Overview of the school curriculum

Elementary school welcomes schooled children from 6 to 11 years old. Mastering language and languages, as well as the first elements of math are the priority objectives to enable the pupils to access the fundamental tools of knowledge.

The teachings are designed by three years cycles :

cycle 2 or fundamental learning cycle includes the preparatory grade (CP), first year elementary grade (CE1) and second year elementary grade (CE2).
cycle 3 or consolidation cycle, includes first year intermediate grade (CM1) and second year intermediate grade (CM2). This cycle continues in middle school in the “sixième” grade.

What do we learn in cycle 2?

  • French: in continuation with kindergarten grades where pupils developed oral language and speaking together skills, heard texts, discovered the function of writing and started writing, cycle 2’s objective is to consolidate language mastering and make one’s way to writer’s skills through everyday activities of reading, writing, spelling, grammar and vocabulary.
  • Mathematics: pupils continue their understanding of whole numbers and explore the different features, writings and links between them. The study of the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) starts from the beginning of the cycle from problems that contribute to give them meaning and reinforce itself by mental math everyday training. Lastly, problem solving is at the center of pupils’ math activity, developing their capacity to search, think and communicate.
  • Question the world: From kindergarten, pupils explore and observe the world that surrounds them; at cycle 2, they will learn to question it in a more precise way, by a first scientific and thoughtful approach. The living, matter and objects world will be covered.
  • Moral and civic education: Through concrete everyday life situations and a first practice of philosophical debates and discussions, pupils build themselves a civic culture around the fields of sensitivity, rules and law, of judgment and commitment.
  • Plastic arts: the teaching builds itself from artistic language elements: shape, space, light, color, material, movement, support, tool, time. It explores various fields, as much as in practice than in references: drawing, painting, collage, sculpting, modeling, assembling, photography, video, digital creation… Encounter with artworks finds there a special space that enables the pupils to commit in a sensible and curious approach, enriching their singular expression potential and judgment.
  • Music education: taking into account the sensitivity and the pleasure to play music as well as listening to it, music education brings cultural knowledge and the necessary techniques to the development of listening and expression skills. The voice plays a key role in the music practice of the class, pupils learn 6 to 8 chants and analyze 6 to 8 works of art.
  • Sports and physical education: During cycle 2, pupils spontaneously and with pleasure engage into physical activity. They develop their motricity, build body language and learn to put the words on the emotions felt and actions done. At the end of cycle 2, pupils acquired motor skills that are essential to the rest of their sports and physical education track. Special attention is given to knowing how to swim.

What do we learn at cycle 3 ?

  • French: cycle 2 enabled the achievement of reading and writing. Cycle 3 must consolidate what has been learned in order to put them at service of the other learnings in a broader and more diversified use of reading and writing. Generally, mastering the language remains a central goal of cycle 3 and the integration of the 6eme class to the cycle must enable to ensure to all the pupils sufficient autonomy to the pursuit of their schooling. French thus organizes itself into reading, writing and oral activities, regular and quantitatively significant moments, completed by more specific activities dedicated to the study of language (grammar, spelling, vocabulary) that enables one to understand the way it works and to learn its rules. Oral and written expression, reading are the main features in the teaching of french, in connection with the study of texts that enables the entry in a common literary culture.
  • Mathematics: Cycle 3 aims to deepen the maths notions initiated in cycle 2, to extend its field of study, to consolidate the automatisation of written calculation techniques precedently introduced (addition, subtraction and multiplication) as well as results and cycle 2 mental maths, but also to build new techniques of written and mental calculation (division), lastly introduce new notions such as decimal numbers, proportionality or the study of new measurements (area, volume, angle). Geometrical activities practiced at cycle 3 fit into the continuity of the ones frequented during cycle 2. They distinguish themselves from it on the one hand by a bigger part given to reasoning and argumentation that complete perception and use of tools. They also are an occasion to frequent new representations of space (template, perspectives, side, frontal, bottom view, etc.)
  • Science and technology: During cycle 2, the pupil explored, observed, experimented, questioned the world that surrounds him/her. At cycle 3, notions already covered are revisited to progress towards more generalization and abstraction, always taking care of starting from concrete and the pupil’s representation. Teaching revolves around 4 big themes: (1) Matter, movement, energy, information – (2) The living world, its diversity and the functions that define it, – (3) Material and technical objects – (4) Planet Earth. Living beings in their environment. Building scientific concepts relies on an approach that implies observations, experiments, measurements, etc. : wording of hypotheses and trying them with experiments, tests or observations.
  • Moral and civic education: The teaching approach is similar to the one in cycle 2 but studied objects are adapted to the pupils’ age (racism, online harassment, values of the French republic…) Through everyday practical situations and a first practice of debate and philosophical discussions, pupils build themselves a civic culture around sensitivity, rules and law, judgment and commitment.
  • History: By working on historical facts from Prehistory to the contemporary world, pupils first learn to distinguish History from fiction and start to understand that the past is a source of interrogations. Cycle 3 training’s project does not aim for a linear and exhaustive knowledge of History. Selected historical moments intend to set common historical reference points, progressively elaborated and enriched all throughout cycles 3 and 4, which enables the pupils to understand that today’s world and society are the heirs to long processes, breaks, and choices made by women and men from the past.
  • Geography: The notion of inhabiting is central in cycle 3; it helps the pupil understand better and make geography teaching objectives and methods their own. Thus, they discover that practicing a place, for a person, is to use it and accomplish everyday actions like work, purchases, leisure… Learnings start with investigating everyday and local living places; then are covered on other scales and other social and cultural environments; lastly, last year’s cycle opens analyzing the diversity of ways to “inhabit” the world.
  • Plastic arts: During cycle 3, teaching visual arts relies on experiment, knowledge and cycle 2 trained skills to enter progressively into a more standalone sensible practice, they learn to analyze more. We keep on developing the potential of invention and creation. Learnings are fuelled by introducing more accurate knowledge and a bigger focus on expliciting artistic production by the pupils, artistic processes observed, reception of artworks encountered. It is about giving the pupils the means to elaborate artistic intentions and grow them as well as accessing a first level of understanding of the big questions beared by artistic creation in plastic arts.
  • Music education: By listening to music, pupils develop their abilities to perceive more precise features and more complex organizations of music; they learn to identify relations, resemblance and differences between several artworks; they gain structuring reference points and learn to refer to it; they discover little by little that taste is a relative notion and, going progressively beyond their immediate emotion, develop techniques to diversify their expressive vocabulary to the service of interpretation.
  • Sports and physical education: During cycle 3, pupils mobilize their resources to transform their motricity in more restrictive and diversified contexts. They identify immediate effects of actions, insisting on the necessary mediation of oral and written language. They continue their initiation to diverse roles (judge, observer…) and understand the need of rules. Thanks to a significant amount of practice time, pupils proof and develop work methods specific to the subject (by action, imitation, observation, co-operation, etc.).