School age matters in France

As thousands of children across France head to maternelle for the first time this month, Samantha David asks if compulsory education from age three is necessary

This rentrée, as children all over France head back to school, they will be joined by 26,000 children who would otherwise have stayed at home. 

This is because, from this September, maternelle is obligatory in France for all children aged three and up. 

The idea is that maternelle prepares children for school life; teaches them to ask before going to the toilet, to walk neatly in a crocodile line, to hang their coats on the right peg.

They learn to fit in and not to hang on ...

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