Transforming education: finding our “element”

geneva4beginners

Nowadays, parents are very keen on getting their children to learn music and start in creative activities.
What we often hear about creativity defenders such as Sir Ken Robinson or Nuria Perez Paredes is that you need to have tried to know whether you are good at something and truly enjoy it.
There are two things I would like to propose in this respect.
The conservatoire de Genève and the Teach a talent initiative.
Convervatoire de Genève:
Registration at the Conservatoire takes place from 1st of Feb to 31st of May for the classes starting in Sept and can be done in several locations or through the internet.
But what I wanted to write about in this post is the possibility to have your kids try several instruments and activities to see which one seems to suit them. There are open days at different location. Although this year they already…

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Transforming education: finding our “element”

Nowadays, parents are very keen on getting their children to learn music and start in creative activities.
What we often hear about creativity defenders such as Sir Ken Robinson or Nuria Perez Paredes is that you need to have tried to know whether you are good at something and truly enjoy it.
There are two things I would like to propose in this respect.
The conservatoire de Genève and the Teach a talent initiative.
Convervatoire de Genève:
Registration at the Conservatoire takes place from 1st of Feb to 31st of May for the classes starting in Sept and can be done in several locations or through the internet.
But what I wanted to write about in this post is the possibility to have your kids try several instruments and activities to see which one seems to suit them. There are open days at different location. Although this year they already took place, the open days are recurrent every year around April/May.
Teach a Talent
In line with choosing the “best” activities for your kids, it is clear that you need to observe your kid and identify what he can be good at but without any doubt the best that could happen to your kid is that he tries different things. Not all of kids have the luxury to be born in a literary family or where music is important. Maybe his/her thing is more manual and craft related. The initiative Teach a talent (Nuria Perez is behind it) is precisely about that. I hereunder quote their About section:
“Every child hides a talent and, the more things he tries, the more possibilities he will have to discover it. Our mission is to connect adults willing to share their passions with kids eager to explore new worlds.
In here you will find lots of activities for free that children don’t normally come in contact with at school. Our dream is that no child grows up without discovering his or her passion.”
That’s the best present we could give our kids.
We can find ourselves looking into what can be our gift, our talent or what simply makes us happy by reading Sir Ken Robinson’s “Finding your element” but wouldn’t it be easier to do it as kids?

Ludobus: the open-air-moving ludotheques

From May until end of September, two “moving” Ludotheques, the red and the blue, will be settling up in parks and other public places. Open air games and activities will be available for kids and families for about a week in each location.

Games are free and there is a team of ludothecaires making sure all goes well. Activities include tricycles, small cars, and classic games. A great atmosphere is guaranteed!

You can see the calendar at the bottom of the page split by area

And some pictures here to get a sense of what we are talking about.

 

Ludothèques de Genève. What a great idea!

There are 11 ludotheques in Geneva.

The below link indicates the time table and location of each one of  them.

Kids are welcome in the ludotheque and will be able to play with very nice games organized by age and type of game. You can also rent games and carnival dresses for the week for a symbolic price.

The atmosphere is great and ti is a great solution when it is raining outside.

It is worth mentioning that most of them are located in schools hence the timetable during school vacation changes (it opens less hours in most cases). It is worth making a check call before going during school vacation.

Your little ones will simply love it 😉

 

 

Sample letters for a spot in the Creche

Sample : mum working full time

Chère madame,

Je suis actuellement enceinte de xx mois et la naissance de mon enfant est prévue le (date).

Exerçant un emploi à plein temps ainsi que mon marie, je reprendrai mon activité professionnelle à l’issue de mon congé maternité, c’est-à-dire le (date you go back to work).

Je vous fais donc parvenir mon dossier pour votre considération.

Je vous prie d’agréer, Madame, mes salutations distinguées.

Signature

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Sample : mum not working but will have a second baby

Chère madame,

Je suis actuellement enceinte de mon deuxième enfant de xx mois et la naissance de mon enfant est prévue le (date). Je suis actuellement femme heureuse au foyer.

Mon marie travaillant à plein temps et ma famille proche (parents frères et sœurs) résidant en Espagne, je me permets de vous demander l’admission de mon ainé(e) pour pouvoir ainsi prendre soin du bébé.

Je vous fais donc parvenir mon dossier pour votre considération.

Je vous prie d’agréer, Madame, mes salutations distinguées.

Signature

Don’t miss Milano for a long weekend

Where to stay:

I would book the hotel in one of the following areas:

Porta Romana

      (well connected by metro to the centre, only 15-minute walk to the centre; nice restaurants nearby)UNA Hotel Mediterraneo

http://www.unahotels.it/en/una_hotel_mediterraneo/milan_centre_hotel.htm

    –> I know the hotel because I was used to live very close (fair price)
  • Brera (this is the most beautiful area of Milan, quiet over the day and more active during the night; 5-minute walk to piazza Duomo)
    1. Hotel Carlyle http://www.hotelcarlyle.com/default-it.html –> I heard it’s a nice hotel, but never been there
  • Repubblica
  • Duomo

 

Where to eat:

 

What to do and see

  1. All the main attractions are in the city centre:

Daycare in Geneva, the eternal discussion topic..

As you know this is not an easy one in Geneva or Switzerland in general.

Public school starts when kids have 4 years (before or as of 31th July). So if your son/daughter was born in December, then she will be among the eldest in his/her class.

And even if as an expat your company pays the fees in a private school, most of the companies start that payment only when public school starts, ie 4 yrs old 😉

So, all this to say that even you have the luxury to stay at home with your children, many mothers are just willing to have some hours for themselves during the day.

There are a few public alternatives which are great but organized considering the early Swiss timetable 😉

  • Halte jeux la Madeleine. No official registration required. You just need to go there in several sessions so that your kid gets used to the crèche. A team of several care takers will watch out for your kids for a maximum of 3h/day and max 3days a week. The assignment is basically first in first served. You need to go through an adaptation process with your kid who needs to be at least 18 months old. The first day both of you will spend 5 minutes together at the Halte jeux. The second day, your kid will spend 15 minutes on his/her own. The halte jeux will take your mobile in case of emergency (baby misses mummy). Also you are required to have a civil responsibility insurance which is usually covered by the house insurance. People in charge in the Madeleine are super friendly and will explain everything to you. Cost if 5CHF/hour.
  • There are also very nice ludothèques in Geneva which are worth a try. Here you need to accompany your kid and I suggest you refer to my other post, ludothèques for more details.
  • Crèche de dépannage such as la dent de lait will allow for short term solutions (6 months max if I’m not mistaken) for job searching periods for example.
  • Crèches. These kinder garden basically cover daycare throughout the working day, ie 7 to 19h in some cases and Mon to Fri. ¨You need to officially register at the BIPE (Bureau d’Information de la Petite Enfance) and cross your fingers to get accepted. Registration can take place mx 1 year ahead of the requirement. So if you are a working mum and need day care as of when the baby is 4 months old, then do the math. Registration can be done online or physically at their offices which might be a good idea if you want to increase your chances of getting a place.
  • If both members of the couple work, then it is more likely that you get a place but there is no guarantee. You can choose the location based on your home location or working place location. If both parents work, then you can deduct an amount per child in your tax declaration. The price for the 2nd child is 50% and free for the third one. Price depends on the yearly household income. (click on Tarifs des lieux d’accueil de la petite enfance)
  • Jardin d’enfance. This is a lighter solution very similar to the creches. Max attendance is 4 days a week (Wednesday closed) and usually mornings or afternoons (to choose). Price is proportionally in line with crèche. It is not a solution for
  • Care takers. May Poppins. www.mary-poppins.ch
  • Maman de jour. There are a few sites to find mamna de jour such as www.monreso.ch or www.glocals.com. I would rather recommend the word to mouth. And if not possible I would make sure the maman de jour is officially registered
  • For other options which require the presence of parents/adults with the kids such as ludothèques or bibliotheques, I will write another post.

My top tip for this BIPE registration would be to insist, insist and do the registration on time.

I hope you enjoyed. Please share more helpful tips with us.

I will very soon include some sample letters in French asking for a place in the crèche or jardin d’enfance in section kid.

Organize your day so that you can survive at the end of the week.

We have several suggestions.

Do the shopping online. Leshop.ch or intermarche drive in neighboring France for meat, ham and things like that. Remember the maximum kg of meat per person is 4kg.

Cook once or twice a week. Every Sunday my oven, cooker and all the cooking devises are working full speed. Try to simplify menus. The kids as of 1yr should be ready to eat the same as adults. If due to lack to teeth they struggle eating meat, just make a pure of the adult menu. It goes without saying you will need a huge freezer 😉 and be good at playing Tetris

Share tasks at home with your partner and even with the kids as they love being involved and part of the working team.

Ask for help to external people. Time is money as we say so don’t waste time in tasks you hate or are slow at. Make your calculations… Refer to my section on child care and ads to find people for more info

If you both work outside the house, keep a clear agenda of menus and tasks at home. Also, refer to the day care section for more info. Finally, if commuting to work, keep in mind the Geneva town subsidies if you buy an ebike (CHF 250)

It helps stay healthy, in good shape, breath fresh air and don’t get desperate when waiting for the bus in rainy days.

Routine is key once there are more than 2 kids or even more than 1. It helps them be on the same timing and sleep, eat at the same time. That makes our and their life much easier. It might be a bit of a nightmare if traveling outside their routine but I for myself am ready to pay that price. Besides, I am not sure if even avoiding the routine babies can ever be good at traveling to different time zones and so on…

Throughout the way it is essential to keep in mind every child is different. Let’s avoid putting too much on the eldest shoulders if he’s still a kid but they often love feeling the eldest… so up to responsible parenthood to find the best balance.

So, let me know, what are your tips and tricks to survive throughout parenthood ant look awake and healthy at all times.