The best summer camps in Geneva, 2024

The best summer camps in Geneva, 2024

Discover a fantastic selection of high-quality summer camps in Geneva! Whether you’re looking for camps in English or French, there’s something for everyone—from toddlers and older kids to teenagers. These camps offer a variety of activities, including sports, creative arts, and adventurous language learning. Explore this curated list to make finding the perfect summer camp a breeze.

Disclaimer: Each year, I reach out to highly recommended camps and offer them advertising space on Parentville. The camps featured with photographs and descriptions are paid advertisements, chosen for their quality and suitability. Advertising with Parentville is also a way for camp organizers to support this platform. At the bottom of the list, there is a separate section with camps that are not paid advertisement.

Ready? Let’s do it!

TOTUP

TOTUP, ages 1+
Cantons: Geneva and Vaud

TotUP offers Bilingual Summer Camps with a focus on children’s happiness. Join us for exciting adventures in Geneva, Vaud, and Fribourg. Each week, explore new themes like Water Week, Gardening, and Wilderness Adventure. Prices range from 350 to 500 CHF per week for kids aged 3 to 8. For younger children, short-term contracts are available at daycare prices. Prices include a full program, meals, and excursions. Additionally, a Forest Camp for kids aged 6 to 12 is available in Petit Lancy from July 1st to 5th, with only 7 places. All camps offer a 10% discount for the second child and a 10% discount for Parentville followers with the secret pass: Parentville2024.

More information: at the TotUp website.

GROWING TOGETHER

Growing Together, ages 3-6
Grand-Saconnex

Children will enjoy play and movement on Gymboree’s special equipment, art projects, music, dancing, tactile activities, imaginary play, dress-up, story time, and outdoor fun. There is no nap time. Classes are bilingual in French and English, with languages separated by person. Fun and new friendships are guaranteed! The camp runs from July 1st to August 23rd, Monday to Friday, for children aged 3 to 6 years old. Parents can choose either full days (8:30 AM – 4:30 PM) or half days (8:30 AM – 12 PM or 1 PM – 4:30 PM), with flexible booking options available.

More details at: Growing Together.

BUBBLES

Bubbles, ages 2-10
Belle-Terre, Grand-Lancy, Eaux-Vives

Summer camps are back at Bubbles from July 1st to August 23rd, 2024. Join us for an Olympic adventure full of activities! We offer sports and creative activities, cooking workshops, and cultural outings. We welcome children from 2 to 10 years old at three locations: Bubbles Creches – Belle-Terre (ages 2-4), Bubbles Creches – Grand-Lancy (ages 2-6), and Bubbles Kids Club – Eaux Vives (ages 4-10). Registrations are open, so contact us now at 022 774 55 55 or by email at [email protected]. See you soon at Bubbles.

More information on our websites: Bubbles Creches and Bubbles Club.

 

SPELL LANGUAGES

Spell Languages, ages 4-14
Plainpalais

Immerse your kids in the world of play, creativity, and languages with Spell Languages’ dynamic camps! Their summer programs for ages 4-14 feature exciting themes like « Little Pirates, » « Galactic Quest, » and « Dahl in Geneva. » While learning English, French, German, Italian, or Spanish, your kids will use their imagination as they explore history, space, literature classics, and storytelling adventures with Spell’s passionate team. Each day is filled with music, interactive activities, hands-on experiments, and creative play, ensuring a fun, educational experience. Enrol now for 2 or 3 weeks to secure the best prices and give your child an unforgettable, language-filled summer adventure!
More details at Spell Languages.

For bookings of a minimum of 2 weeks, use the code PARENTVILLE150 to receive a discount of 150 CHF (offer valid until the end of May 2024).

SIMPLY THEATRE

Simply Theatre, ages 4+
Versoix

Simply Summer camps are week-long theatrical camps that offer children from 4 up to 18 years run by Simply Theatre academy in Versoix. Each week has a specific focus, set against a background of fun theatre games and exercises, song and movement. This summer there are half-day camps for 5&6 year olds and musical theatre, acting, movie-making, dance, improv, play-in-a-week for ages 7+. All run 9-4pm at Simply Thetre Studios. All camps feature fresh content every summer. So if your child has a favourite camp from last year, they can attend again with the confidence that all material, songs and choreography will be updated and different with loads of new skills to learn!
Sibling and multiple course booking discounts are available. Find out more at SimplyTheatre.com.

ILL CAMPS

ILL CAMPS, ages 3-15
Lancy

Looking for a fun summer for your kids? IIL Camps offers over 60 camps for ages 3 to 15 in Geneva! Choose from sports, arts, tech, outdoor, water activities, and more. Camps are available in full-day or half-day formats and are open to all children. This year, we’re excited to offer a special hiking camp in the Alps! Most camps are bilingual in French and English. Join us for enriching activities and unforgettable experiences. Camps run from July 1-26 and August 12-27, 2024. Prices start at 275 CHF/week for half days and 525 CHF/week for full days.
More information at  ILL Camps.

KNOCK ON WOOD

Knock On Wood, ages 8-18
Nations ares
Building character, reconnecting with manual skills, and having fun through crafting.
From how to use a hammer to the importance of proper planning, patience, and 3D thinking, Knock on Wood’s summer camps are a great way for your child to spend their holiday developing new skills and socializing around woodcraft in a fully-equipped workshop.
The children all start with simple projects and gradually work their way to more complex and personalized projects as their confidence grows. They use primarily hand tools and some of the safer machines under adult supervision. KOW also offers collaborative camps with KlayIt and NEXT Academy.
More information: at Knock On Wood.

ACTIVE BRAIN KIDS ACADEMY

Active Kids Brain Academy, ages 4-8
Eaux-Vives

Have Fun under the Sun: Bilingual Summer Camp with Active Kids Brain Academy! Join us for an enriching bilingual summer adventure, where we dedicate each week to a unique theme that ignites interests and fosters development. Whether it’s the thrill of competition during Sport Week or the joy of artistic expression during Art Week, there’s something for every camper. Delve into the past during Discovery Week, unravel the mysteries of the universe in Science Week, or reconnect with nature in Nature Week.
Come join us as we explore, learn, and create lasting memories together!

More details at: Active Kids Brain Academy.

ESPACE COLIBRI

Espace Colibri, ages 4-10
Carouge

Your children deserve the best for their holidays, so we invite you to give them an unforgettable and unique experience. We welcome children aged 4 to 10 for a week filled with discovery, personal development, and fun. Throughout the week, our dedicated teachers will offer a diverse range of activities designed to engage and inspire. Children will enjoy yoga sessions to promote relaxation and mindfulness, creative projects to spark their imagination, and sensory exploration activities to enhance their understanding of the world around them. Join us for a week of enriching adventures and unforgettable memories!

More details at: Espace Colibri.

INTERSOCCER

Intersoccer, ages 3-13
Various locations

InterSoccer’s Summer Football Camps 2024 offer a safe, nurturing environment for boys and girls aged 3 to 13 to enhance their football skills and create lasting memories. Tailored for all abilities, the camps range from half-day Mini camps for ages 3-5 to full-day camps for ages 5-13. Experienced bilingual coaches lead interactive games, skill-building exercises, and friendly matches. Full-day campers enjoy hot lunches, and all participants receive a football shirt, certificate, and medals. With a focus on safety, flexible booking options from 1 to 5 days per week, and fun-filled activities, InterSoccer is the perfect choice. Special family discounts are available.

More information: at Intersoccer.ch.

RED WHALE

Red Whale, ages 0+
Bellevue

Intensive swimming lessons at the RedWhale Swim School in Bellevue, Geneva. Discover the joy of swimming in a safe, supportive environment while building confidence and refining technique any week of July! Five lessons, one per day from Monday to Friday, for children from 5 months and up.

You can book for one week, or 2 or all 5! All levels are welcome and the pool is heated to a minimum of 32°. The classes are given in French and English to small groups, maximizing personal attention and enabling faster progress. 

Register directly on our website redwhale.ch.

OTHER CAMPS

Addict Lab – playful and creative take on science and engineering.

Totem Escalade – climbing for all ages in Meyrin and Versoix.

Gravity Park – a parkour camp in the new place in Meyrin (ages 8+).

Herstreet – camps for little ones in Eaux Vives.

Recrecrea – wonderful creative and playful camps.

CPV camps – a vast choice of various camps.

Atelier d’Alice – summer camps in Carouge.

Future Kids – programming and robotics

ASK – All Special Kids – bilingual camps for children with learning differences and special educational needs.

Rollers Geneve – a camp on wheels, recommended by many parents.

1885-ecole – Swimming camps for ages 3+ and teenagers!

Geneva 1P without secrets

Geneva 1P without secrets

1P aka 1 primaire, or else 1st grade.

/scroll down for the back-to-school vocab cheat sheet for parents/

Your child enters Geneva public school this year in 1P?

Parentville’s got you covered.

Just remember: as everything in Switzerland depends on the canton, the school is even more detailed: everything depends on the teacher. Differences from what is described here, are very likely to happen.

PREPARE

You’ll need: slippers, basanes, painting apron, a change of clothes. Also in some school: a box of tissues

You don’t need to buy any books, notebooks, crayons, glue, scissors etc. – such equipment is provided by the schools.

Does your child need a backpack?
Yes. For the snack-box, the water bottle aka “la gourde”, and for the a4 sized folder aka “la fourre”. Make sure the « fourre » can fit in, especially if your child will attend the after school care – « parascolaire ». All books, notebooks, crayons etc. stay at school.

You will get a teacher-parent communication book also called a students book (carnet de l’élève) with all necessary explanations, addresses, and phone numbers. Further pages constitute an agenda. Each day of the school year has its place, where teachers and parents can put important information. At the bottom of the page you’ll find space to request a meeting with the teacher (or teacher’s request to meet with you). You’ll need to sign the book every week. It will become clear once you see how it looks like.

In the first weeks of the school year you will also receive some forms to fill (mainly asking about address, phone numbers, special health issues, languages spoken etc). Nothing complicated.

INDEPENDENCE

Kids are expected to be diaper-free, and independent when it comes to all toilet-related issues. They should also know how to dress themselves, put on their shoes, etc. Of course, teachers will occasionally help if needed, but the expectation is for kids to be independent. For that reason it’s best to, for example, avoid shoes with laces until the child can tie them without adults’ help.

IT’S IN FRENCH

Don’t be afraid if your child doesn’t speak French. Most probably, he/she won’t be the only one in the classroom. Geneva teachers are experienced in working with allophone children (=children who don’t speak French). Also, 1P is a playful year, perfect to learn the language. But if you do think your child will do better with some additional help, you can try a kids’ French course in one of the language schools, for example playful Spell Languages (offering both group and private lessons, as well as full weeks during school holidays).

PLAYTIME

1P is focuses on socializing, board games, songs, and as my daughter put it “that damn coloring”. Coloring is boring for many kids but the thought behind it is to master the pincer grasp, to better work with the pencil the following years. They get to learn their abc’s, count to 12, and write their name. But again, everything depends on the teacher. My daughter’s teacher added a bit of German to the mix.

1P classrooms are filled with toys, games, and colours. There’s usually a library corner, and a separate space for different kinds of play-pretend. There is a blackboard and chalk of course (or whiteboard and markers), but kids don’t have their assigned desks, and sit by the tables usually in small groups. The whole desk matter starts in 2P.

LEARNING 101

Don’t expect any reading or proper writing happening in Geneva 1P classes. This won’t happen till the 3P. To many of you it might come as a shock, but actually according to a ton of research (example of an article summing it up: here), it is a great advantage of the Swiss system. The same is done in many northern and eastern countries, especially those renown for their educational systems, eg Finland and Sweden.

(By the way, did you know there is a Swedish School in Geneva, offering an English-French language program based on Swedish methods)

They’ll do some math exercises in the form of mazes, solving easy logical tasks. They’ll have basics of geography – starting with their school setting, and maybe naming the streets around. But again, it all depends on the teacher.

They’ll also have science with experiments and learning about plants or animals. There will be a music class with singing. In other words they will be well occupied, and learn a whole bunch of things!

THE DROP OFF: 8h00-8h45

Drop off is from 8:00 till 8:45. Provide your child with a small snack for the morning recess (la recrée): a sandwich, a fruit, dry fruits, a bit of cheese or whatever you want. You’re completely free to choose, apart from the dental prevention week.

In some of the schools parents can walk in with their child only for the first 2 months of the school year (upon drop off, and to collect them). Other schools let parents in the full 1P and beyond. But in most, as of 2P you will be asked to stay outside, and your child will enter the school on his/her own.

THE LUNCH BREAK: 11h30-13h30/14h00

The lunch break is long. It lasts from 11:30, and finishes with an afternoon drop off from 13:30 till 14:00.

During lunch break, children from 1P eat their lunch, have a relax time (they lie down for 20-30 minutes, it is not a nap time). They can bring a cover, a pillow, and something to cuddle.

School lunches, « cuisine scolaire », are an option. Kids can also be taken home for this time, or go with a nanny.

SCHOOL’S OUT

Schools out at 16h:00 every day. There is no school on Wednesdays for 1P.

After-school care, « parascolaire », exists in all schools in canton Geneva. Children are taken care of from 16h till 18h. It’s not available on Wednesdays. Parascolaire is managed by GIAP, not by schools. The activities during these two hours vary a lot from one municapility to another, and even between schools in the same municipality in the canton.

HOLIDAYS

Geneva school holidays 2023/2024

Holidays outside the set school breaks? Can be possibly but is measured on case by case basis. To go away for any number of days, you need to request a permission from the school. If it’s less than 4 days of school leave, the teacher will decide, if it’s more the director of teh school will make the decision. You should hand it in, ideally, at least 14 days in advance.

Exception: Jeûne genevois, that always happens in the beginning of the school year, so you can hand in the request in the first few days of the school year.

But lets not get ahead of ourselves! We have loads of time to plan for those holidays. Let’s first start that the school year!

I wish you and your kids a very smooth transition to the school life, and a very fun and playful year!

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Easter PARTY Extravaganza for kids in Geneva

Easter PARTY Extravaganza for kids in Geneva

Save the date!

On March 28th, at 16:30 Just Bloom is throwing the most entertaining Easter party for kids Geneva has ever seen.

It will be a 2 hours long Easter party extravaganza with egg hunts, workshops, entertainers, make-up, and a paper confetti disco! Not to mention the big surprise held that even Parentville knows nothing about.

You can now win two tickets to the party – one for a child, and one for an adult. Simply drop your email in the field below.

Family Spring Break 2024 in Geneva

Family Spring Break 2024 in Geneva

Geneva’s schools will close for two weeks. If you’re staying in Geneva during that time, this article is for you. It is filled with fun events and propositions of places to visit. If you prefer Easter-themed fun, there’s plenty in this article.

PS: there’s also always a lot in Parentville’s events calendar.

Geneva Grand Theatre
Wednesday, April 10th, ages 6+

Join a magical tour at the Grand Théâtre de Genève on Wednesday, April 10, 2024, at 10:30 AM. This family-friendly visit, perfect for children over 6, showcases a stunning interior complete with a costume rack and hidden treasures of Place de Neuve. The 75-minute journey costs CHF 15, with a CHF 10 rate for under 12s. Dive into the heart of Geneva’s cultural beauty.

URBAN CHOCOLATE GAME

Urban Events Geneva has a game perfect for the Spring break. A treasure hunt filled with puzzles, mysteries, and chocolate! You can choose one adventure in Carouge, and one in the Old Town. Games are adapted for children aged 6 and older. You can check available dates and details here.

Parc Aventure, Onex

Discover Accrobranche: an adventurous journey through the treetops. With ropes, zip lines, and bridges set in a natural forest, it offers a thrilling yet secure way to explore nature from above. Perfect for anyone seeking a fun and unique outdoor experience. There is a separate space for children 3+ – when they can practice while being close to a parent. To find out more and book a ticket check here.

CHAPLIN CIRCUS SHOW
Vevey, March 29th – April 14th

Dive into the 1920s circus vibe at Chaplin’s World park, featuring skill-based games like can throwing and circus arts such as Chinese plates and juggling. Enjoy the Chaplin Circus Show 2023, and indulge in sweet and savory treats like waffles and popcorn at the « Food & Drink Circus » stand, offering delights for all ages. More information here.

TULIP FESTIVAL
Morges, March 29th – May 12th

If you’re looking for a nice family walk location, look no farther. The beautiful tulip festival is back! During school holidays some activities and workshop will take place as part of this festival: floral workshops, digital egg hunt, circus show, sophrology workshop, and more! You can combine the visit with a boat ride from Geneva, or a visit to the castle in Morges. It’s a gorgeous town – absolutely worth the trip. More info here.

Luna Park, Plainpalais
March 23rd – April 14th

If you’re looking for a thrill this is where you can go. Luna Park has installations for small and big childre, and also for adults! There is everything you would expect of a Luna Park! It is open daily from 14h. You can see more info here.

ARBORETUM
in Aubonne, Vaud

The Arboretum in Aubonne is an enchanting destination for families, offering a serene escape into nature with features that cater to children’s curiosity and energy. Nestled in a picturesque valley, this expansive botanical garden showcases a rich diversity of over 3,000 tree species from around the world. Educational panels along the paths provide fascinating insights into the plant world. Not to mention the special rallye for kids ages 8-14 (details here). Additionally, the open spaces and picnic areas offer perfect spots for family relaxation and play, making the Arboretum a delightful backdrop for a memorable day out with the kids​. More about Arboretum here.

Chateau de Vullierens

One of the best places to observe spring waking up the nature. The castle itself is not open to the public, but its vast, beautiful park is absoltelu worth the trip. The park is filled with fascinating sculptures, beautiful plants, and many cozy corners. For children, there is a special space created in a small forest – the Lizard King’s Kingdom. The opening times and details are available here.

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Easter Fun for kids in geneva 2024

Easter Fun for kids in geneva 2024

Spring break and Easter holidays are here! If you’re planning to be in Geneva around that time, rest assured there will be plenty of things to do and see in the region!

This list below is all about Easter activities.

The spring break propositions (without eggs or bunnies) are gathered in a separate article – here.
You can also, always count on the Parentville’s events calendar.

 

PROCOPE
Chcoclate Bunny workshop

A great activity for kids ages 8+ and the whole family! Create a chocolate bunny from scratch in the chocolate lab of Procope Chocolatier! You’ll also have a great presentation of all the machines in the lab that turn the cocoa bean into liquid chocolate. The activity costs 30 chf per person and lasts 30-40 minutes. Information and registration here. PS: they have other types of workshops too, and if needed they can create one for your needs!

JUST BLOOM
Easter party, March 28th

Easter party at Just Bloo cafe – fun for kids, tasty treats for parents on March 28th, from 16:30 to 18:30! Fun games, chocolate prizes, Easter-themed workshops for children, kiddy makeup, and paper confetti disco! There is also a big surprise waiting for all the guests.
The celebration will take place if minimum of 20 tickets are sold! Refunds will be available in case of cancellation.
Children’s Ticket: 70 CHF, second Child: 50 CHF, adult Ticket: 30 CHF. For details and booking contact Just Bloom.

GRAND THEATRE
EGG HUNT, April 2nd

How about taking advantage of the Easter holidays to discover the Grand Theatre as a family? The Grand Theatre offers children activities to share with their parents, grandparents, or cousins. Would you like to get to know every nook and cranny of the Atrium and the Foyers of the Grand Theatre while having fun? Then, this egg hunt is for you! Details here.

CHATEAU VOLTAIRE
Egg hunt & other fun events!

Chateau Voltaire, in Ferney-Voltaire, is famous for its great workshops and activities. During Easter 2024 their famous egg hunt in the park is back (on March 31st), atelier Fabergé egg for 7+ (April 24th), Golden egg mystery for 7+ (April 24th). The castle is lovely and the parc beautiful – with spectacular view on Mont Blanc and Geneva. You can find more information about it here.

PAKATRAP FESTIVAL
arch 29th – April 1st

The second edition of the PAKATRAP Easter Festival, organized by the Léman Experiences event agency, promises great festive moments! On the occasion of the Easter holidays, the Pakatrap festival offers you unusual egg hunts and many other activities. You can check the full program here.

Festichoc,
March 16-17, Versoix

The biggest chocolate festival in the country! What does it have to do with Easter? Well, chocolate bunnies of course and egg hunt of course! The festival is a great place for families, with carousels, chocolate sculptures and chocolate workshops. You can check the detailed program here.

Easter at Chateau de Vullierens
March 31st – April 1st, Vaud

Chateau de Vullierens will open exactly in time for Easter this year! Every year their Easter events are amazing for kids of all ages and their parents. Children will play searching for  Lindt’s Gold Rabbit and his lost eggs.  The older children will be asked to solve a puzzle by going from post to post gathering clues. A chocolate reward awaits at the end of the trail. All that fun will take place in the magical gardens of the castle.
But that’s not all… pony rides, a small farm, and a new activity provided by some crazy gardeners, while the foodtracks will provide yummy pizza, crepes, and ice creams! Find out more about it and book your tickets here.

SWISS VAPEUR PAQUES

Swiss Vapeur Parc is a magical place for children with miniatures of swiss trains ride along miniature parts of Switzerland, with a view on real Alps, and real Lac Leman. From March 29th till April 28th the parc will be entirely decorated for Easter, and all kids will be invited to take part in egg hunts!

You can find out more here.

Signal de Bougy
March 31st

Join Zack and Signal de Bougy’s mascots on Sunday, March 31, for a joyful Easter celebration filled with children’s activities like face-painting, a mascot parade, and a mini-disco. Capture the fun with an Easter-themed family photo session, where all proceeds support the Zoé4life charity. Don’t miss out on making beautiful memories at Signal de Bougy – book your slots for the makeup workshop and photoshoot online now.

PAKOMUZE
Canton Vaud, March 29th – April 14th

Pakomuze – Easter in museums and cultural institutions! From dinosaurs, through history activities, to science experiments and arts. Paqomuze has something for all ages and tastes. Activities take place in museums, castles, and many other places. Most activities are available only by registration (by email or telephone, only with the institutions that offer them). See the full program here.

Easter Santa
March 30th – April 1st; Andilly

Hameau du Pere Noel is mostly known as a Christmas destination, but isn’t it hilarious to go on an egg hunt with Santa and his pals? The warm-hearted Mrs. Claus and her stories, the Sandman with his sharp eye, Father Fouettard who hates chocolate, and Santa himself of course! Over 20,000 will be scatteres in the garden, chocolate guaranteed for everyone! A ticket office is available online but also on site, online purchase ensures priority access. You can check the detailed information and timetable of egg hunts here.

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Diving Into the World of Aquababies – new in geneva

Diving Into the World of Aquababies – new in geneva

A new wave in children’s swimming education is making a splash in Geneva (and Aubonne)! Let’s welcome Aquababies! Innovative children’s swim lessons for families seeking a blend of safety, fun, and tailored learning for their little ones.

Founded in 1990 by the visionary Julie-Ann James, Aquababies has grown from its single pool in London to a global pioneer in aquatic education for children!

Empowering Young Swimmers with Personalized Lessons

Aquababies has a unique approach to swim education, offering bespoke classes in a cozy, warm hydrotherapy pool in Chambesy. Perfectly suited for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, these classes prioritize small sizes and individual attention, ensuring every child feels comfortable, confident, and engaged.

How it all started

The foundation of Aquababies was born out of a desire to revolutionize infant aquatic education. Julie-Ann observed a stark contrast in the UK’s swimming classes, characterized by outdated techniques and a lack of meaningful engagement. Determined to offer more than just nursery rhymes and forced submersions, she embarked on a mission to provide a comprehensive, nurturing, and enjoyable learning experience.

A Journey Fueled by Passion and Expertise

Julie-Ann James’ story is at the heart of Aquababies’ success. Despite being told she could never have children of her own, she channeled her passion into creating a unique swimming program that catered to the individual learning styles of young swimmers. Her hands-on approach and continuous adaptation of teaching methods based on research quickly set Aquababies apart, leading to the establishment of the brand as a pioneer in the industry.

Swimming: A Gateway to Health and Happiness

Aquababies champions the belief that swimming is essential not just for physical health but also for mental well-being. By making swimming accessible to all, Aquababies in Geneva fosters a supportive environment where children can thrive, build social connections, and enjoy the lifelong benefits of being in the water.

Innovative Programs for Holistic Development

Aquababies stands out not only for its tailored approach to teaching but also for its commitment to innovation. The introduction of programs like PABA (Parent & Baby Aquafit) showcases Aquababies’ dedication to supporting parents – particularly those dealing with postnatal depression, by combining fitness with essential life skills for their children.

Choosing the pool

Selecting the right pools is crucial to the Aquababies ethos. Each pool must meet strict criteria for warmth, cleanliness, and atmosphere, ensuring a tranquil and focused environment conducive to learning and play. This meticulous attention to detail extends to the Aquababies curriculum, developed through rigorous research and tailored to the developmental milestones of different age groups.

Tailored Teaching for Tomorrow’s Swimmers

The Aquababies teaching methodology, with its emphasis on safety, skill development, and fun, ensures that every child receives a holistic swimming education. This commitment to quality and inclusivity makes Aquababies a preferred choice for parents in Geneva and beyond.

Global Standards, Local Impact

Today, Aquababies operates in Cyprus, Malta, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the UK, Switzerland, and Ghana. Maintaining high standards across all locations, Julie-Ann ensures that all Aquababies coaches are thoroughly trained and aligned with the program’s core values of empathy, compassion, and continuous learning.

Aquababies Geneva: Where Every Splash Counts

As Aquababies continues to navigate the waters of children’s aquatic education, its impact extends far beyond the pool. With each stroke and splash, Aquababies is not just teaching swimming; it’s nurturing the next generation of confident, joyful, and skilled swimmers.

PRACTICAL INFO

Aquababies Switzerland
Website: aquababiessuisse.ch

Address:
Chem. William Barbey 20,
1292 Pregny-Chambésy,

In Aubonne:
Chem. de Clamogne 4,
1170 Aubonne,
Switzerland

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Intersoccer – bilingual camps for everyone

Intersoccer – bilingual camps for everyone

Whether your child is into soccer or not, this article is for you. Because Intersoccer is not about professional football and raising the next Ronaldo (well, not primarily).

Soccer is more than just a sport – it’s a teacher of life skills. Intersoccer emphasizes the importance of teamwork, communication, and discipline. These invaluable lessons extend beyond the field. They prepare young participants for the challenges they may encounter in various aspects of life.

From the physical side, Intersoccer’s camps help kids develop agility, coordination, and cardiovascular health.

QUICK SUMMARY:

Intersoccer camps for 3-13 yo;
all abilities;
April 2-5 & April 8-12
Geneva: Vessy, Varembé, Versoix
Vaud: Nyon, Etoy, Pully
Lunches included

Discount code: OLGA15
Intersoccer website here.

Testimonial:

« My daughter joined today and loved it.
She can’t wait to attend tomorrow and she never played soccer before…. »

EASTER CAMPS

As the vibrant hues of spring approach, so does the excitement of Intersoccer’s Easter Football Camps. Tailored for Boys & Girls aged 3-13 of all abilities, these camps promise an exhilarating experience that combines skill-building with a whole lot of fun.

From engaging training drills and fun ball games to small-sided matches and tournaments, Intersoccer’s Easter Football Camps promise a dynamic and enjoyable learning experience. The carefully curated activities aim to enhance both skills and passion for the game.

Intersoccer understands that every child is unique. That’s why their Easter Football Camps cater to diverse age groups. Mini Half Day Camps specially designed for 3-5-year-olds and Full Day Camps for 5-13-year-olds. This ensures a tailored and inclusive experience for every budding footballer.

Designed for children of all abilities, Easter Football Camps foster an environment of diversity and camaraderie. Every child, regardless of their skill level, is welcomed to be a part of this enriching experience, promoting teamwork and mutual support.

FLEXIBILITY

Intersoccer recognizes the busy schedules of parents, offering flexible booking options ranging from 1 to 5 days. This flexibility allows parents to choose a schedule that perfectly suits their needs, providing convenience without compromising on the quality of the experience.

Understanding the needs of working parents, Intersoccer provides convenient timings with early drop-off from 8:40 and late pick-up until 18:00.

BILINGUAL COACHES

A dedicated team of experienced coaches is at the heart of these camps. They are proficient in creating a supportive and engaging environment. The bilingual aspect ensures that both French and English-speaking participants feel at home, fostering effective communication and a sense of inclusivity.

LOCATIONS

Families from different areas can conveniently participate, making it a community-wide celebration of soccer. Intersoccer brings the Easter Football Camps to multiple locations in the canton of Geneva: Stade de Varembé, CS Vessy, and CS Versoix. They also have camps in the canton of Vaud: Nyon, Etoy, and in Pully.

LUNCHES

For Full Day Camp participants, Intersoccer goes the extra mile by including hot lunches and ensures that the children stay energized throughout their football-filled day.

THE MEDAL

To add a special touch to camp memories, every participant receives a football medal. Many participants proudly display it in their rooms, and some love the camps so much, that now they have a collection!

SPECIAL OFFER

To make this experience even more irresistible, Intersoccer extends an exclusive 15% discount on Geneva and Versoix Camps.

Use the code « OLGA15 » at checkout, and embrace the spirit of soccer at a discounted rate. Hurry, as this offer is valid until February 29.

As we eagerly anticipate the arrival of spring, let Intersoccer be the gateway to a season filled with soccer, laughter, and cherished memories. Join the Easter Football Camps and let the love for the game blossom in the hearts of of the new generation!

Christmas in Geneva – Family Fun, 2023

Christmas in Geneva – Family Fun, 2023

December, here we come! Here’s a list of fun Christmas-y things to do with your family in the region. It will be impossible to do everything, so plan wisely. Many of these events and places are open yearly, so don’t worry if you miss out this time. You can always do it next year.

New Christmas events will be added regurarly to the events calendar under the « christmas » category.

NOEL AU QUAI
November 16 – December 24

Experience the enchantment of Christmas at the Quai, Geneva’s most splendid Christmas Market. From its origins at Parc des Bastions to its magical presence at Jardin Anglais, this year, it will cast its radiant glow upon the Quai du Mont-Blanc.

Indulge in selecting your Christmas treasures from a diverse array of local artisans, savor a delightful lunch from the open food stalls, and treat your children to a myriad of entertainment options available on-site (carrousels, activities and workshops in the yurt, or  horse-drawn carriages).

More info: here.

NOEL AAU JARDINS DES NATIONS
November 8, 25; December 2,9

Exceptionally, the Jardin des Nations will be opening its doors on 4 Saturday afternoons and will be offering access to the “Voyage à 360°” show, as well as activities for families and a mulled wine and sweet stall from the Potager! Each time a different fun workshop will accompany the projection of the film.

More info: here.

ICE KINGDOM AT SCHILLIGER
From November

Schilliger Garden Center is an absolute champion when it comes to Christmas decorations. Each year, they chose one Christmas-y theme and transform their shops into a Christmas paradise – this year it’s the Kingdom of Ice! It’s beautiful, magical, and accompanied by events/workshops for small and big (you’ll find them all in Parentville’s calendar). There are also Christmas bauble from Poland (in Gland only). Talented people who can personalize your baulb with anything you’d like – it can make for a great gift, and a great souvenir.

Great news: the shop in Gland is open also on Sundays till Christmas!

CIRQUE DE NOEL
November 25 – January 7, Plainpalais

Acrobatics, clowns, magic tricks all in Christmas atmosphere. Attention: the show includes animals performing tricks. You can check more information on their website.

CHRISTMAS MARKET BY KIDS FOR KIDS
December 6, Bastions

The traditional Christmas market held by the pupils of the primary schools of the City of Geneva returns to the Bastions. Under the heated Escalade tent, by selling games and toys they learn the value of things, but most importantly to give a new life to old toys. Happiness is not about having the latest gadgets. More info here.

HAMEAU DU PERE NOEL & GRAND PARC DE NOEL

Hameau du Pere Noel is an incredible place. It’s a village in nearby France (a really short drive) in which Santa lives with all his family. The decorations are mindblowing and the whole setup feels as real as it can be. You can read all about it here. But that is not all! The neighboring Grand Parc d’Andilly was transformed into the Grand Parc de Noel! You can get one ticket to visit both places on the same day (a shuttle bus will take you from to the other) or decide to visit just one. Both places have shops by the exit, with all you may need for a magical Christmas.

For Hameau du Pere Noel click here.
For the Grand Parc de Noel it’s here.

MONTREUX NOEL
November 23 – December 24

It is the most famous Christmas market in the region! It’s big, beautiful, by the lake – and not only! Lots of stalls with food and possible Christmas gifts. But the special feautures are what makes it amazing.

The first one is « La Maison du Pere Noel » – one train ride up the mountain to the Rochers-de-Naye (at 2042 m) and you’re in Santa’s house. An opportunity to meet Santa, talk to him, and even get a small surprise, and woohoo – a certificate of meeting Santa! More info here. Downside: it can be crowded, and the visit is rather short.

Kids will also love watching Santa fly over lake Geneva every day (can only be seen from the Montreux shore) – chek it out.

Chateau Chillon has several dates of fun family activities « Noel au Chateau » – check it out and book your tickets!

CLAUS – A MUSICAL ADVENTURE
November 25 – December 17; Simply Theater, Versoix

Filled with delightful characters and catchy tunes, Claus guarantees a heartwarming adventure for families!

Join Claus, a young woodsman destined to spread Christmas cheer, on an enchanting journey. He aims to create a special holiday for Tinseltown’s children, overcoming challenges from the Wicked Witch Belsnickel with help from Seren, a trainee Christmas fairy, and unexpected friends.

Suitable for all ages, recommended for 4+. Approximate duration: 1 hour 45 mins including an intermission. Experience the magic! More details here.

ESCALADE

Not at all Christmas related but the most important celebration in Geneva happens in December. It is accompanied by wonderful fun! You can find out all what it’s about in my article here. There is a traditional parade, an opportunity to visit secret places in the Old Town (closed all other days of the year), and much more! The rest of the program is available here.

ICE SKATING

The most christmasy urban sport there is! And there are plenty of rinks in the canton. Almost every neighborhood and every municipality provides a rink. For good ice quality check Vernets and Vergers (Meyrin). For charm go to Bastions or Carouge. For fun try any rink closest to you. All ice skating places provide skates for rent. Gloves are always obligatory. All places have an accompanying buvette with hot drinks and simple snacks. Some of them (like Vergers, Carouge, Grand-Saconnex) have accompanying restaurants with good menu and fondue!

RELATED ARTICLES

Letters to Santa the Swiss way

Letters to Santa the Swiss way

Who wouldn’t want to receive an answer to their letters to Santa? Every year thousands of children on both hemispheres write letters of wishes to Santa in hope, not only to get the gifts but also to hear back from the old man. Then, the parents already busy by all-month Christmas preparations try to answer these letters in at least slightly creative way.

But not in Switzerland.
Abroad versus Switzerland

Parents in Switzerland do not have to burn the margins of the page or try to learn how to write with a feather. They don’t need to attach the ready answer to their kids’ letters like in the US (seriously, what is the point?), or pay someone to reply. Parents in Switzerland enjoy their fondue while the letter is being answered by Swiss Post.

The most amazeballs Post Service on the planet issued 19,448 replies in 2017. It’s pretty impressive, especially for a small country of milk and chocolate.

Swiss Post Santa Op

It’s not a new invention, or a scam powered by some high-tech Replies-From-Santa Generator. The Swiss Post has been on this secret mission for over 60 years now and has been very serious about keeping it mysterious.

All we know is that all the letters addressed to Santa in any way are directed to the Christmas branch in Cadenazzo (yes, the Swiss Post has a Christmas!).

How it works?

Let your kid write the letter, or write it together. Remember to include your postal address, so that Santa knows where to send his reply. Then, put it in the envelope and address it to Santa. You can make up an address, not include one, your choice.

You can write a letter in English, French, German, or Italian.

As the Swiss Info reports, children do not only wish for objects, « they also long for a more peaceful and fair world, and a home environment where siblings or parents don’t argue or fight ».

PS: remember to stamp the letter like you would any other!

Deadline: December 30. If you want to make sure the response from Santa arrives before Christmas, send it already in November or eaurly December the latest.

Answers

Every letter sent to Santa: without any address, or with an imaginary address is answered unless the sender didn’t include his/her address. Though even then those super cool postal angels will try and track down the kid. Unfortunately, it is not always possible, and this is why ‘only’ 96% of 20,188 received a response in 2017.

Now that the whole letters to Santa operation is so easy-peasy and, at least when done for the first time, way more exciting than any Elf on the shelf, help your child write a letter!

GENEVA DAYCARES IN DANGER

GENEVA DAYCARES IN DANGER

« Geneva Daycares in Danger » is based on a conversation with Kristina Babina (founder of the TotUp Creche chain) and an email exchange with Mme ​​Sophie Demaurex (member of Geneva’s Grand Conseil, from the Partie Socialiste).

We all know how hard it is to get a place in a public creche (eng. daycare). Many of us know that currently, even private daycares have waiting lists. Yes, this is how bad the situation is. The crisis of childcare solutions in Geneva has been an ongoing problem for years. 

The country needs people to work. The country needs new people to be born. Until humans can be grown in labs and raised by robots, it’s parents’ job. How can people work and have kids if there is no available childcare?

Public and private daycares or official nannies called mamans du jours are all in high demand. Some families resort to hiring a nanny, not always knowing the rules (e.g. sharing one nanny by two or more families is not allowed). Other families decide that one parent will quit their job to stay home with kids (surprise, surprise, it’s most often the mom!).

THE DANGER

Private daycares are now obliged to implement the CCT agreement. CCT is a set of 20 rules. One private daycare manager from TotUp tells me the problem is with 3 of those rules:  

  • Obligatory 7 weeks of vacations for employees.
  • CCT requires a 70/30 split of social charges between the employer and the employee. Currently, this daycare does 50/50, as 90% of companies in Switzerland do. Just respecting that would put TotUP into bankruptcy.
  • In public daycares, salaries are based on years of experience, while in TotUP, we believe (as all other private businesses) that salary should be based on capabilities, motivation and performance. 

CCT

CCT is a collective labour agreement already implemented in many institutions. Now, the canton wants private daycares to oblige by it as well. We all want people who care for our kids to have excellent working conditions (psst: it even makes me dream of becoming an educator in a public creche).

So, what is wrong with this law? 

Its consequences. As explained to me by Kristina Babina, the founder of TotUp Creche, it will force her to close her daycares in Geneva. Such a pity! Especially, that TotUp was planning to open more structures in the canton of Geneva.

Background

Municipalities subsidise public daycares. What parents pay covers only around 20% of the costs. Private daycares are not subsidized and parents must cover the whole cost. Raising the salaries to the level of public institutions will increase immensely the prices of private daycares. 

If you know anything about running a business in Geneva, you know that the services are expensive because the costs are high. Many companies only make enough money to make ends meet. I have no idea if this is the case for TotUp, but when I calculated the prices in public, considering the lack of subsidies, the price of one place in TotUp may seem high, but in fact, it looks fair.

Salaries

Kristina Babina assured me that her employees gain at least the minimum wage (“98% of our employees are quite above minimum wage and only 2% are at minimum wage”), and when she cannot offer them money, she does her best to add other benefits. For example, guaranteed daycare space for employee’s child with a 30-40% discount, meals and snacks during work are free, and other perks. 

Because TotUp has several daycares and plans to open more, the career development options are vast; educators receive various workshops that benefit both them and the children. Geneva, nor any other municipality in the canton, do not contribute. So, how can the rules for a private company be the same as for the public?

Side note

In other cantons (VD and FR), TotUp found municipalities that are happy to collaboare. In those daycares, some places are attributed to the parents from the public daycare waitlist. Parents pay the same as they would in the public creche. The municipality pays the difference between the public price and TotUp’s price.

Not to mention that the the requirements for opening a private daycare are easier to meet in many other cantons.

This way, the municipality doesn’t have to create, build, manage, or maintain a new creche (or at least plan to make less). Collaborating with a private company that created the creche, supports it, and repairs it is cheaper than doing it alone from scratch.

Vacations

There are only as many employees as TotUp needs, like in any private company. This private daycare offers childcare throughout the year, without a break in summer. Shouldn’t that be the case everywhere, by the way? The closing of daycares in summer is a nightmare for many families. Do you know anyone other than school teachers and creche educators who has so many weeks of holidays per year (7 to be exact)? There’s a big chance you only have 4-5 weeks of holidays per year. You want to use it around Christmas, to go skiing in winter, or to use some days to get stuff done. But if you have small kids, you must take it all when the creche is closed. Isn’t it crazy?

If TotUp were to give the same number of holidays to its employees, it would mean that daycare would be closed over the summer, and its employees would no longer be able to plan their days off throughout the year as they need/want.

Confused yet?

When I learnt all that, I was genuinely confused why a political party that has people’s well-being at heart and plans to make life easier (or less strugglesome) in many areas decided to do something that will:

  1. close many private daycares,
  2. push kids from closed private daycares to public daycares,
  3. make the waiting time for public daycare even longer,
  4. push even more parents to quit their jobs.
  5. Make private daycares employees lose their jobs.

Can we all agree that if authorities created enough daycares, with places for everyone, there would be no need for private creches at all?

Many parents who decide to go private do so only because there is no chance they will quickly get a place in the public institution.

The source

I didn’t waste time being confused. I reached out to the Geneva branch of the Socialist Party, asking them to explain why they want to push these changes.

This is the answer I received (translated by Chat GPT) from Sophie Demaurex, Députée au Grand Conseil genevois:

“Solicited by the PS (Socialist Party) to respond, I will proceed. Indeed, I actively supported the referendum in order to avoid cutting the wages of early childhood personnel. After years of advocacy, they could secure Collective Labor Agreements (CCT) or the application of customary practices in non-signatory daycare centres. Given the severe shortage of educators, this alignment is particularly aimed at preventing professional « job-hopping » to the new public or subsidised nonprofit daycare centres as soon as they open. Furthermore, in the social and educational field, there is no reason to burden professionals already struggling with poorly recognised working conditions. The minimum wage was established to support workers, not to diminish the achievements of early childhood personnel. Pedagogical expectations, the care of children with special needs, inclusion, socialisation, nutrition, and more are areas where training, wages, and recognition are crucial.

Municipalities should fund and support early childhood institutions. Some private daycare centres refuse subsidies because they would be required to adhere to certain standards, including prioritising residents and income-based pricing. Schools are not divided into two tiers, so why should daycare centres be?

In conclusion, funding early childhood services to make them accessible to families, YES, but not at the expense of the 95% female professionals.”

Let me know what you think. I don’t know what to think anymore.

Current state of affairs

TotUp is suing the state for meddling with the freedom of commerce. Some political parties, like the Partie Liberal, will work to go back to the previous legal solutions. 

In the meantime, if you understand what is happening and why on the legal front, please – do not hesitate to help me fill in the blanks and assemble this puzzle.

I am keeping my fingers crossed tightly for all the families and all the employees!