The unique bilingual program at Institut International de Lancy (IIL)

The unique bilingual program at Institut International de Lancy (IIL)

Institut International de Lancy (aka IIL) is a school with a long-standing history starting in 1903. The school offers a French section (with a French curriculum), and an English section (with a British curriculum). They have recently expanded their bilingual section and it sounds fascinating!

To know more about this program, and about the school in general, I talked to two moms whose children attend the ILL bilingual section.

THE SCHOOL

IIL is an international school with a plurilingual approach meaning they teach English and French as core languages in the classroom but every child’s home language is welcomed and encouraged. From early years education (3- 6 year old) through primary school (6 – 11 year old).

IIL offers 3 sections (English, French, and bilingual). I will focus on the bilingual section, which was launched 3 years ago.

When Christina decided to place her children at IIL, it was based on several factors. After looking into the other private schools in Geneva, she concluded that IIL was the right choice for her family: the fees are competitive; she liked their academic rigor and the idea of uniforms. The high-level education is high on her priority list, and ILL meets her expectations. But most importantly, she was hooked when she discovered the high-quality bilingual program!

IIL BILINGUAL PROGRAM

Given their approach to learning languages at IIL, the school decided to create their version of a bilingual program where children can learn both languages, at the same level, at the same time.

How?

In the bilingual section, children follow both the French and the British curricula. Their activities are in English and in French. Native English speakers will work more on their French and vice versa. These kids may do some work slightly harder than those from other sections, as this is an ambitious program. But according to the parents I talked to, it really works, and kids love going to school!

Because English and French curricula are different and focus on different skills for different ages, children in the bilingual section work first on writing in French and start reading in English.

Another mom, Kate, told me that her daughter started the school at 3 ½ speaking only French. Two years later she is fluent in English. At aged 5 ½, she starts her adventure with English literacy skills as well, and it is all going well.
99% of children in her daughter’s class started with one language, and two years later they can communicate in both languages. It does sound fantastic!

According to Kate, kids learn about the same topic in both French and English (but on different days), so that they can have a bilingual vocabulary in every subject.

Another interesting aspect is that many families with a non-English or non-French parent are enrolling their children in bilingual to get the best of both. The classes are filled with children and cultures from all over the world.

MORE THAN ACADEMICS

Kate also loves the schools focus on collaboration between the children and the way they learn how to resolve conflicts and compromise. I agree these are the soft skills that are as essential in adulthood, as hard skills. IIL is also the only school in Switzerland and France to implement the Finnish anti-bullying program – KiVa.

IIL is a well-rounded school with a community feel. Although the focus is on academics, the amount of homework grows with the children (but differently in each section). But this is not all. The Institute is also proud of its sports program, offers a rich artistic program, is very IT-oriented, and organizes enjoyable outings and events for children of all ages.

MAKING THE BILIGUAL SECTION WORK

Following two curricula at once may seem like a lot for children, but IIL magically makes it work. I won’t lie to you, they work a lot, but they also play a lot, and everything is wrapped in a friendly and warm atmosphere. Of course the children learn academics but they are also encouraged to learn through games, collaboration and creativity.

Of course, IIL is not the only school with a bilingual program. But all these programs use different methods. Every school is different. With this article, I wanted to give you a glimpse into the International Institute of Lancy, do not hesitate to reach out to them in case of questions. Their friendly staff will be happy to answer your question or arrange a visit to the campus. Personally, I am very much intrigued and fascinated by their bilingual section!

Would you like to learn more about IIL’s programmes for children ages 3 to 12? In that case, I recommend you join their virtual tours early December. More info and sign up here.

UPCOMING EVENTS

9 and 12 December Virtual tours of START and Primary, the English French and bilingual sections for children age 3 – 12. More info and sign up here.

PRACTICAL INFO

International Institute de Lancy (IIL)
Avenue Eugène Lance 24,
1212 Lancy

Website: www.iil.ch

Kosmos magazine – for girls and the rest of the world

Kosmos magazine – for girls and the rest of the world

There’s a new magazine for girls (and the rest of the world)  in Switzerland – “Kosmos”. I can’t wait to tell you all about it! It’s fun, it’s wise, it’s silly, it’s interesting, and more! It opens the door to new interests, passions, and self-confidence. (And no, I was not paid to write about it).

“Kosmos” is new in Switzerland but I’ve known it for several years. It was founded in 2017 in Poland and I’m Polish – voila! We had a subscription for a while but Z was too little to appreciate the contents. We are thrilled to present it to her again, in French and adapted to kids living in Switzerland. After reading the first “test” issue, we are sure she will be excited to discover the future editions!

Four brave women are behind bringing “Kosmos” to Switzerland: Marta Kosinska, Laura Simon, Martina Polek and Cyrielle Cordt-Moller. They are working around the clock to bring this inspiring magazine to Swiss preteens. “Kosmos” is ads-free, non-profit, relying on sales and support from foundations and NGOs. This ambitious project, with the future of little girls at heart,  deserves our full attention.

What is Kosmos?

It’s an empowering magazine for girls aged 7-13. The goal is to help them get and keep self-confidence, find new interests, embrace their passions. It presents captivating texts on psychology, environment, science and society – presented in an engaging and humorous way There are also jokes, games, propositions of science activities and arts projects, as well as books reviews.

The first issue, for example, is all about the voice (but also about what is needed for a reindeer to become a pet). There’s a short history of feminism, the biology of voice, a piece about ways to use the voice and more! And a bricolage project that also has to do with voice! 72 pages of passion, knowledge, silly jokes, and wise messages. Z. had a ton of laugh discovering yodelling and trying it out herself – it’s the Swiss touch that we are grateful for as an expat family.

HOW & WHERE

New issues will come out every 2 months. 72 pages of it to be exact. It will be available in a form of an annual subscription, in kiosks, libraries, museums, bookstores, and schools. Every issue will be printed locally in Switzerland in an ecological way – limiting the carbon footprint as much as possible. Each issue will also have an accompanying section on Kosmos website, with some more inspiring materials (ex. videos, music). You can see the bonus for the first issue here.

 

WHY KOSMOS?

A pilot study of the research project “Mädchen in der Schweiz” shows that girls lose confidence in themselves as they grow older. While the majority of 9 yo girls surveyed described themselves as brave and strong, only half of those between 12 and 16 kept this strong feeling about themselves. Girls are capable and curious, but they are less daring to express it as they grow up, especially if it does not correspond to stereotypical expectations related to their gender. On average, girls do well in school, but they often do not realize their potential in their professional life.

Kosmos aims to support preteens in exploring and developing their skills & knowledge of different areas of life. It will show them the world with an angle free from gender stereotypes. With this magazine they will get to know positive role models, but also have a platform to present their ideas and passions. I really believe “Kosmos” can be one of the tools that helps preteen girls strenghten their self-esteem, so that they can grow without feeling small and keep following their dreams.

LAST CALL

The crowdfunding campaign launched to gather the funds for “Kosmos” was met with a lot of excitement and is going amazingly well! It’s still on, so check it out and grab the deals. There’s a one year subscription, an option for a personalized first issue, workshops, and more. All prepared by a team of professional, passionate amazing ladies! And what a great Christmas gift!

 

Everything closed and it’s cold. What now? November 2020 in Geneva

Everything closed and it’s cold. What now? November 2020 in Geneva

Here we are again with Covid messing with our lives on all possible levels. Geneva has announced the closure of almost everything. No more museums, libraries, ice-rinks, no indoor family-friendly attractions. At least school remain open, but what to do on weekends, Wednesdays, and after school?

Parentville to the rescue!

Below you’ll find ideas for walks, indoor places (yes!), and toys/activities.

Let’s go!

INDOOR PLACES

Yes, indoors! I won’t unravel any fascinating places to visit here as all that I would love to share this winter are closing their doors as I type. But there are still two places that offer an outing-feel.

1. Schilliger Garden Center in Gland and Plan-les-Ouates. Gardening shops can stay open, winter holidays are coming, and Schilliger is the master of creating Christmas decorations. So, if you’re missing Christmas markets, head over to Schilliger (the one in Gland offers way more, but PLO is fun too). Every year they turn their shops around into the most beautiful Christmas worlds. They also organized workshops and activities for the kids – check their website.

2. Geneva closed down all of the libraries but let the bookshops stay open (go figure… can’t help to think about all the unpriviliged families that will deprived from the joy of reading, and all those kids who like mine love the local library and rent books in bulks). It means that Fnac and Payot shops will be welcoming clients. Children’s sections are great and many kdis can easily spend 1h sorting the pages of several books to choose the one they would like. It’s not a super fun something, but when we have nothing, let’s cherish what we have.

3. Still a library, but so kids-friendly it deserves a separate mention: Au Chien Bleu near Plainpalais. It’s a colorful place filled with beautiful picture books, great adventures, and staff with perfect advise for everyone.

OUTDOORS

I know, I know, it’s getting cold and wet. But there will also be many days with a sunny sky and dry ground under our feet. The fresh air, and nature around is a great remedy for the autumn/winter blues.

What to do when out in nature?

  1. Gather leaves, sticks, cones, rocks and create mandalas.
  2. Build a petend fire pit.
  3. Using sticks and strings build a raft and play in one of the many streams.
  4. Use the colors and textures around to design clothes (like here).
  5. Gather branches and stick fallen down to build huts.
  6. Enjoy geocaching – the best outdoors adventure for the whole family and for free.

 

Where to go? Here are some ideas:

The list is long so I created a separate article with the destinations in the canton and around. You can access it here.

TOYS & ACTIVITIES

Semi lockdown in spring and semi-quasi-lockdown in winter is not the same for one reason: the weather. What to have at home to have kids occupied? I have some ideas.

BOARD GAMES

Board games and book are perfect for every gloomy season no matter what virus waits around the corner. We have recently received some games and a book from Helvetiq and can only recommend! Tip: pay attention to the age range as the games really do get more complex with indicated age. When shopping at Helvetiq check their online bookstore as well! Their offer is stunning.

READ & WRITE ADVENTURE

How about letting your child be a queen/king of a kingdom or a zoo director? This and more is possible with Epopia. After choosing an adventure, and answering several questions about your kids (fav colour for example), they will start sending out quests via traditional mail. It’s a great activity for kids who can read (or start reading) in French, and fun writing exercise. All their “orders” must be written down. They will also receive some gadgets and accompanying activities. We tried it and Z loved it very much.

ESCAPE GAME @HOME

Escape games are now available not only in special venues, not only online, but you can also easily turn your place into an escape game room! We have already tried several games from the Escape Kit, and can only recommend it. There’s some printing to do, then cutting and glueing but all rather easy to prepare. A very fun way for a weekend afternoon at home!

SCREEN TIME

As Z is already 8, I have no idea what fun apps are out there for smaller kids. I can only tell you what works here and it’s mostly for computers.

1. Minecraft – the creative mode is great even for kids ages 5+. The creative mode gets rid of the monsters, there are no other players to interrupt or attack and it gives the kid unlimited access to the building materials. It’s like Lego with unlimited blocks and even more options. It’s fantastic! There are animals, villages, mountains… Kids can create whatever they want and if they catch the Minecraft bug they may even want to get into some programming and more advanced Minecraft features.

2. For the horse lovers world over, the best game ever is Star Stable. It’s all about the horses, quests, amazing adventures, races, discovering new lands and more. The game has a chat to connect with other players (an internet safety conversation recommended). The game is available in many languages, and there’s quite a lot of reading involved. So, if your child is not a great reader yet, they may need your help quite often.

MEL SCIENCE

During the spring lockdown we both got into some basic science experiments. You can find many of them in my spring posts on Instagram and my IGTV videos. Now, I have my eyes set on MEL Chemistry. It’s one of those companies you subscribe to and every month they send new things. They have a engineering/physiscs activities for ages 5-10, and super duper cool chemistry experiments for older curious creatures.

LUNII

When parents need a little time to themselves while kids would love to listen to a story, the Lunii “Ma Fabrique à Histoires” comes in handy. It’s a little radio-like box with uploaded story. But! It’s not the same story every time as before listening to the child chooses three main elements of the story. Changing even one of them will change how the story goes! Available in French, English, and possibly other languages too.

LEGO

The all-time classic, the toy that can occupy kids for hours is of course LEGO. For a year it was all my daughter would do all day every day. If you’re worried about the mess, Ikea has just launched a new collection designed to keep the bricks tidy – BYGGLEK. (Available at Click&Collect Ikea service).

 

9 walks in Geneva’s nature

9 walks in Geneva’s nature

Warm clothes, boots, umbrellas – prepare the gear and enjoy the outdoors! Because in Geneva there are so many beautiful places. I even found three that are suitable for prams! Unfortunately, many fascinating places close to Geneva are in France, where we can’t go at the moment, but still, I assure you there are enough of adventures to do in Geneva to fill your Wednesdays and weekends!

Here. We. Go!

Reserve Naturelle Moulin De Vert

This place has it all! A steep way down from Cartigny, beautiful woods, meadows, ponds, and Rhone. There are also ruins of an old mill, and if you’re up for it you can make it a loong walk up to the Barrage de Verbois. It means you can start either in Cartigny (there’s a small parking, and signs to follow to get to Moulin de Vert) or from Verbois. You can see some of my photos from this place here.

Teppes de Verbois

On the other bank of the Rhone from the Moulin de Vert, there’s Teppes de Verbois – a fascinating place with several birds observation points (take binoculars!). You can start in La Plaine – the path will lead you to the railway bridge over Allondon, where you can also play at the pebble beach. The bridge itself is great. The bricks and graffitttis around make it a super nice place for photoshoots. From there, you’re almost near the first observation point. The last pond may be too far for some kids but it has nice platforms over the water. You can see our trip to this place here.

La Drize

This canton has so many rivers, there should be an official challenge to visit them all! One of the not well-known streams is the Drize. It starts at the footsteps of Saleve, enters Switzerland in Troinex and goes to Carouge where it joins Arve. You can start your adventure for example at the College de Staël, or in Troinex of course. A great place to observe the stream, and play in the forest!

Bois de Grille – bord du Rhone

On of our favorite places is in Vernier, down from Vernier Village. You can take the bus to the stop “de Sauvage” and go down following the Nant de la Noire or take your car down to the Zone Au Moulin. From there you have three possibilities. The first is to go left to the Ferme du Lignon (on the way you’ll see animals, and local veg awaits at the farm) and visit the fascinating, hanging Passarelle du Lignon over Rhone. The path is uphill-downhill all the way but it’s a short distance. The second option is to turn  right from the parking all the way to the beautiful Passarelle de Chevre through mostly flat path, very close to the river, and horses paddocks at the beginning. You can also connect option 1 and 2 and make it a long walk (around 2-3  hours): you just cross one of the passarelles to the other side of the River and cross back through the other passarelle. To make the walk even more amusing you can try to find several geocache spots on the way.

Les Douves, Versoix

A very lovely and very pram friendly trail! The first part leads through wooden platforms over fairy-tale-like ponds. The rest is in the forest. You can take asphalt paths or have fun between the trees. It’s a great place whith lots of possible trails, where you can have a short walk, long walk, exercise on the equipment placed here and there. We visited this place in summer – you can see it here.

Versoix – river

Another river in the canton – la Veroix in, wait for it, yes! Versoix! We found this hike thanks to a brochure by La Poste (you can find it here). It’s a beautiful forest with a beautiful river bank. there’s lots of place to play. If you’re up for a longer walk you can start up the stream and finish in the town of Versoix or the other way around. Our first visit to this forest was back in 2018, captured here.

La Roulave

Guess what? Another river – and this one is so unknown even my very-hiking-Geneva-born-nature-passionate friends haven’t heard about it. It is the most beautiful trail I’ve seen around so far – look at this part of the forest (and swipe right to see more pics from this trail)! The path leads to the remains of an old asphalte mine (they look like small caves). If you grab a bit of the ground from the caves and smell it, you’ll get a scent of petrol! There is a lovely place with a bridge and a platform. It’s a great, not very frequented forest, that I recommend wholeheartedly. Park your car near this bridge, cross it, enter the forest and you’ll be on the right path.

Vineyards

The vineyards in Mandement (Satigny-Dardagny-Russin area) are beautiful no matter the season of the year. In summer it may be too hot for a long walk (not much shade) but all other parts of the year are perfect, and each will make this place look completely different. Feel free to walk along numerous paths. One time we even took our scooters for a ride. You can see it here.

Allondon

The beautiful river of Allondon is a very refreshing and fun place for a family day in summer, but also a fun and adventurous place in autumn and winter. You can get there with TPG (“Malval Centre Nature”) or by car (park here or here). There are some shallow places perfect to explore the river in high boots (like Peppa Pig). The path along the river has some small footbridges that kids enjoy and many small beaches. At times it’s a fast flowing mountain-like strong stream, and in other places it flows smoothly and quietly. The river is a home to various fish and its banks to various animals. If you look close enough, you may find their traces. I posted

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Perfect recipes for Halloween by Oksana (Nutrition Right)

Perfect recipes for Halloween by Oksana (Nutrition Right)

Halloween is all about candy, but is it? It’s also about ghosts, zombies, dress up, and… pumpkins! We all now the sugar rash that accompanies the Halloween eveing, and I am not about to tell you to ban candy. I will myself get some candy from my daughter’s bucket and eat it in hiding 😉

But! Okasana from Nutrition Right proposes to use Halloween to make pumpkin more present on kids’ plates, and to include them in meals preps! Are you in? I now leave you in caring hands of Oksana.

We all want our kids to eat our vegetables & we, parents try so hard to incorporate the healthy veggies into daily diets of our little darlings. There are however moments, where instead of happily eating the wholesome meal we lovingly prepared, the kids start investigating very closely the plate using their fork as a magnifying glass to identify what exactly is on the plate “What is the green stuff?”  & inevitably the “green stuff” gets pushed away to the side of the plate.

A great solution to getting the kids to eat more veggies is to involve them in cooking their favourite foods. They love getting messy, using super noisy kitchen gadgets & generally having fun. Like this, a vegetable, whose look had little appeal to them, magically in their own hands transforms into something really yummy.

Pumpkins are associated with autumn & particularly with Halloween. This vegetable is the star of the two healthy recipes: Pumpkin Gnocchi and Gluten Free Dairy Free Pumpkin Cookies.

What’s more, these recipes are also budget friendly! Once the pumpkin flesh is scooped out of the pumpkin, use the knife to cut out the eyes, nose & teeth to make a scary Halloween face, put candle inside the hollow pumpkin & you are all set to celebrate the Halloween.

Pumpkin Gnocchi

Once gnocchi are ready but not cooked, freeze them and keep for later or cook and eat straight away.

Serves 4
Ingredients:

  • 1 medium size pumpkin to make 1 cup cooked pumpkin
  • 1 cup wholewheat flour
  • Pinch of salt /pinch of pepper
  • ½ tsp ground nuttmeg

Instructions for a child

  1. Mash the pumpkin pieces with potato masher in a bowl until they turn into puree.
  2. In a bowl, mix together flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg & pumpkin.
  3. Put the mix onto a chopping board & knead 10-12 times until the dough is soft. Let rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Roll each portion of the dough into 2 fingers thick rope.
  5. Using a fork, press the fork alongside the dough rope.
  6. If gnocchi is misshapen use your hand to make them a bit elongated

Instructions for a parent

  1. Scoop out the flesh from 1 medium size pumpkin. Steam it for abt 30 mins until cooked. Either use Thermomix of steaming or boil water in a large pan, add the pumpkin pieces into colander, put the colander on to of the boiling water, cover & cook over boiling water. This can be done 1 day in advance. Once cooked, let the pumpkin pieces to cool.
  2. Cut each rope into pieces.
  3. Boil water in a large pan. Cook gnocchi in batches for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes or until they float.
  4. Serve hot with butter & grated parmesan.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Pumpkin Cookies

Rice flour is used in this recipe instead of the white flour, to give it a very soft and chewy texture.

Total time 35mins.
Ingredients:

  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1cup rice flour
  • ¾ cup corn starch
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 medium size pumpkin to make 1 cup cooked pumpkin
  • ¾ cup demerara sugar
  • 1 handful of vegan chocolate pieces, broken into smaller pieces
  • Cookie cutters or rings for starters/desserts
  • Optional: A handful of walnuts or pecans for a more crunchy taste

Instructions for a child

  1. Mash the pumpkin pieces into puree with potato masher.
  2. Mix baking powder, baking soda, rice flower, corn starch, spices & nuts (optional) in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the coconut oil, sugar. Take is using a hand wisker or in blender.
  4. Using a big spoon mix the dry ingredients with wet ones. Mix very well.
  5. Choose the cookie cutters or rings for starters/desserts. Arrange the cookie cutters onto the baking sheet. Using a soup spoon, add 1 spoonful of mix into each cookie cutter, spreading it well. Continue until the tray is full.
  6. Take a plastic bag, put chocolate bits into it & break them into smaller ones.
  7. Decorate the cookies with scary Halloween faces.

Instructions for a parent

  1. Scoop out the flesh from 1 medium size pumpkin. Steam it for abt 30 mins until cooked. Either use Thermomix of steaming or boil water in a large pan, add the pumkin pieces into colander, put the colander on to of the boiling water, cover & cook over boiling water. This can be done 1 day in advance. Once cooked, let the pumpkin pieces to cool.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a microwave for abt 30seconds until it is liquid.
  3. Place a baking sheet onto baking tray.
  4. Preheat the over to 175deg. Bake for for 20 mins.
  5. Once the cookies are cooled a bit but not completely cold decorate with chocolate chips.
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.

A weekend in Morzine with Emerald Stay

A weekend in Morzine with Emerald Stay

Holidays not far away from home? Hell, yeah! It’s especially great with kids, and especially practical in the times of travel-uncertainty. Luckily, Geneva’s location is a gem! Within 1h drive in every direction there are so many great holiday-destinations, one would need a lifetime to visit them all.

We have been offered a weekend stay in Emerald Stay apartment in Morzine – an alpine town in France, we have never visited before. How was it? Fab!

COSY LUX

The buildings are brand new, designed in a modern way, with luxury touch and a cosy feel. Located 5 mins walk from the centre of Morzine, it makes it a great base for visiting the region.

But that’s not all. On the site there’s a swimming pool and a spa. Many apartments are equipped with a hot tub on the terrace. It means even if the weather sucks, the holiday feel is guaranteed. During the day just hop in the Jacuzzi with kids for some splash time – they will be thrilled to be in a swimming pool outside when it’s cold but without feeling the cold. In the evening, when kids are asleep, the hot tub is a perfect place for a glass of wine with a magnificent view on the sky full of stars!

The fully equipped kitchen, the most comfortable mattresses on the planet, and Nuxe cosmetics in the bathroom were the things we loved! The high-speed wi-fi was a feature we also appreciated big time, as it let one of us work remotely for one day (they have a special offer for remote working, in which they equip the apartment with all the things needed to work comfortably!).

emerald stay weekend in morzine

MORZINE

There’s lot to do and see all around in Morzine for families with small and big children, during every season of the year!

In Morzine itself, a stroll through the lovely town is a must, where a bridge over the gorge, with accrobranche structure undernetah is a fun site for kids! Not far from it, there’s also a great accrobranche parc (for kids as young as 2yo!).

If you’re up for an easy walk, Parc des Dereches is your place (strollers-friendly)! A lovely stroll, a playground, nature, and the mountains – fresh air guaranteed (and probably a relaxing nap afterwards, too).

There is also a lovely horse riding place, where kids can have a pony ride.

In winter, there’s of course lots of skiing, sledging, snow-shoing, and snowman building opportunities!

emerald stay weekend in morzine

AROUND MORZINE

A bit further from Morzine, don’t miss the gorgeous Lac de Montriond – the third big lake in the region (after Lac Leman and Lac d’Annesy). For a stroll around the lake and all-terrain pram or a baby carrier would be best. It’s a 3km walk to go around the lake. There are restaurants on both ends of the lake, mini golf on the end closer to Morzine. If 3km are not enough, another 4km walk (to and back) takes families for a lovely hike to the Cascade d’Ardent.

There are hikes of every possible level of difficulties all around. The best place to find the most suitable route for your family is by contacting the Morzine-Avoriaz tourist office, or the Emerald Stay staff.

emerald stay weekend in morzine

TROPICAL FEELING

An activity especially appreciated by families is a splash time in Aquariaz – a tropical aquaparc. The water is 30 degrees warm, with tropical plants all around, creating a feeling of a holiday far far away. There are pools for every level, for every age, with water jets and slides. For the adrenaline seekers – the slide winder is a must! It’s so good, I know people who take a day trip just to spend there a few hours.

A SPECIAL FAMILY-GUIDE

Obviously, one weekend was not enough to discover everything the region has to offer. The tourism Office prepared a pdf that lists all family-friendly activities for all year round. You can check it out here.

AFTER

After the whole day of fun, Emerald Stay apartments are a perfect chill-out base. Fully equipped kitchen, super cosy sofas, board games on the shelf, and those bloody comfy mattresses that I now crave to have at home.

Climbing in Geneva for kids

Climbing in Geneva for kids

Kids love to climb! From the moment they learn how to move around they try climbing the furniture around the house. It’s a great sport that engages all the muscles, demands thinking, planning ahead, and provides tons of fun!

Recently, in Geneva and around there are more and more places to climb – both high walls with a help of the harness, and without any protective gear on the climbing blocks.

Here’s where you can go with your children, or enrol them to the climbing class.

STRUCTURE PAN D’ESCALADE, VERNIER

Hidden in the industrial zone it’s the oldest climbing place in Geneva. They offer kids classes, family Sundays and are equipped in both climbing blocks (no harness or lines) and big climbing wall with security equpment.

Book your entry and enjoy! You can find all info here.

PLANET CLIMBING, PLAN-LES-OUATES

A great place with climbing blocks and a separate space for kids. They offer camps during holidays, wednesday classes and more. There is also a yoga room and a fitness room. Oh! And a drink/snack corner. Chek it out here.

GRIMPER.CH, SATIGNY

To be open in autumn 2020! We’re waiting impatiently for this new place. It will probably be the biggest climbing place in the canton, with both climbing blocks and climbing walls. They will also have a cafe, kids courses, and all sorts of fun! Here’s all the info you need.

TOTEM, VERSOIX

Probably the best for kids – the climbing block at the front of the room has been designed for them. If they climb to the top they get to enjoy a very fun wooden playground. They offer cold and warm snacks in the bar, yoga classes, camps, and lessons. In the other part of the climbing space there are more and more difficult routes but many of them kids can do as well, so you can enjoy a family climbing time. Check them out here.

VITAM PARC

Climbing space in Vitam is big and has a great part adapted to kids. In Vitam they only have climbing walls, so the activity is accompanied by security lines and a harness. It’s amazing how high kids can climb when they feel safe. Check it out here.

ARKOSE GENEVOISE, FRANCE

Another place with climbing blocks and a special part for kids only (up the stairs). They also have a restaurant and a snack bar. A great place for weekly classes or a one-time activity for the whole family. You can find all the info here.

October for families in Geneva 2020

October for families in Geneva 2020

We’re experiencing an especially cold and wet October but it doesn’t mean there is nothing going on. Below, you’ll find events and places that offer entertainment this month.

As someone who regularly gives ideas for family outings, in these special times, I would like to remind you: wash your hands, wear a mask, keep social distance, and stay at home if you don’t feel well. Sorry to be a party pooper. #sorrynotsosorry.

Also, please bare in mind that the situation is dynamic, the protective measures can change overnight. Events can also get cancelled. Always try to book a place, and be prepared for changes. It is no longer possible for Parentville to monitor all events and their possible changes.

Now that I cleared that out, let’s go!

PETIT BLACK MOVIE

For several years now, Black Movie Festival is accompanied by an autumn-long festival for children – the Petit Black Festival. Each month, in various locations in the canton, children can watch several short movies. Altogether this year they will be able to see 21 films from 16 countries. The chosen movies are great at opening a discussion on subjects such as ecology, difference, or mourning. You can find out all about the festival here, and see all the screenings date in Parentville’s calendar.

Sound and Light show in Bastions

Every other year Bastions hosts the mapping show on the occasion of the Wright Colloquium. Every evening for almost one month the facade of UNIGE’s oldest building will become a stage for a wonderful show. This year’s title “Maths et Brillant” (not a typo). It will take spectators on a journey through the beauty of algebra and geometry. The show will visit the Babylonians and ancient China, all accompanied by music. Each performance lasts 20 minutes, and it will be repeated three times each evening starting at 18h. More info here.

SCHILLIGER GARDEN CENTRE – PUMPKINS & MARCHE DE NOEL

It looks like the Christmas season begins, at least in Schilliger (in Gland, Matran, and Plan-les0Ouates). It’s always worth seeing even if you’re not planning to buy anything. They are experts on seasonal decorations and every year they turn their shops into magical places!
What about the pumpkin? The big Fete de la Courge will take place on October 17th – a pumpkin carving workshop included! All the information about the reservations, and events in each of their shops are available here.

MOMAN D’AMOUR

A new heartwarming association in Chene Bourg (easily accessible with trams), organizes meetings for parents of young children and playful time for small children. You can find out all about their events here on Facebook (and in Parentville’s calendar of course).

Potato holidays at MAH

Did you know that the origin of the autumn break in Switzerland comes from the need to harvest potatoes? This is why this week is also called “vacances des patates” (potato holidays). The Museum of Art and History of Geneva organizes activities (not a camp!) for the 8th consecutive year. This time everything will be themed around the circus. On the menu: acrobatics, magic tricks, balance and all sorts of circus craziness. The whole week consists of guided visits, shows, workshops and tales. There is also a planned visit to the cellars of the Maison Tavel!
The activities are destined for children as young as 2! Reservations are obligatory. You can read about all details here.

MARCHE DE L’ESPOIR

This year, the famous Marche de L’Espoire is taking a half-digital form. Obviously, it is not quite possible to do a 5k walk online, but they found a way to make it happen without bringing a huge crowd to the lake! All you have to do is to enroll, find sponsors (family, friends), download the special app and walk! The more you walk, the more funds you’ll collect to help children in Bolivia. You can read all about it here (availble in English, too!).

MAISON DE LA CREATIVITE

This month the kids’ paradise aka Maison de la Creativite is open all Wednesdays, two Saturdays, and the whole week of school holidays. Reservation are obligatory, as well as the masks for adults. It is by far the best place Geneva has for children – a big villa with rooms offering different activities that children can do however they like. It’s were creativity, discovery, exploration, and imagination can all meet to have the best time. To book you place click here. (All opening dates of the Maison are always available in Parentville’s calendar).

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

There is not one, but three new temporary exhibitions in the Natural History Museum! The reason to have three new expos at the same time is simple and magnificent – 200th birthday of the museum! It has been tested and approved by the Parentville team. I wrote all about it here.

Let the journey begin! (Nyon)

A brand new exhibition in the Chateau de Prangins, designed for families with kids 4+! Yey! Most importantly it is not a temporary event – it;s here to stay! Yey!
This role-play based exhibition has two different forms for kids aged 4-10, and those 11+. At the site, we are invited to imagine ourselves as an English tourist or a young chimney-sweep from Ticino, traveling around Switzerland on foot, by train or by boat. This immersive experience is different each time depending on the choices made during the game. Depending on the options taken, the course can last from 5 to 20 minutes per character!
Info: paid entry, opens on October 11th.
More information (in English) on the Museum’s website.

TIC-TAC TECTONIQUE (LAUSANNE)

The UFO shaped building of the Espace des Inventions is preparing a new exhibition. They haven’t published much information about it, but their expos are always brilliant! The new one is entitles “Tic-Tac Tectonique”. Earthquakes are one of the natural phenomena that impress and worry. They are unpredictable and can be as fascinating as they are destructive. In a fun and interactive journey this exhibition offers a better understanding of earthquakes. It is reccomended for children of ages 7 and up.

La forêt, maison des animaux

A new temporary exhibition for ages 3-12 in one of Parentville’s favorite places – Maison du Saleve (15 mins from Geneva). Enter the world of the woods where badgers and foxes live together. The exhibition is filled with visual poetry, beautiful colors and interactive elements. Not to miss! Read all about it here.

And that is not all! To find out about everything that is happening this month in geneva (for families of course!), check the one and only calendar for family-activities in the region!

Simply, click the button below 🙂 Have fun!

For all working parents, and all others whose kids love/need an October camp, the selection of the top, the best, the coolest camp is also on the blog! Click below to check them out:

200 years of the Natural History Museum in Geneva

200 years of the Natural History Museum in Geneva

There is a museum in Geneva that all families love. In the past few years, it provided us with amazing exhibitions (eg. about dinosaurs, ants, predators, duck fleas, and more). The permanent exhibition is also incredible, with many gems hiding behind the glass. It is, of course, the Natural History Museum in Geneva! This year it is celebrating its 200th anniversary in a magnificent way!

On this occasion, the Museum prepared 3 temporary exhibitions – all of them worth seeing (more than once). Let me tell you a little bit about each.

200 anniversary natural history museum geneva

Bouteille à la mer 2120, Te Ao Maori

A mesmerizing, beautiful, thought-provoking and sad at the same time. This is fascinating instalation by George Nuku is a must-see. You will dive in into the underater world of plastic. Not just plants are made with plastic/plexglas – also the living creatures mutated and are made from recycled plastic bottles. There is everything: coral reefs, anemones, fish, and sharks. Underwater columns with ancient motifs and Māori images. Don’t forget to look above and see manta rays and tunas! The colours, the light, and the overwhelming feeling of beauty and dispear will stay with you for a long time.

It’s a great opportunity to show children the possible future, to discuss the usage of plastic in everyday life. But it is also an exhibition that will inspire crowds to reuse plastic bottles and make something beautiful with them.

INFO:

till June 27, 2021
Entry paid (ticket valid also for the “Wildlife Photographer of the Year” exhibition).
Adults 10 CHF
Kids under 18: free
A visit-bookler for kids 4-12 availble in Eng and Fr for 3.50 CHF.

200 anniversary natural history museum geneva

Trésors

200 years, 200 objects, 200 years of research. 200 reasons to visit the Museum.

It started as the Academic Museum of Geneva 200 years ago and since then scientists in the canton have studied minerals and animals (both those living now, and those extinct). In the result of this amazing work, the museum’s permanent collection is made of 15 million specimens and objects. 15 million!

For Museum’s 200th birthday the scientist undertook a difficult task of chosing 200 of this 15 million to present Museum’s accomplishments. Among them are specimens super tiny and big. Some are local, some are exotic. Some are very old, some are new.

Tresors will be accompanied by a program of Wednesday meetings with Museum’s scientists. Each Wednesday a different specimen for the exhibition will be chosen and discussed with children and adults. Watch out for the dates on Museum’s website or in Parentville’s calendar.

INFO

till June 27, 2021
A treasure hunt booklet for children available in several spots.
Free entry.
Bilingual French-English.

200 anniversary natural history museum geneva

WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

An exhibition of spectacular images of all things-nature, for the first time in Geneva! It presents mind-blowing photographs taken by the winners of the 55th international competition organized by the Natural History Museum in London.

The captions are all in English, and I strongly advise to read them – you’ll learn about things you had no idea existed. One of the biggest surprises is the last section with junior photographers, some under 10 years of age! It’s absolutely awesome to see what kids can do!

INFO
till 27 juin 2021
Paid entry (also valid for the Bouteille a la mer 2120):
Adults 10 chf
Kids under 18yo free

You can find more information about these three exhibitions on the website of the Natural History Museum in Geneva.

Please note that the Covid-19 measures keep chamging and it is always best to check directly with the Museum for the current ones. At the time this article was written, the masks were not obligatory but only recommended in Geneva museums. The three exhibitions discussed int his article do not have a one-way direction of viewing and pick hours the distance is impossible to maintain.

Please, wear a mask, wash your hands and stay at home if you don’t feel well.