There are isolated bilingual or trilingual nurseries in France, but there are far too few to offer places to all the parents who are keen to see their young children grow in an English-speaking environment. And offer is also limited for schools.
I have been lucky to live in UK when my daughter was 18 month old, and to put her at the nursery 4 days a week. At 3, when we came back to France, she was speaking both languages equally well. It made me dream of a France where English would be taught to young kids and spoken by everyone, a bit like in Sweden or Netherland, and without jeopardizing French, our beautiful language I am an advocate of. Our children will evolve in a world even more international than today, and their ability to speak foreign languages is going to be a major asset in their lives. Billions of humans speak several languages, French children have to be part of that !
Even if the debate keeps going on, many linguists think that children’s ears are very flexible before 10 or so, after which it gets more difficult to learn new languages. I have been able to see the massive distinction between a complete immersion in English and just a couple of hours per week, the latter being largely insufficient to reach a fluent spoken level. The French ministery of education has introduced English at school from 7 instead of 12 previously, but I am totally convinced that we need to do more.
When we left UK and moved back to France, I was disappointed to see no bilingual nursery or school in the city I was living in. So I have decided to open nurseries where English would be spoken by all employees, whom I would recruit with a native English level, to give the children the best chance to reproduce a perfect English accent. The level I want to offer to your children when they leave our nurseries is the level they would get in an English-speaking foreign country or with one parent having English as mother tongue. I am driving to open my first nurseries in 2014.
I used to be a researcher in the first part of my professional life, and I keep a strong curiosity in generating data and trying to understand trends. I am initiating this survey to measure the proportion of parents living in France who would like more English in the lives of their young children. I hope this survey will be answered by parents everywhere in France. The more I will be able to measure your interest about multilingual education, the more I will be intrinsically motivated to take this survey on the public place as much as I possibly can.
The survey is also capturing questions on schools and activities centres for Wednesdays and holidays. So please do not hesitate to circulate it to parents whose children are under 12, and to future parents as well. I need you to spread the survey as much as possible. And if you really strongly want a bilingual nursery near your home, please do activate your neighbouring network ! link to survey