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ERIC Number: ED438067
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999
Pages: 67
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-0-9625424-0-7
Ready To Learn: The French System of Early Education and Care Offers Lessons for the United States. A Welcome for Every Child III. A Report of the French-American Foundation.
French-American Foundation, New York, NY.
Noting that the fragmented approach to early childhood education in the United States has resulted in enormous variability in program quality, this report describes characteristics of the "ecole maternelle," the preschool system in France. The report is based upon observations made by 15 American delegates who visited 11 preschools in Paris neighborhoods of varying affluence. The report notes that nearly all 3- to 5-year-olds attend the ecole maternelle, which combines education and care for at least 8 hours a day. Highly-trained teachers form the backbone of quality, and the schools are physically impressive. The French preschools follow a national curriculum, emphasizing socialization, mathematics, and language. Schools are structured into a coherent system of financing, administration, and accountability. The national government pays for and trains teachers, and local entities pay for buildings and infrastructure. The annual costs of the ecole maternelle and before-and-after school programs are about $5,500 per child, with government paying almost the entire cost. Although American delegates were impressed by the French system's universal availability, highly trained teachers, high-quality facilities, and deep public support, they also noted characteristics that might limit U.S. application. The report concludes with the following recommendations for action in the United States: (1) promote preschool for every child; (2) clarify government roles and responsibilities; (3) train and adequately pay teachers of young children; (4) develop core principles for early childhood programs; and (5) respond to the needs of children and families. The report's three appendices include lists of site visits and meetings, biographies of the delegates, and a list of the French-American Foundation board of directors. (KB)
French-American Foundation, 509 Madison Avenue, Suite 310, New York, NY 10022 ($10). Tel: 212-829-8800; Fax: 212-829-8810; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Foundation for Child Development, New York, NY.; William and Mary Greve Foundation, Inc., New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: French-American Foundation, New York, NY.
Identifiers - Location: France