaine, à partir de le deuxième année. Le premier année, je préféré le garder à la maison ! Maintenant qui sont plus grands, ils restent à la cantine tous les jours !
    Tu as raison, les parents ici sont un peu obsédés par le travail !! J’entends le même phrases que toi! Quand ils sortent de l’école je les demande s’ils ont bien joué à la recréation et s’ils ont bien amusé ! Je pense que c’est très important parce que sans ça ils n’aimerait pas aller à l’école ! Il faut que ça reste “fun” ! Mais bon, je suis espagnole 😉
    Tes enfants ont eu beaucoup de chance de gouter aux deux écoles, j’aurais aimé faire la même expérience en Espagne, en plus c’est le meilleur moyenne pour qu’ils soient bilingue !!
    Bravo Mel 🙂

    • C’est marrant que les mentalités soient différentes alors que nos pays sont si proches au niveau géographique. Ils parlent espagnol couramment, tes enfants?

      • Ana elle se défends très bien. Louis comprends tout mais il ne veut pas parler encore, il est timide! Mais c’est un peu ma faut aussi. Je ne le parle pas tout le temps en espagnol. Quand ils étaient petit, j’arrive bien mais une fois qu’ils ont commencé l’école c’est devenue plus compliqué. De plus, mon mari est français et on a parlé toujours en français. J’aimerais qu’il passe plus de temps en Espagne pendant les vacances !

        • C’est exactement pareil pour nous! Mon mari est anglais et on a beaucoup plus tendance à parler anglais entre nous. Quand ils étaient petits, on réussissait à ne parler que français chez nous, mais maintenant qu’ils vont à l’école, c’est comme les tiens, ils parlent beaucoup plus anglais que français, mais bon, c’est la vie!

  8. What an interesting post – and fascinating that it can be done so differently. #wotw

  9. That’s a really interesting post, I loved reading about the differences between the school systems. I just didn’t realise school uniform didn’t exist in France or that they played games rather sport. Thanks for a great read! #pocolo

  10. What an interesting post Mel, and a fabulous insight to another learning system. Sounds like it was a great experience, and if nothing else it’s good for kids to know there are other ways of doing things. My daughter’s school was in special measures five or six years ago, and after tons of funding and a ‘Super Head’ who is also an Ofsted Inspector, it is now doing really well. They are massively focussed on numeracy and literacy which is great, but I worry for my little July baby that it’s all a bit too much too soon. I’m completely with you on the tablets, totally unnecessary as far as I’m concerned!

    • My little man is a July baby, too! In France, children are split according to their year of birth rather than the academic year, so our ‘July babies’ are ‘December babies’ in France if you see what I mean. If they really struggle, children can take a year again, and if they are particularly bright, they can jump a year, too!

  11. The process in France is a lot more like my country’s. Own table and blackboard and a big bag full of books and school supplies! Personally I woold want him to know how old school school is before he ventured into a more modern version of education. I just want him to know things before they went modern.

    This post made me miss my school. So much alike. I also had bad shoulder before as our bag had no wheels =P

    #pocolo

  12. myrecipebookuk says:

    What a fabulous experience for your little ones!

    Reading your post I think I prefer the English system it sounds more fun which I think is important when they’re only little. Especially if you can still see progress in what they do. I do like the ethic that even if you’ve got a rubbish teacher you should do your best to make up for it and not use it as an excuse, but I don’t think this should be a let off for the school, they should be proving the best teachers they can to give the little ones the best possible chance.

    I love the idea of a nap time. Daniel is exhausted when he gets home so I can’t imagine him concentrating all that well towards the end of the day.

    Are you planning to do this with the children again in future?

    • You definitely have a point there, lovely. I would love to be able to do that again in the future, but I doubt it would be feasible. xx

  13. Caroline (Becoming a SAHM) says:

    That sounds like such a good experience for your kiddoes and really interesting to see the differences! Xx

  14. What an amazing experience for them! So interesting to read. I particularly agree with your comments about looking at screens all day. I can’t quite work out why but it makes me very very sad. Oh the French lunch comments made me smile so much. 🙂

    • The kids’ puzzled faces made me laugh a lot when they were trying to think of what we would have time to eat in such a short amount of time!

  15. I have to admit that I do like the sound of the French education system. This is the first time I have read about it. When I lived in Gran Canaria I noticed how the children started earlier and finished mid afternoon, you’d often see families enjoying a late lunch together which always looked nice. I do prefer the English comments when leaving the children, we seem more loving in that sense. Hope the children settle in well xx

  16. loraine x says:

    Nap time in the school day…bring it in, vote for naps in the UK elections!

  17. Victoria Welton says:

    I found this post really interesting. I think that both countries can learn a little bit from each other. Whenever Grace comes out of school I always ask her what the best thing was about her day. I think the nap or ‘quiet time’ would really serve our kids well. Ross sometimes does that as we both work from home and I think it serves him well. Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo – it is great to see you 🙂 x

  18. Viv'Maman_Bas says:

    Oh un vent de nostalgie a du souffler chez toi en rentrant… D’apres ce que je vois ici, ils en font beaucoup pour les enfants en Year R (parfois un peu trop meme je trouve), mais les enfants adorent ca ! C’est marrant, j’ai naturellement tendance a dire “sois sage” le matin, mais aussi “Amuse-toi bien”.

  19. What a fantastic post. Really interesting to read. I agree with Victoria and I think both systems could learn a bit from each other x

  20. We spent a lot of time today reflecting on your comments about education in France and the UK, when himself
    spends so long trying to understand why our daughter’s education is not covering the basics such as dictation, script, the ability to sit on a chair ( that he experienced in Angentina growing up) I really think we might have it all wrong in the UK.

    With comments this week from the current UK Education Secretary on teachers using marking Apps and evaluating subjects based on post education employment worth I think we have lost sight of the purpose of education here in the UK. As a teacher and a mum I have chalk dust in my soul at the moment. I think we could learn a lot from our neighbours…

    Vote slippers and naps in May!!

    • Awww, I love your comment, lovely! I am not sure we have it all wrong here, but I agree with M. on the basics.

      To be fair, I remember being amazed at the amount of progress Crevette was making in Reception and Year 1. It baffled me that children so young could read, write, do sums and know some of the times tables. I now find that his learning is slowing down dramatically, and he is only in Year 2!

      In France, children start to read in Year 2, with reception and Year 1 spent developing their motricity, hand-eye coordination, memory and ability to write their own name both in capitals and cursive. They start slowly, but when they are learning, they are learning, and difficulty increases so that they learn more and more. If I remember well, there is no year when they are ‘in limbo’, in between two important years.

      I shall be voting for slippers and naps!

  21. My son is grown up now (age 22) but I really enjoyed reading this. My son was educated in England and I have to be honest, aside from his primary years at a small independent school in a little village, I really wasn’t very happy with the atmospheres he experienced at school. There was far too much pressure at far too young an age. I like the sound of school in France – it seems a bit more ‘well rounded’ with more emphasis on pastoral care. Found you via the BritMums best post of the week linky. Will share this post 🙂

    • Our two countries are so close yet the two educational systems and ways of thinking about education are so different… It would really be worth having discussion panels between specialists who have experienced two or more of those systems so that the way children are taught gets better and better.

  22. Spidermummy says:

    This is such an interesting post Mel. I went on several French exchanges as a kid and so got to spend some time in the schools, I remember really liking them. I lived and worked in France for a while in my twenties, and always thought I would end up living there so this is a great insight into the education system. I honestly think it sounds better, it sounds like the teachers aren’t being hammered down by all the curriculum rubbish and are able to just teach. I also whole heartedly vote for the nap to be introduced into school and (more importantly) work here too!! What a lovely opportunity for your children to spend some time there x

    • Do you speak French, my lovely? If you do, you should get Le Loup books for your kids. You would love them!

  23. What an interesting comparison. We are not near the school stage yet but starting to think about pre-schools so it’s nice to hear different approaches.

  24. It’s really interesting to hear the differences and I can see positives and negatives for both. Great post Mel. x

  25. What a great experience, especially for your children. I had no idea the systems were so different, I think I prefer our approach from what you’ve said here #sharewithme

  26. Hello there, this is so interesting-our little man has yet to start school but naps every day and I think he is going to really miss not being able to have one. I love the idea of a long lunch break and also naps, and I do think that as some others say a blend of both would be perfect. Thank you so much for sharing, it’s such an interesting subject x #sharewithme

  27. It’s so different in so many countries. It’s different back home too then in the UK. I think it would lie somewhere in between uk and france. We have the technology and the strictness. I like the thought of France education and molding them for the future for sure. Great post babes. Thank you ever so much for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme

    • What is it like in the US? Is it more similar to France or the UK? Completely different?

      • Probably just different. We push to be your own boss build your own company and get highest possible career positions a lot more. Seems lil english they just say have fun do ur best and marry rich. I know that’s stereotype but I know a lot of girls here that say they want to be a wag. That’s sad to me. U.S. Doesn’t start as young tho as England.

        • That is really interesting. I would be fascinated to read a comparison of the educational systems and aspirations of children in a range of countries.

  28. There must be some differences also in the fact that you’re comparing a British city school with a rural French school? But yes it does look like the French way is quite old-fashioned which is not necessarily a bad thing! I like that we get to say ‘have fun’ to our children when we send them in to school (JJ was most upset when i told him it was school holidays this week!) and I don’t think that detracts from the fact that they are learning through play (at least in Reception year – that’s all I have to go on so far!). Interesting comparison Mel! Thanks for linking it up to #thetruthabout X

  29. Thanks for linking this up to #AllAboutFrance Mel, it’s an excellent observation on the differences between English and French schools. My kids have only gone through the French system so they’re happy with that, knowing nothing else but I think they’d love UK schools given the chance. Each way has its pros and cons, neither is perfect. Your kids were lucky to have the opportunity to try out French school for a little while.

  30. Thanks for this. I think it’s a really good summary and it’s interesting to get an ‘outsider’s’ perspective (and a comparison with another country.

  31. Hi there, I don’t have any children but I did teach English in a Paris suburb a few years back and can relate to a lot of what you said. I also found the teachers to be kind of strict (with a lot of yelling) and a sarcastic undertone. I thought it was just a teacher’s personality but I realized most of the teachers had the same teaching and discipline styles (strict!). In the school I taught at, there were no art lessons or anything creative and I felt like the learning was very one-way — teacher to students, they were there to copy and memorize what the teachers were feeding them. Can’t say what’s necessarily better but I know the type of teacher and learning I’d want. I was feeling pretty thankful for my elementary school education in suburban NJ after my stint teaching in France! #allaboutfrance

  32. Although I’ve never had kids of my own to send off to school, this has been a fascinating read. Where would I want them to learn? France! Much fun to read about the lunch time questions from the French kids. Hey, food is very important to me, too. Enjoyed learning about the difference in the programs and the perspectives of the parents and children. Also cool that they are still teaching cursive in the French schools. I’m afraid that is a dying subject here in the U.S.

  33. I came over here from #AllAboutFrance link-up and, as an educator (College English teacher in France, originally American, now a dual national), I was fascinated by this post.

    I could go on and on about the French school system, both good and bad, but will just comment on a few points — some of which may have been mentioned above as I’m not reading the 65 comments!

    First, the weight of French children’s school bags has been very controversial. I remember reading and hearing a lot about it when my daughters were at school here. I don’t know what measure have been taken, but I know when my children were in school (last Bac in 2011), I was quite alarmed at the weight of what they had to lug to high school every day.

    Second, it really, really amazes me that some French schools still have blackboards rather than whiteboards. I do agree that the lack of technology in nursery school is comforting, but unfortunately, this carries on through lycée where computers are still not really integrated into education.

    Third, I would be for all of the careful, charming, traditional work on grammar, writing, and spelling if only it brought results in the end. This is far from the case, as we see further along in higher education. I think this is due to France’s linear approach to education: what is taught has been taught and should be “acquired” in a certain school year, and if it isn’t, there is no going back!

    Finally, France regularly ranks well behind the UK and even (gasp!) the USA in rankings of educational systems. The country’s early education system is its strong point, but this strength withers away in later years. So I would say: have no regrets that your children are in school in the UK!

  34. Great post. School is so different within Europe.

  35. This is really interesting, thank you. When I ask my kids about whether they prefer English or French school they say that the lessons are more fun in England but that playtime is more fun in France…

  36. We moved in 2013 from the UK to France, and schooling was one of the reasons why. We have two boys aged 5 and 3 who both attend our little village maternelle. Although I think the French system is in many ways a bit old fashioned I feel that our boys will gain so much in other ways. They will be bilingual for starters and though they will have to work hard during school time they have regular longer holidays which allow for family time and to explore what they don’t do much of at school (art, music etc.) I also much prefer them being in a smaller rural school that a large inner city one (we used to be in London) where there are so many more children per adult in the classroom. It will be interesting to see how our boys do in the French system long term but for now they love it!

  37. We have been in France for ten years and our son has only experienced the French school system, but we are very happy. He will be sitting is Brevet this year (UK GCSE equivalent) and he will be graded on more than just the accademic subjects (work experience counts too) and most points come from classroom assessment rather than long exams. In France they are marked out of twenty, but 14/20 is equal to a UK grade A, this really surprised me as I initially assumed an A would be equivalent to 18/20. We have no complaints.

  38. Marie-Stephanie Newton says:

    Hi Mel, This is a very interesting read 🙂 As a French expat in the UK working in English schools – I am a Speech and Language Therapist- I often draw comparisons between the two systems, particularly when it comes to special needs. I agree that both systems have advantages.I think the comments from parents at the school gate are very telling! There’s a pressure to LEARN in France and I have to say that I like the English approach of learning to learn and making things accessible, fun and playful. I never got to dress up as part of a history lesson, my son did in primary, lots, and he learned loads!

  39. Hi Mel, What a really interesting post…fascinating to see the differences between French and UK education. I guess there is no right or wrong… It is just different! Although the emphasis on spelling and grammar is a big plus in my eyes too. How fab that your children got this experience. Beautiful pictures too! #allaboutfrance

  40. What a lovely comparison! I remember from my French exchanges (including time spent in a French secondary school) being fascinated that everyone had the same handwriting! I would love for my children to attend a French school. I should say that my older one is at a small village school in the UK where the relaxed atmosphere is excellent. Love the idea of the blackboards and learning poetry. I am about to train as a teacher and there’s a lot for me to reflect on here. Thank you. I will check out Le Loup books too – we adore meeting new characters!

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Thanks for taking the time to write a little message. Comments always make me smile! x Mel