Here in Burkina Soren attends a local preschool that uses the French curriculum. He just recently finished his first trimester.
Since it was his first time attending a preschool, and since it would be in a language he was only starting to get acquainted with, I was a bit nervous about how he would fair. But he loves it!
I have read a bit about the differences between the French system and the American system. Overall it seems that French preschools are a bit more structured, have more academic expectations early on, and slightly bigger teacher to student ratios. The report card we got at the end of the trimester was about a page long and covered things like: independence, writing skills, attentiveness, world discovery, music, mathematics, motor skills, foreign language (English class) and artistic abilities.
The school has a big emphasis on art. I am always interested to see what Soren will bring home. During the school break there was an option for students to participate in a 2 week art camp. 2 hours every morning just doing art. Soren of course wanted to do it. His only complaint was that he was not always allowed to use the colors he wanted to use (he loves to make things purple and blue). I guess that is one difference in the French approach, there is a right way of doing things and kids are expected to follow the rule – an elephant is gray, the sky is blue, grass is green. Unlike American approaches which often celebrate any artistic deviations as creative thinking.
One thing I really appreciate about the preschool is their incorporation of world discovery into learning, preparing kids to be global citizens. Kids are introduced to different languages and cultures through lessons, music, and art. Last month Soren painted Japanese symbols, learned about the continents and had a Japanese music class.
At the end of the school year the preschool hosted a huge presentation and party. The kids showed off some of the things they learned. And an entertainment group performed some amazing stunts. No parent volunteers were harmed in the stunts.