Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

By lowering the age of compulsory education to 3 years, article 11 of the law for a school of confidence is part of the republican tradition of the school laws of the Republic: at the end of the 19th century, the obligation of instruction was one of the founding acts of the Republic. The obligation of education for all children from the age of 3 is the realization of this republican ambition carried by the Government.

On the other hand, it reinforces the decisive role of pre-elementary education in reducing inequalities from an early age. 

The pedagogical consecration of the nursery school 

Lowering the age of compulsory education is an opportunity to assert the specific educational identity of the nursery school in its school dimension of the fulfillment and emotional and social development that gives each student a framework conducive to the first school learning. 

The three years of schooling in kindergarten promotes the awakening of children’s personality, stimulates their linguistic, sensory, motor, cognitive and social development, develops self-esteem and of others, and contributes to their emotional development. The nursery school strives to develop in each child the desire and the pleasure of learning to allow him, gradually, to become a pupil. 

The nursery school is also the place where the link between the educational institution and the parents is formed and structured, a fundamental link that will accompany the pupil throughout his schooling. It is an opportunity for parents to learn about the organization and functioning of the educational institution, to understand its stages, issues, and requirements, and above all to find their place there. 

Kindergarten education, therefore, plays a crucial role in the development of young children: it is both the springboard to success, the center of student development, and the crucible for reducing social inequalities. 

Speaker on the stage in front of the room with rear view of audience in put hand up acton

Reducing inequalities from an early age

Lowering the age of compulsory education to 3 years will provide a common framework that will offer all students the same opportunities to succeed in their education. Indeed, several scientific studies have proven the existence of a strong correlation between attendance at a pre-elementary school and student performance. 

Learning a precise vocabulary and language structures is a major lever for reducing the first inequality, that ahead of language. Between 3 and 6 years old, the child develops in nursery school essential skills to then approach in elementary school, and in good conditions, the learning of fundamental skills: reading, writing, counting, and respecting others. 

As an extension of the duplication of CP and CE1 classes in priority education, the lowering of the compulsory education age reflects the Government’s desire to act at the root of inequalities, with constant attention to the most disadvantaged students. fragile. 

What changes with the law 

Instruction obligation

From the start of the 2019 school year, all children aged 3, 4, and 5 are subject to compulsory education. All these children must therefore now be enrolled in a nursery school or class, public or private unless their parents or legal guardians declare that they are educating them or have them educated in the family. In this case, checks will be carried out by the competent authorities to ensure that the obligation of investigation is respected.


The obligation of instruction entails an obligation of attendance during school hours. However, the law provides that this obligation can be relaxed for a child in a small nursery school section if the persons are responsible for the child’s request. A decree specifies the conditions under which this relaxation is possible. Instructions were given to the national education services to respond quickly to families who would request to adapt their child’s schooling time.

Schooling in kindergartens

Article 18 of the law authorizes, by way of exception, the instruction of a child from 3 to 6 years old in a kindergarten. Until the 2023-2024 school year, enrollment in a kindergarten is considered to comply with the obligation of instruction after prior declaration by the persons responsible for the child to the competent authority. Educational checks will be carried out to ensure compliance with the instruction obligation.  

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