DAYCARE IN GENEVA – WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS?
Is your toddler ready to take the big step into a more formal childcare setting? Daycare in Geneva is a big investment and it’s not easy to know which option is best for your child: crèche, private nursery or local daycare. We look at how the International Institute de Lancy (IIL) supports your child in this important first step away from home.
BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN HOME AND SCHOOL
Leaving home to go to preschool or nursery is daunting for your child – and for you, so the emphasis at IIL is to create a welcoming, warm, ‘home from home’ environment, says George Walsh, Director of English Primary at IIL. The school creates a relaxed, safe and comfortable environment, separated from the rest of the school, where children are able to make friends and learn through play. The idea is to bridge the gap between home and school.
“We also recognise how tough it is for the parents to ‘let go’, so we allow them a window into the daily lives of their children by encouraging them to be involved through open days and sharing with them their children’s experiences at school.”
Bilingual class teacher, Cara LaDuche, says: “We get to know our students, their brothers, sisters and parents through contact during the morning drop off, parents meetings and craft projects that parents can join in with throughout the year (outside of COVID times). This bond creates trust and in turn we have a comfortable atmosphere where our students feel secure and can blossom.”
THE RIGHT START
At IIL the school has created a purpose-built centre for early learning years called START – for children aged between 3 and 6 years.
“This is their first step of their educational journey and the beginning of a long journey. We feel privileged to have the opportunity to help to make this a positive experience for every child,” says Mr Walsh.
Teachers encourage independence to prepare your child for formal education Children are learning through play and the teaching is designed to encourage curiosity, creativity, empathy and to develop learning and fine motor skills.
Classrooms and outdoor areas are designed to be fun and engaging for young children with decorative interiors, wide corridors, comfortable dedicated play areas with soft furnishings. Everything has been adapted for young learners.
“We use play as a method to teach our youngest students the base skills that get them ready for school,” explains Ms LaDuche. “Recently, my class was exploring the theme of ’The People Who Help Us’. As part of this unit we used dress-up clothes to role play and pretend to be firefighters, police officers, doctors, nurses and dentists. (In non-COVID times) We go on an outing to visit the local fire station and ask a real firefighter questions about what it is like to do their job. We make cards to distribute to the school nurse, the school gardener, the cantine helpers and cleaning staff to show our thanks for all they do. Music is also a medium we often use to help student’s expand their vocabulary and knowledge of the topics we explore. My students can be heard singing their favourite songs throughout the day and parents let me know this continues into the evenings at home.”
Also read our previous article on START.
IIL offers an exceptional opportunity for young children to become fully bilingual. The school offers 3 individual streams for children aged 3 to 6: English, French or bilingual.
In the bilingual stream, your child has the opportunity to develop a strong knowledge of both languages. The curriculum is bespoke, with the aim of developing total bilingualism. How does this work in practice?
Every class has two teachers – a native English and native French teacher and they alternate from one day to the next. There is no translation, but a continuation of the previous day’s teaching. Both cultures are equally represented in the teaching. This enables your child to continue his or her education in either language or educational system. It also paves the way for better cultural understanding, which is vital in an international community and paves the foundation for global citizenship.
ALSO read our article on bilingualism.
WHAT THE PARENTS SAY
Linda Ambrosio, mother of twins Giacomo and Agatha, aged 4 and half, says her children have thrived at IIL since starting there a year ago. The children went to a local crèche for a year prior to that.
“Childcare is expensive in Geneva, especially if you have twins and what you get at a local crèche in our experience is a very basic service – it is basically entertainment, compared to laying a real foundation for education at IIL,” says Ms Ambrosio.
Her children love going to IIL and she has seen a real difference in their development, particularly Giacomo, who never spoke a word of French during his year at crèche and is now starting to speak and sing in French.
“For bi-nationality families where children have different mother tongues, the bilingual stream at IIL presents the ‘softest landing’,” she adds.
INCLUSIVITY AND DIVERSITY
IIL has an inclusive philosophy, working and guiding each student to find their full potential, says Mr Walsh. As part of the curriculum, world cultures are taught and celebrated from the youngest age. With over 96 nationalities at IIL, children are exposed to world cultures and languages from the beginning.
The cost of daycare and childcare in Geneva is a concern for many parents. IIL’s fees for private childcare between the ages of 3 to 6 compares favourable with other options, including local state daycare options, says Mr Walsh.
You can calculate how much daycare will cost you by using this simulator on the Ville de Geneve website. This shows that depending on revenue IIL can be less expensive than crèche. You can find the tuition fees at IIL here.
To find out more about IIL’s daycare and childcare options sign up for one of their Virtual tours on 9 and 12 December”