Moving to France With Young Children
Moving to France with young children is an exciting opportunity for you all.
To make the most of this adventure, you will need to be prepared act confidently and step outside your comfort zone.
As you are planning your new life in France, you will probably be aware of the changes in culture, expectation and behaviour of French children. Many British parents are pleased that their children are positively influenced by French children, with their standard of life increasing as a result.
There are a number of areas where the French system is considered more impressive than the UK equivalent, such as school standards, diet and confidence.
School StandardsFrench schooling is, in some ways, very different to the UK. The similarities are that children study for exams, progress through the educational system and are encouraged to go onto further education. However, the day-to-day behaviour of both French teachers and French schoolchildren is markedly different, with many expat parents saying that French schooling is stricter.
This is often appreciated, though, as more and more UK parents believe that schools focus on the less able or the more disruptive children, with the quieter or more able children not being challenged. There are also concerns that ‘best practice’ has gone too far in the UK, with crying children not being able to be comforted, for example.
This is not the case in French schools – indeed, some parents believe it is a little too strict, although this seems to gain better results overall and makes the children more self-sufficient. The school day often begins early, with breakfast available.
Children are expected to listen, sit quietly and get on with their work, even from a young age. Creativity is still encouraged. Teachers are allowed to chastise and comfort children, with the French view that the teachers are ‘looking after’ the children instead of the parents during the school day.
DietFrench children also have a long lunch break. Some children go home for a meal with their families, although many stay at school. Here, they are given a well balanced, often three course meal. Proper cutlery and plates are common, with the teachers enjoying the same meal as the pupils. This helps to educate your children into the French way, habits that will no doubt be encouraged at home.
You may find that children you know in the UK are gaining weight year on year, with a high saturated fat diet and very little exercise. Living in France, your child will have the benefit of a more outdoorsy life, thanks to the milder climate, and a more rounded view and appreciation of good food, instilled from an early age at school.
ConfidenceA wonderful by product of the stricter schooling in France is the increased confidence naturally found in French children. Perhaps this is sometimes seen as the arrogance of some French people, but compared to the self-doubt and confidence issues faced by many young Britons, perhaps it is the better option.
French children are encouraged to think for themselves, to value their own opinions and to take care of themselves, both by their parents and in school. Confidence is a wonderful characteristic for young people to have, as it will increase their opportunities as an adult, so moving to France with your children is a great way to set them on a positive path.