Academic Cycles of Learning

Cycles of Learning

The French education system long enjoyed a reputation for having one of the best education systems in the world, with a nationally set curriculum, traditional methods of learning and high academic standards.

The French curriculum is organized as a series of multi-year cycles, during which students are expected to acquire specific skills and knowledge, and demonstrate competencies. The cycle system acknowledges that learning occurs in a different way, and at a different pace, in every child.

A Comprehensive Approach

Cycle 1

Cycle 1 represents the Preschool years:

  • La Petite Ecole
  • Preschool - Petite Section
  • Pre-K - Moyenne Section
  • K - Grande Section

Cycle 1 establishes educational and pedagogical foundations on which the future learning of students is based and developed throughout their schooling. It is focuses on socialization and learning important social emotional skills. It helps children develop self confidence : confidence in one's own power to act, think and learn. In our bilingual program, Cycle 1 also often the beginning of the bilingual journey. 

programme du cycle 1 (in French)

Cycle 2

Cycle 2 is the cycle of learning fundamentals

  • Grade 1 - CP
  • Grade 2 - CE1
  • Grade 3 - CE2

Learning to read, write, count and respect others are the main objectives of Cycle 2. Students develop the ability to think, reason, and automatize tasks but intuition remains important. They distinguish concrete from abstract concepts. The level of oral expression is much superior to written abilities.

programme du cycle 2 (in French)

Cycle 3

Cycle 2 is the cycle of consolidation:

  • Grade 4 - CM1
  • Grade 5 - CM2
  • Grade 6 - 6eme

Cycle 3 links the last two years of Elementary school and the first year of Middle school for an optimized
pedagogical continuity and coherence of learning. This cycle has a double focus:

  • to consolidate the acquisition of fundamental knowledge (reading, writing, counting, respecting others) that begun in Cycle 2
  • to best prepare the transition to Middle school

programme du cycle 3 (in French)

Cycle 4

Cycle 4 is dedicated to deepening learning:

  • Grade 7 - 5eme
  • Grade 8 - 4eme
  • Grade 9 - 3eme

Cycle 3 ends with the first year of Middle school. Students have progressively gotten used to a new organization and to the new rhythms of teaching in a new environment, on the Ortega campus, that they have learned to decode and
understand. They continue to develop skills in the various disciplines. These skills, evaluated regularly and at the end of the cycle, will allow them to develop personally, to continue learning throughout their lives, to integrate into society and to participate as active, global citizens. The entire teaching and educational team contributes to the development of these skills.

programme du cycle 4 (in French)

Grade Translation

Don't get lost in translation!
Here is a useful resource for translating French grades into US grades.

  • LPE (La Petite Ecole) : Age 2 program
  • PS (Petite Section): Preschool
  • MS (Moyenne Section): Pre-K
  • GS (Grande Section): K
  • CP (Cours préparatoire) : Gr 1
  • CE1 : Gr 2
  • CE2 : Gr 3
  • CM1: Gr 4
  • CM2: Gr 5
  • 6eme: Gr 6
  • 5eme: Gr 7
  • 4eme: Gr 8
  • 3eme: Gr 9
  • 2nde: Gr 10
  • 1ere: Gr 11
  • Terminale : Gr 12