Preparing Your Child for La Rentrée in France


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Preparing Your Child for La Rentrée in France

Once you’ve enrolled your child in a French school and learnt the differences regarding school days, holidays, and lunches in France, it’s time to get your child kitted out for school. In France, ‘La Rentrée’ – the return to school after the summer holidays – also means purchasing a whole new set of stationary and schooling supplies. Here’s what you need to know to prepare your child for La Rentrée.

French School Materials: What Does Your Child Need?

French schools do not provide all school materials. At the very youngest age you won’t need to purchase anything, but as your child progresses through the French state school system, you will be expected to provide everything from pencils and crayons to exercise books and textbooks. When your child gets to secondary school (college) or high school (lycée), the costs can quickly mount.

You are not given the list of items required until the first week of school, but here’s a general list to get you prepared. 

The following are commonly asked for at the upper end of primary school (école primaire). Younger children will not need the maths equipment.

  • La trousse – pencil case, larger the better to fit set square in
  • Le règle – ruler
  • Les ciseaux – scissors
  • L’agenda – diary for homework
  • Le classeur – ring binder
  • L’équerre – set square
  • Le compas – compass
  • Plastic covers for exercise books or text books. Teachers often give these out so that subjects are colour-coded, best to wait until asked for them and have some standard format covers handy for week one. There is a fantastic product out – plastic on a roll – which allows you to cover any size of notebook.
  • Crayons – coloured crayons and pencils
  • Stylos – red, black, green and blue – different colours are often used for key words pupils are expected to learn
  • Wipe-clean small whiteboard with cloth and pens
  • Le scotch – sellotape
  • La gomme – rubber
  • La taille-crayon – sharpener
  • La colle – glue stick

Additional Extras to Keep At Home

  • Bescherelle Verb Book for reference. School versions have basic lists useful to carry around.
  • Le Petit Larousse dictionary or encyclopedia
  • School guides on topics such as grammar, dictation, spelling (orthographe). Look for these in several supermarkets before buying, or check out local bookshops.
  • World Atlas or online Atlas

School Uniforms and PE Kit

Most schools in France do not have a school uniform, meaning that students can wear whatever they choose to attend school. However, students are generally expected to adhere to certain standards and there may be specific rules or regulations dictated by the school. 

Your child will also need suitable clothes to take part in PE classes and often a separate pair of clean-soled trainers/tennis shoes will be required for indoor sports.

Finally, your child will need a suitable rucksack, big enough to take larger-than-A4 books.

Allocation de rentrée scolaire

While supermarkets and stationary stores often run back-to-school promotions throughout August, the cost purchasing school supplies can quickly add up. Income-tested support is available for many families to help with the costs of ‘La Rentrée’. This one-off payment is known as an ‘allocation de rentrée scolaire‘ and is issued by the CAF (Caisse des Allocations Familiales) during the summer holiday period. 

Studying in France?

From nursery through secondary school to higher education, university, and foreign exchange study programs—FrenchEntrée is here to answer all your back-to-school questions. Visit our Education zone for more on studying in France and the French school system, or find out more about raising children in France in our Family zone.

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