JE SUIS PARENT – FRENCH FOR PARENTS

JE SUIS PARENT – FRENCH FOR PARENTS

Somewhere along my parenting journey in Geneva, I went to buy scissors to cut my daughter’s hair. To the utter confusion of the saleswoman, I asked for “scissors for horses”. My daughter started laughing, the lady was still looking at me with her eyes wide open. You see, in French, the difference between hair (cheveux) and horses (chevaux) is small, especially to a non-native speaker.

Luckily I had my little one with me to help out. Needless to say, I was pretty embarrassed. All I could think about was what if that happened again, and worse, what if it was a potentially more serious situation?

Let me give you an example: my dear friend, whom I love to the bottom of my heart, gave her newborn baby vitamin D drops. All would have been fine if not for the fact that she was putting them in her eyes instead of the mouth. Just because her French was bad.

THE PERFECT PLAN

So, I tried. I did what I could. A few months after giving birth, frustrated at myself for not being able to communicate well enough with the paediatrician’s assistant, I packed the pram and decided it was time to enrol in a French course in my commune. The plan was perfect: the course was free, so I could use some of my budget to hire a nanny while I would focus on French. Sadly, due to my daughter’s poop, nap, and colicky cry, I was late and all the spots were already taken. Since all other options at the time were too expensive for me to have both a nanny and the lessons, I gave up.

I was dreaming about an online course that I could do from the comfort of my sofa, while my kid takes a nap. I didn’t find anything good, so I went on to imagine how my daughter will soon invite her friends and plan all sorts of cheekiness, without me even realizing. I didn’t even know the word for “cheeky” in French…

SAVE YOURSELF

Luckily for you, that online course I was dreaming about exists now. Prêt à Parler is a Geneva-based online French school founded in 2015 by a fellow expat mama. She knows exactly what parents need and how little time we have to focus on ourselves.

With Prêt à Parler’s private lessons you can schedule your lessons whenever you want, reschedule easily (because sleepless nights, stomach bugs and all) and learn at your own pace. Your ‘Super Prof’ will always find solutions and adapt to your learning style and priorities, so you can learn, review, and reinforce key grammar and vocabulary points which are relevant to your specific needs.

OTHER OPTIONS

Prêt à Parler does not only offer private lessons. You can opt in for their Premium Webinar Program (live French lessons in small groups as well as on-demand library of over 80 recorded lessons). These are perfect for busy people, as whenever you miss the live session, you can watch it online anytime you want.

There is also a fun and great online program called French for Everyday Life – it’s ideal for beginners (A0-A1) as well as intermediate French learners (A2-B1) who prefer to learn independently as it includes 200 lessons within 10 progressive modules. It was designed specifically for English speakers, with a big focus on pronunciation. The tips to improve your French “r” and other difficult sound the French invented, was created by the Prêt à Parler founder herself as Isabelle is also a professional opera singer. She knows a thing or two about diction and sounds! You can see her story here.

They also provide tons of free content on their website, Youtube channel and on Facebook. You’ll already learn a lot by simply following them on Instagram. These free tools are perfect if you need some time to decide if this methodology works for you.

My husband has been having lessons with Prêt à Parler and he is very happy. He saves time on commuting, has got more time for his family and his French improves every week! I wrote more about his experience here.

Being able to speak French will definitely boost your parenting confidence. Calling the pediatrician will not increase your cortisol levels anymore, you will make more friends at the park, and when the time comes, discussing your child’s wellbeing at creche or school will become a no brainer! Don’t wait until your kid starts translating for you, you can get there first.

PRACTICAL INFO

Prêt à Parler:

Website: pretaparler.ch
Facebook: @pretaparlerch
Youtube: Prêt à Parler
Instagram: @pretaparlerch

TESTIMONIAL

Here is Smita’s testimonial, one of many moms who took French lessons with Prêt à Parler. There are more and more parents on their platform, all very happy with their investment. Take a look:

Why were our online services so helpful for you to reach your French goals as a working parent?

Prêt à Parler offers a flexible, practical option for working parents wanting to improve their French. Their website is easy to use and you can schedule your lesson according to when it is convenient for you. Online learning is the way forward and we have seen this on a greater scale during the Covid-19 crisis. Prêt à Parler was already ahead of the game by eliminating the organizational fatigue of face to face lessons and offering their excellent courses online.

 Did you find that your investment with Prêt à Parler was worth it? How so? 

The investment I made into lessons with Prêt à Parler was definitely worth it. I needed some French lessons to be able to pass the FIDE exam for my Permis-C – so I had a clear goal. The value for money I got in terms of a clear, structured set of lessons in the run up to my exam was second to none.

What would you like to tell busy parents who are hesitating to take a trial lesson with us?

If you are a busy parent and you’re hesitant to take lessons with Prêt à Parler please don’t be! You won’t regret it. They are a friendly professional team of people who genuinely want to help people learn and in a comfortable and secure space. You won’t find a better alternative so book your trial lesson now!

* This article is a result of a paid collaboration between Parentville and Prêt à Parler.

Prêt à Parler – expert in online French courses

Prêt à Parler – expert in online French courses

What do you get when a French-Canadian opera singer lands in Geneva? (No, it’s not one of those jokes!) Quick answer: an expat-oriented, 100% online professional French language school. In other words: Prêt à Parler.

FYI: yes, your feeling is right – this is a sponsored article . But, as always, it is about a company/product I know, tested, and trust.

You know the story: you arrive as an expat in Geneva on a “short contract” only to realise 10 years later that you’re still here and still don’t really speak French well enough, especially when it comes to all those online forms, doing your taxes and even applying for a Swiss Passport. Add to that the stress of finding the time to get out of the house the same time each week to attend a French-language class, and of course getting through the notorious Geneva traffic, hunting for parking or navigating TPG. All while balancing the laundry, groceries, a job and a kid or kids at home. 

This is where Prêt à Parler comes in. My husband, P, has been using it and it has been brilliant. He can go about his day, work, child-care – you name it – and once a week he simply logs in for one-hour of French lessons. On the other side of the screen is one of the ‘Super Profs’ as they call them, waiting to start a lesson that will feel more like a conversation than schoolwork, where grammar finds its way in without you even realising it.

But hey, didn’t you say there was an opera singer? What’s that got to do with teaching French?

Ah, oui! The opera singer in question is Isabelle Nicolas-Johnson, the founder of Prêt à Parler. Her opera background has helped her become an expert in articulation and pronunciation, as she attended many diction classes (French, English, Italian, and German) as part of her studies. 

Over the years, she has developed special French pronunciation tips – and I don’t know about you, but this is where my husband and I struggle the most, especially with that French ‘r’.

About Prêt à Parler

Prêt à Parler brought digital education to Geneva way before COVID-19 forced everyone to move online. Isabelle launched her online programs back in 2017 when the word “corona” was only associated with a bottle of cold beer. (Don’t you miss those days?) Before she knew it, she was training a team of top bilingual teachers as well as her communication and IT support experts. 

Prêt à Parler is a local expert in online French courses. It offers one-on-one classes, webinars, and preparatory courses for the FIDE exam (soon-to-be obligatory for those applying for a Swiss C permit, or a Swiss passport). They also developed their own learning platform called French for Everyday Life and share a ton of tips and mini-lessons on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram (handy for someone like me who spends a lot of time on those sites!), so you can give the idea of an online French class a try. 

Benefit 1: Personalisation

Isabelle always knew that a one-size-fits-all approach would not work in education. We all have different styles of learning, interests, and reasons to learn a new language. Each course is personalised and adapted to your needs (meaning no two classes are the same!) 

Need helping writing a formal letter? They will turn it into a class. Didn’t understand the programme you watched yesterday? They can turn it into a listening exercise. You basically get to turn REAL life into a useful learning exercise.

Benefit 2: The teachers

All Prêt à Parler teachers have been carefully selected for their professional, technological and personal skills. Plus, they know everything there is to know about that (in)famous FIDE exam.

After a trial lesson (super helpful), my husband was certain he had finally found a program matching his needs. He scheduled his lessons at 9 pm. Yes, you read that right, 9 in the evening. What!? How!? Well, it turns out his teacher, Sandra, is a native French-speaker who currently lives in New Zealand. 9 pm here – 9 am there. That is the beauty of online training programs – both the teacher and the student can be anywhere in the world.

Benefit 3: Comfort and flexibility

We are all different, with different lives, and different chaos (aka work-life balance), yet many language schools are set up as such so that you have to adapt to their schedule. Prêt à Parler offers a flexible solution (side note, it’s also great for introverts like me who don’t love the idea of group classes with strangers each week!)

My husband’s lessons each last 1 hour. Not 1 hour plus 40 minutes commute each way. Not 1 hour plus anything. There is no stress about traffic jams, the bus being late, or finding a parking spot. Not only does he have his lessons tailored to his specific needs, but improving his French doesn’t interfere with his work-life or his family life. 

When it comes to scheduling your lessons, it can be late at night, early in the morning, or even on a Sunday. Your private classes can be rescheduled if needed within 24h. It means that no last-minute business trip, your child getting sick or vacation will be an obstacle in boosting your French! That is, as long as you have an Internet connection, of course. 

And this is all possible thanks to an opera singer from Quebec who moved to Geneva. After all, who better to understand and cater to expats than a fellow expat? 

PRACTICAL INFO

* This article is a result of a paid collaboration between Parentville and Prêt à Parler.

5 Creepy French Songs For Kids

5 Creepy French Songs For Kids

Do you know what your children sing in French? The tune is very joyful, the words sound sweet, but what are some of these songs really about? Read more about 5 creepy French songs for kids and find out.

Most of them are absolutely sweet and adorable. But there are some hidden gems in the French rhymes, that don’t bother to hide the cruelty of the world from the kids.

French songs for kids Parentville Geneva Children

Ready for 5 creepy French songs for kids? Let’s go from the least creepy down to the most terrifying one, so you can stop reading the moment you feel uncomfortable.

    • Une Souris Verte (lyrics to be found here). Ever thought of dipping a (green!) mouse in hot oil to transform it into a snail? Well, your child might 😉 Luckily, a chance for finding a green mouse is very limited.
    • Marlbrough S’En Va-T’En Guerre (lyrics here). An absolutely adorable song in terms of the melody, with a rhythm perfect for a long walk. But it’s a out a man who goes on a war, dies, is buried, and his wife must sleep all alone. Amazing how this sad text is sung to such tuneful sounds!
    • Allouette (for the lyrics click here). One of the most popular nursery rhymes about a little bird. If you don’t speak French, you probably thing it’s the cutest song ever. Nope. It’s about plucking feathers from each part of the poor skylark’s body. Have fun!
    • Ne Pleur Pas Jeanette (lyrics: here). If you’re a happy-end loving kind of person, it’s not a song for you. The song tells a story about Jeanette who’d rather choose death by hanging with her friend, than to mary a guy the family chose for her. They hung them on the highest branch, la la la la.
    • La Légende de Saint Nicolas (lyrics for courageous here). Oh la la. That is the most terrifying story ever. Kids get lost in a forest, a butcher offers them shelter, kills them, cuts them and puts them in the salting-tubs. Sigh. There is a sort-of-happy-ending to the story luckily.

The French have been singing these songs for generations. I hope you’ll agree there is no sign of these songs turning the French speakers into creepy adults. Thus, you don’t have to fear your child’s future. Better learn French and sing along with them!

Now, you can learn French with Parentville thanks to Frantastique – a super duper funny French teaching app, that will take just 10 minutes of your day. You can sign up for the first 30 days for free with no obligation to go further, you will not be asked for your credit card details. Intrigued? Read more about it and sign up here.

 

The point of this article is to shed some light, laugh a bit, and give you an insight into this so often forgot part of the culture children grow up in. Before you get scared, before the criticism starts itching your tongue, think hard about your own culture and the songs you sung. Here are some good example for native English speakers: It’s Raining, It’s Pouring, London Bridge, and more here.

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