Schools for young children were founded in France circa 1779, under the influence of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Émile, a fictitious story describing the growth and education of a young boy as Rousseau viewed proper.
In 1881, Pauline Kergomard was named general inspector of schools transforming childcare in France into a program she called école maternelle (maternal school). Kergomard named it so, believing that the teacher's role was to provide a warm instructive environment attentive to children's needs and abilities like that of a mother. She placed emphasis on socialization to help children live in a society by respecting rules and boundaries and learning to share and work with others.
Over the years, école maternelle evolved and developed into a nationwide curriculum in France and a world-renowned educational program known for establishing a solid academic foundation and promoting good learning habits.
The ecole maternelle is comprised of three essential years for the young child: