French School Uniform:  Activities


Figure 1.--Catholic schools prepare the children for their First Comminion (Communion Solenelle ). This is a portrait of the boys doing First Communion at the Patronage Jus Saint Louis.  

We do not have a great deal of information yet on French school activities. Most of the images we have been able to find are class or school portraits. We also have a few classroom and playground scenes. We have been able to find fewer images of school activities beyond academic classroom scenes. We believe that this is in part a reflection of the nature of French schools. The French school system is highly focused on academics. We know far fewer extra-curricular activities than Americans associate with school. We do not notice the same programs for dance, music, sports, and other activities. One factor limiting school activities is that students, at least at the secondary (lycee) level received a substantial home work load leaving less time for extra-curricular activities that American students have.

Coming and Going to School

We do not yet have a lot of informtion on French children coming and going to school. We note a range of images of French boys going to school in the morning and coming home in the afternoonwhich help to provide siome insights. In the morning the boys are mostly hurryng to get to school on time. Thus they are not stopping to play or engage in other activities. This is different in the afternoon. Some parents may insist on the children coming straight home rightaway. But most parents were probably more flexible on this, alowing the children to play a little if they wanted to do so. This could be a range of play activities, includng sports, horseing around, games and much else. Some may have stopped ata sweets shop. Some boys may have wanted to go right home to take their smocks off. Thees were pobably not all that concerned about the smocks. Most primary children probably walked to school as the schools were small and probably near home. This was the case before and immeditely after World War II. With rising affluence and moe car ownership, this is probably somewhat less true today. Security is also greater concern today. WE are less sure about secondary students. Some would have had to use public tranportation.

Classes

Most of the images we have been able to find are class or school portraits. We also have a few classroom and playground scenes. We have been able to find fewer images of school activities beyond academic classroom scenes. We believe that this is in part a reflection of the nature of French schools. The French school system is highly focused on academics. We know far fewer extra-curricular activities than Americans associate with school. We do not notice the same programs for dance, music, sports, and other activities. One factor limiting school activities is that students, at least at the secondary (lycee) level received a substantial home work load leaving less time for extra-curricular activities that American students have. One aspect of French schools that we do see is religion. At least at Catholic schools. Hopefully our French readers will provide us some information on French school activities.

Recess


Art


Dance


Drama

We see French children involved with drama at various levels of their education. We do not have much chrnological information on this. We do not know how common frama activities were in the 19th century. Nor do we know if there were even drama activities in primary school during the 19th century. They seem more likely at secondary schools. We do no note drama activities in the 20th century, both at primary and secondary schools. The younger children may do skits in classes. And school pagents often had the various classes prepare presentations. They could be singing or music, but they also might do skits. This is an often popular activity with the children. Early schools were very basic structures. Modern schools are more likely to have facilities like gyms and audortoriums or dual purpose facilities. Older children including older primary children may put on school plays. Of course the plays produced at the secondary level are much more elaborate affairs, commonly importantb plays rather than plays especially designed for children. We are not sure yet just what kinds of plays are popular. France of course has a rich history of important dramacists.

Drill and Exercise

School drill and exercises were a common component of 10th century schools. This included schools in France as well as mny other countries. The activities involved have changed substantially over time. This has included both the tgyoe of exercise and the importance of exercise itself. They have also varied by school level. Schools in the 19th century often featured drill as a form of both physical exercise and discipline. French schools were primarily academic in orientation, but many schools also had drill. This continued into the 20th century when modern physical education programs were developed. We do not see drill at American and British schools much after World War I (1914-18). Drill sees to have continued in French schools somewhat longer. Here afactor seems to have been that many French schools lacked gyms or sports field. French schools appear to have been more narrowly academic than American and British schools. We see French boys doing drill and exercise in 1939. I'm not sure what type of school this was or where it was located. Presumably it is the building in the background. It looks to be quite a large school. You would think there would have been a gym.

Music


Religion

One aspect of French schools that we do see is religion. At least at Catholic schools. The Catholic Church has played a major role in French education. We do not, however, have a good understanding of the role of the Church in French schools. The earliest schools were run by the Church. Theis changed during the Revolution when the Church as part of the Ancien Regime was attacked. I am not sure what happened in French schools during the Revolution and Napoleonic era, but of course there was not yet a well developed state school system. With the fall of Napoleon, the Bourbon monarchy restored the position of the Church. We know little about schools in this era, but presumably they were again controlled by the Church. We do not know to what extent the role of the Church in education changed during the reign of Louis Phillipe and Napoleon III. After the disastrous French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), the new French Third Republic instituted major reforms, including important reforms in education. We do not yet have details in these reforms, including the role of the Church in schools. By this time France had established a major state education system. In many European countries, religion was taught in the schools. We are not sure about France.

Sport


Field Trips


Special Events

We know that a variety of special events were heald at French schools. We do not have a lot of information yet about these events. We do know that the end of the school year was edspecially important. Each class seems to have put on a skit or performance of some kind. We note that in primary schools the children dress up in fanvu coxtumes, especiallyh the younger children. We do not yet know a great deal about other special events at French schoolls.






HBC-SU







Related Chronolgy Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[Main Chronology Page]
[The 1880s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s]
[The 1960s] [The 1970s] [The 1980s]



Related Style Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[Main country page]
[Long pants suits] [Short pants suits] [Smocks] [Socks] [Eton suits]
[Jacket and trousers] [Blazer [Rompers [School sandals] <



Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing School Uniform Pages
[Return to the Maun French school page]
[Return to the Main School Uniform Page]
[Australia] [England] [Germany]
[Italy] [Japan] [New Zealand] [Scotland]
[United States]



Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Page
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]




Created: 6:08 PM 11/23/2004
Last updated: 8:46 PM 4/18/2013