It was in the Carnot project in 1848 that agriculture appeared as an integral part of the primary program:“Primary education comprises the main facts of agriculture. “
Already the 1850 law on public education places elementary agriculture among the optional subjects of education in primary schools.
It is important to familiarize the children of the rural communes early with the good agricultural practices and to make them love the work of the fields.
In a predominantly rural France, the maintenance of populations is an economic and political issue.
Fourtoul’s arguments are primarily political when he declares to the rectors in the circular of April 18, 1855: ” I do not need to insist to you on all that is pregnant for the future the idea of teaching of the concepts of agriculture in primary schools. On the one hand, this teaching must have the effect of propagating good cultivation methods, and of putting a certain number of schools in a position to contribute themselves to the expenses of their maintenance; on the other, and, above all, the government is entitled to expect this important result, to preserve among the teachers simple and modest tastes, and to connect them by positive interests on the ground of the communes which have entrusted them with their schools. “
Victor Duruy takes up again the idea expressed by the teachers during the inquiry of 1861, of a more practical, adapted and reserved teaching to the children of the primary school.
In his instructions of 1867, he asks the teachers of the rural communes to endeavor to give, by the choice of dictations, readings and problems, an agricultural direction to their teaching, either in the class of the day, or in that of evening, and from time to time, in their adult classes, after the ordinary lessons of writing, calculation and spelling, agricultural readings accompanied by explanations and advice.Teachers must make every effort to annex a garden to their school, in order to exercise the children in the practice of horticulture.
The county councils are authorized to modify the regulations of the primary schools, as to the fixing of the hours of work and the time of the holidays, in order to reconcile the classical exercises with the works of the fields.
A teaching of agricultural concepts in primary school seems to be the solution against the desertification of the countryside.
The teaching of elementary notions of agriculture becomes compulsory in 1882.
The Spuller circular of December 11, 1887, reaffirms the need for the existence of a garden for any new school construction.