Childcare in English – FAQ

  • Can I choose my instructor’s nationality?

Yes, you can specify the type of accent you prefer. Our educational team mostly includes men and women from the British Isles, the United States and Canada.

  • What happens if the instructor is away or sick?

An essential part of our service is guaranteeing that somebody will be there to look after your child, even should the unexpected occur. We will agree the best solution for dealing with unforeseen circumstances with each family before they are introduced to our instructor: If you wish, Babylangues can provide you with another instructor to look after your child in optimal safety conditions (the instructor’s ID will be shown to the school, and the instructor will be equipped with the school’s precise timetable and details of the child’s habits). If your child is too young to be met by a stranger, you may of course arrange for a person of your choice (grandmother, neighbour, friends, etc.) to pick them up.

  • What about my child’s overall safety?

Our initial training module deals with child safety in the context of their daily life, and is attended by all our instructors prior to starting work with your family. Although our instructors all have previous experience in childcare, we carefully review the fundamental issues revolving around your child’s safety in and around the home. We reiterate the elementary rules of good conduct, such as punctuality, propriety, as well as basic hygiene (e.g. “always wash your hands when you get home”). We make sure that our instructors can always be contacted when they are looking after your child (mobile phones switched on and batteries fully charged at all times). We meticulously review all the potential hazards which threaten children in their daily lives (e.g. “always hold hands in the street”, “never leave a child alone in a kitchen or a bathroom”). We conclude by stressing the importance of observing the child’s general well-being, and being attentive to any complaints or unusual behaviour.

  • Will my child learn the language by simply being looked after by a native speaker?

No. Learning to speak a second language is a long and complicated process that calls for far more than somebody just “being there” and speaking to your child. Babylangues has developed its expertise in this area and offers much more than just childcare in a foreign language. Our instructors draw on their initial and regular on-going training to introduce teaching into your child’s daily activities, enabling every moment of their daily life to become a fresh opportunity to commit linguistic structures to memory.

  • What sort of training do our instructors receive?

So much more than just a book of activities, serving as proof of educational value, the training of our instructors stands at the heart of our organisation and forms the very essence of our activity. A second language cannot be acquired by passive osmosis, by merely spending a few hours a week in the company of a native speaker. This is why we have designed a specific training programme that carefully targets the issues governing language transmission. Remember that Babylangues started out with language workshops for children aged 12 months and over, in little groups, teaching English through play. Of course, these group workshops are still being run in Paris and Bordeaux, but places are at a premium. Workshops fulfil a double role, as while children are being taught, new educational material is being improvised. The Babylangues group workshops are a fairyland of invention for the development of new educational activities. They are without doubt the very essence of our entire expertise, and an expression of a unique savoir faire.
A unique expertise, imparted to every instructor
This careful and meticulous work with young children, which turns language into a game and living it into a performance, has been re-worked, adapted and formalised in our training sessions so that each member of our educational team can in turn pass on all of Babylangues acquired expertise to your child. Every language game or activity used with your child will have been developed, tested on children in real-life, modified and optimised to suit the varying levels of understanding and expression.

  • Educational monitoring throughout the year

We know there is no such thing as teaching in a bubble, so Babylangues provides a progressive educational programme, one in which every member of our educational team can play an active role in the teaching that they dispense. Our training deals with the down-to-earth reality of language learning for children: how to motivate a child to learn after a long day at school, how to encourage the memorisation of idiomatic expressions, or even how to encourage a child to reproduce the language they have learnt in their day to day life… The aim of these training sessions is to address real teaching issues, and widen the repertoire of activities, games and songs available. Babylangues does not see teaching as an isolated occupation. Quite the contrary, we encourage our educational team to share and interact.

  • Does your educational method include audio or video material (CDs, films, DVDs)?

No, we don’t use CDs, videos or DVDs in our educational method. While these audio-visual aids are unquestionably entertaining, their educational value is negligeable, as world scientific literature has demonstrated: pre-recorded audio or video documents – whatever their quality – do not trigger language acquisition in young children. We target human interaction, and always favour direct “live” contact between the child and the instructor which promotes a global and natural form of communication. Audio-visual aids can, however, prove useful when the instructor isn’t there.

  • What happens to my child if the instructor leaves France half-way through the school year?

If we know that an individual will be leaving France during the school term or is uncertain about staying, they will not be recruited. Because language learning sits at the very heart of the relationship between the child and the instructor, we always favour recruiting candidates who are settled. If, however, you wish your child to become familiar with two differing types of accent (American and British for example), we can send you two different instructors during the same school year (one per semester). Your child will then interact with a greater range of English phonemes, vocabulary and intonations, corresponding to the English being spoken.

  • Can the instructor help my child with his homework?

Yes, of course! If you would like your instructor to supervise homework set in French, please let us know as soon as possible, to enable us to find an instructor with a good command of the language.

  • My child already speaks English because my husband is American; will the instructor use the same activities with my child as would be used with a French-speaking child?

No! The games and activities will be clearly different: they will focus more on developing their ability to express himself or herself  in English (understanding isn’t usually a problem). We work with several bilingual or multilingual families (expatriates or not) and understand the challenges of learning in a bilingual family. For instance, many parents complain of their children’s so-called “laziness”: this quite simply is an expression of the child’s desire to express themselves quickly, which is an evident proof of intelligence. We stimulate oral fluency by encouraging your child to rephrase his needs in the target language.

  • My daughter and her best friend have always been looked after together. Can we continue with a Babylangues instructor?

Yes, of course! If you are looking for a family to share childcare with, we can put you in touch with others looking for the same thing (children of a similar age, in your neighbourhood). To apply for shared day care, please click here.

  • What about school holidays? Must I keep paying for the sessions when we are away?

No, the sessions can be interrupted if you wish. Before starting the sessions, we draw up a timetable and you can specify your holiday dates, so that your instructor can take their holidays at the same time as you. However, if you are working during your children’s holiday, you may of course continue the sessions as usual, or increase the frequency or the duration of the sessions.

  • What happens if the instructor announces they are taking a week’s holiday in the middle of the school year?

We do everything possible to prevent this sort of situation! Before starting the sessions, every instructor is provided with a timetable with details your holidays and any interruption of the sessions. Your instructor agrees to work around your holidays and time their own to fit in with yours. Should your instructor have to leave the country unexpectedly, for serious personal reasons or to attend a family wedding for example, we will supply you with a reliable replacement.