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La Maternelle

(Preschool, Pre-K, and Kindergarten)

La Maternelle serves children ages 3-6 years. There are many benefits to grouping children in multi-age classrooms. In France, public school begins at 2 1/2 years old, with a structured curriculum providing the foundations to prepare students for elementary school. The French Académie follows the educational structure of the French Ministry of Education, which groups preschool and elementary school into 3-year cycles. La Maternelle is Cycle 1 and is structured as follows:

  • PS - Petite Section de Maternelle (Preschool: 3 years old)

  • MS - Moyenne Section de Maternelle (Pre-Kindergarten: 4 years old)

  • GS - Grande Section de Maternelle (Kindergarten: 5 years old)

Sample Schedule

Special Focus
Morning Greeting
Kindergarten individual coaching
Art / Science / Culinary workshops
Students choose their workshop
Transition - Snack
AM cooking is served. Culinary & cultural experiences
gardening, music, art, water exploration, large muscle activities, exploration of space, friendship, individual choice for free time
Group time
Oral language
Language / Math workshops
Small groups based on individual needs
Group time (songs, reading, structured time)
2 groups based on ages
Transition - Lunch - Nap & Rest on demand
Nap, Rest - Reading and listening stations
Nap - Individual Montessori workshops
Kindergarten individual coaching
Monday: board games & large muscle activities; Tuesday: music & puzzles; Wednesday: Naramus & Large muscle activities; Thursday: Science & construction; Friday: library & yoga (AM library for Petite Section)
End of the day group time

Exhibit 1



This project was inspired by a piece of art exhibited at the Walker Center for the Arts.


Full color pictures of these four different representations of nature and Spring and their black and white version were first presented to the students.


Focusing on the overall images and also on the details, students gained the understanding of the different components of a picture: the shapes, the colors, the emotions brought up by the images.


Instructions given:

Choisis des gommettes de 2 couleurs différentes, et de 2 tailles différentes. Colle les gommettes sur les bourgeons, les branches, les fleurs et les tiges.

Choose dots of two different colors and two different sizes. Place the dots onto the buds, the branches, the flowers and the stems.


The students were very quiet during this activity, giving their full attention to their artwork, following the directions given and using their fine motor skills to place the tiny dots in the places of their liking.

Exhibit 2



As part of our theme about spring, the children learned about bees. Together, we looked at books and discovered that bees collect nectar from flowers and make honey inside their beehive. We also learned lots of new words to talk about bees and the work of beekeepers. As we were all very interested, we got to look at real pollen during circle time, and we were so impressed to see some real pollen! We all took a turn to smell it and look at it. We shared our impressions about what it looked and smelled like. The children said that it looked like little yellow and orange pebbles. They also said that it smelled like pumpkin, popcorn, mango, butter and even ice cream!


As the interest about bees did not fade, the children joined together to print bubble wrap onto the outline of a beehive. Then, they painted the background such as some flowers and some trees. And finally, they drew some bees with felt tips. As they were participating to this project, the children were commenting and were saying things such as: “look, I made a carrot, now I’m going to made some blueberries!”, “ I made two suns”, “I made a tree”, “ça, c’est la reine”, “ça, c’est le miel”. The children were very engaged and showed that they really understood what the bees needed to be happy! 


Finally, after having spent a few weeks talking about bees, we decided to create a beehive for our wooden bees. First of all, we painted all the loo rolls with yellow paint, then, once they were dry we stuck them together and finally we stuck the honeycomb inside a large box. When the beehive was ready, the children were eager to decorate it so the bees would enjoy it! The children said: “moi fait une abeille”, “un arc-en-ciel”, “ un bouquet de tulipes”, “des fruits”, “ pour Les Abeilles, du pollen”. The children really thought about what the bees would enjoy and use! They also used the real pollen to feed the bees!



  • Develop understanding of bees: what they are, what they do and why they are important

  • Develop language

  • Name body parts of the bees

  • Develop fine motor skills

  • Work as part of a group

  • Develop artistic skills

  • Develop understanding of the world

  • Develop hand-eye coordination

  • Develop spatial awareness

  • Develop one to one correspondence

Exhibit 3



After a few group discussions with the children about a class mascot, we decided that getting a couple of snails would be a great idea! Together, we discussed what our future snails might need to be happy and stay healthy. After writing a list together, we asked Madame Liebmann to place an order for us. We were so excited for our snails to arrive through the post! Everyday, we were looking out the window to see whether the postman would bring us our little friends. Every morning, we counted the days until we would finally get them!


After 29 days, they arrived, at last! Before meeting our snails, we got their home ready but putting some soil and some moss inside the tank. Then, we all gathered up and opened our precious parcel….

What did we discovered inside? Three escargots!! They were hibernating so we had to wake them up gently with warm water. Then, we put them in their new home and gave them some banana to eat (after their long journey, they were hungry!) We spent the day observing them and learning how to handle them. Of course, we made sure to thoroughly wash our hands afterwards. We had a wonderful day discovering them, looking at their shells and reading stories about snails!


After a week of having fun with our snails, we cleaned our snails' house and it made us realize that our snails depend on us for their health and well-being, so we have to take care of them properly! We took time to empty the old soil to replace it with clean soil. Then, we added some fresh moss and finally we sprayed our snails with water to make them happy. After all this, we decided to take the game “Snail race” out to work on our math skills and the game took on a whole new meaning! Two of our snails started climbing up the windows of their house and seemed to be racing up! We had lots of fun looking at them and debating who would be first to arrive to the top!



  • Develop language

  • Caring for a being other than ourselves

  • Develop awareness of different types of lives

  • Name body parts of the snail

  • Understand the physiology of the snail

  • Develop counting skills

  • Become responsible

  • Understand different types of habitat

  • Understand the concept of hibernation and seasons

As part of our school's Reggio Emilia inspiration, our teachers keep documentation of the different classrooms explorations they discover with their students. This documentation, which is shared daily with our parent community on our private school "Bloomz" app, allows our students, parents, and teachers alike to see the beauty in the children's learning, through natural exploration and discovery. Below are just a few examples of how our students learn and explore.

La Maternelle Project Gallery