Maternelle Specificities

A school that adapts to young children

Children who enter Maternelle for the first time already possess know-how, knowledge and representations of the world; in their family and in the various places where they attended, they developed habits and acquired learning that the school builds on.

A school that welcomes children and their parents

As soon as children start at school, a regular and constructive dialogue is established between teachers and parents that is based on reciprocal trust and information. To this end, the teaching team defines ways of meeting and communicating with parents that are in the interest of the well-being and overall success of the child and that allow parents to understand the operation and specificities of our preschool: the place of language, the role of the playtime, the importance of physical and artistic activities ...

The separation between child and parents receives the attention of the entire educational team, especially during the first year of school. The morning ritual when children say goodbye and transition to their day at school is designed to make them feel secure, and the teacher recognize in each child a person in the making and a full interlocutor at whatever age.

A school that accompanies transitions experienced by children

The Maternelle program and experience is designed to build daily bridges between family and school, time at school time and time at home. It also plays a key role in the transition with Elementary school.

The teacher organizes the day between times for learning, times for resting and play time. It works in concert with the elementary school teams, especially with teachers from cycle 2, to implement a genuine continuity of learning, an individual follow-up of the children.

A school that takes child development into account

Throughout the Maternelle years, the progress of socialization, the acquisition of the French and the English language, as well as motor skills and cognitive abilities are considerable and occur at very different rhythms.

In the same classroom, the teacher takes into account the differences between children who may manifest themselves with particular needs in the early years of their lives while keeping in mind the objectives for the group as a whole.
The school, its classrooms, specialized rooms and outdoor spaces are organized to offer the children an environment that stimulates their curiosity and meets their needs while safely multiplying the opportunities of sensory, motor, relational and cognitive experiences. Teachers determine a schedule adapted to their class that ensures the balance between physical and cognitive development.

Drop off, recess, nap time or visits to the bathroom are all opportunities for education as well. They are conceived as such by the educators who make sure that all these moments are conducted safely and in a manner that empowers children.

A school that practices a positive assessment

Evaluations are a time for parents to regularly assess their child's progress with their teacher. They are not an instrument of prediction or selection. They are based on a careful observation and interpretation of what the child says or does during the day. Beyond the results, teachers also strive to emphasize the progress that is made. As a team, parents and teachers get a chance to identify their successes, to keep track of progress and set objectives. Teachers are attentive to what the children can do by themselves, with the help of an adult (what children can do in this context is often a clue of what they will be able to accomplish by themselves in the near future) or with that of the other children. It takes into account differences in age and maturity within the same group.


Within the Maternelle grades, and between our campuses, LFSF teachers work together on a gentle and natural progression of teaching on the cycle and as a whole through common resources, tools and practices, objects and materials (didactic materials, toys, books, games). This way, throughout the Maternelle cycle, children can be exposed to a variety of situations that are both varied and coherent.

Learning situations in the classroom, such as playtime, problem solving, story telling, etc. are selected according to the needs of the group and those of each child. In all cases and especially with the very young, the observation and imitation of other children and adults is important as it promotes interactions between children and creates the conditions for shared attention. It develops their capacity to interact through projects and produce work adapted to their possibilities. The use of technology and digital media , like other media, have their place in preschool provided that their objective is to support the learning activity. In all cases, situations where children share an experience are preferable to formal exercises.

Learning by Playing

Playtime is important in preschool as it feeds all subjects of learning. It allows children to exercise their autonomy; to re-enact reality and explore fiction developing their imagination; to exercise motor skills and to experiment with various social rules and roles. It promotes communication with others and the building of friendships. It takes various forms: symbolic games, exploration games, construction and manipulation games, group games and board games, made-up invented games, etc.

Teachers at LFSF make sure to give children enough time to play, observing the group to get to know them better and better understand their personality and what they are focused on at the moment. They also plan structured play periods with specific learning objectives.

Learning by reflecting and solving problems

In order to provoke the reflection of the children, the teacher puts them facing problems within their reach. Whatever the area of learning and the classroom moment, it targets situations, asks open-ended questions for which the children do not then have a directly available answer. Mentally, they overlap situations, they call on their knowledge, they make the inventory of possible, they select. They groped and tried to answer. The teacher is attentive to the paths that are manifested through language or in action; it valorizes trials and triggers discussions . These high-level cognitive activities are fundamental to give children the desire to learn and to make them intellectually independent.

Learning by doing

Early childhood learning takes place over a long period of time and its progress is rarely linear. They often require a time of appropriation which can either pass through the resumption of known processes or new situations . Their stabilization requires numerous repetitions under various conditions. In the case of the older children, learning arrangements can be extended to training, self-training or even automation. The teacher then makes sure to explain to the children what they are learning, to make them understand the meaning of the efforts required and to make them perceive the progress made. In all cases, the educational choices take into account the children's achievements.

Learning by remembering and memorizing

The mental operations of memorization in young children are not voluntary. For the younger, they depend on the emotional aspect of the situations and the experience of repetitive events that an adult has named and commented upon. These children rely heavily on what they perceive visually in order to keep information in temporary memory, whereas from the age of five to six it is the language that has been addressed to them that enables them to understand and retain.

L’enseignant stabilise les informations, s’attache à ce qu’elles soient claires pour permettre aux enfants de se les remémorer. Il organise des retours réguliers sur les découvertes et acquisitions antérieures pour s’assurer de leur stabilisation, et ceci dans tous les domaines. Engager la classe dans l’activité est l’occasion d’un rappel de connaissances antérieures sur lesquelles s'appuyer, de mises en relations avec des situations différentes déjà rencontrées ou de problèmes similaires posés au groupe. L’enseignant anime des moments qui ont clairement la fonction de faire apprendre, notamment avec des comptines, des chansons ou des poèmes. Il valorise la restitution, l’évocation de ce qui a été mémorisé ; it helps children to realize that learning at school means constantly remobilizing the previous achievements in order to go further.


The nursery school structures the learning process around a central training issue for children: "Learning together and living together". The class and the group constitute a learning community that lays the foundations for building a citizenshiprespectful of the rules of secularism and open to the plurality of cultures in the world. It is within this framework that the child is called to become a pupil, in a very progressive way over the whole cycle. Children learn to identify the roles of different adults, the function of the different spaces in the classroom, in the school and the rules associated with them. They are consulted on certain decisions concerning them and thus discover the foundations of the collective debate. The nursery school thus ensures an initial acquisition of the principles of life in society . The reception and schooling of children with disabilities contribute to this challenge for these children themselves and help to develop for all a positive view on the differences. All adults ensure that all children are treated equitably under all circumstances. The kindergarten builds the conditions for equality , especially between girls and boys

Understanding the function of the school

The nursery school is the place where the child gradually becomes familiar with a specific way of learning; it is based on activities and experiences within its reach, but assumes that it draws on knowledge or know-how with the help of other children and the teacher. Language , in the diversity of its uses, has an important place in this process. The child learns at the same time to enter a collective rhythm (to do something or to be attentive at the same time as the others, to take into account collective instructions) which obliges him to renounce his immediate desires. The nursery school thus initiates the gradual construction of a pupil posture .

The teacher makes the requirements of the school situation legible by putting in situations and explanations that enable children - and their parents - to identify and appropriate them. It encourages cooperation, commitment, perseverance through encouragement and peer support. It encourages to develop personal essays, take initiatives, learn gradually to make choices.

Il aide à identifier les objets sur lesquels portent les apprentissages, fait acquérir des habitudes de travail qui vont évoluer au fil du temps et que les enfants pourront transférer. Pour ce faire, il s’attache à faire percevoir la continuité entre les situations d’apprentissage, les liens entre les différentes séances. Pour stabiliser les premiers repères, il utilise des procédés identiques dans ses manières de questionner le groupe, de faire expliciter par les enfants l’activité qui va être la leur, d’amener à reformuler ce qui a été dit, de produire eux-mêmes des explications pour d’autres à propos d’une tâche déjà vécue.

The teacher exercises the children in the identification of the different stages of learning using terms adapted to their age. It helps them to imagine what they will have to do, with what tools and what processes. It defines criteria of success so that each one can situate the path that it realized and perceive the progress that it still has to make.

Being a singular person in a group

To be a singular person is to discover the role of the group in its own paths, to participate in the realization of common projects, to learn to cooperate . It is gradually sharing tasks and taking initiatives and responsibilities within the group. Through its participation, the child acquires the taste for collective activities, takes pleasure in exchanging and confronting his point of view with that of others. He learns the rules of communication and exchange. The teacher is concerned with guiding collective reflection so that everyone can broaden their own way of seeing or thinking. Thus, the child finds his place in the group, is recognized as a person in its own right and experiences the role of others in the construction of learning.

First, collective rules are given and justified by the teacher who teaches the child the rights (expressing, playing, learning, making mistakes, being helped and protected ...) and obligations in the school community (wait for his turn, share the objects, put away, respect the equipment ...). Their appropriation involves the repetition of ritual activities and a first reflection on their application. Progressively, children are led to participate in a collective elaboration of rules of life adapted to the local environment.

Through the concrete situations of class life, an initial sensitivity to moral experiences (empathy, an expression of justice and unjustness, questioning of stereotypes ...) is built. Reading stories, tales, and plays contribute to this; the staging of fictitious characters creates diversified possibilities of identification and ensures at the same time a sufficient distance. Throughout the cycle, the teacher develops children's ability to identify, verbally express their emotions and feelings . He is careful that everyone can develop their self-esteem, help each other and share with others.