2021 was a great year for Switzerland: the highest number of babies were born in the country. Half of all babies and toddlers are going to attend nursery school in Geneva at some point between 0 and 5 years of age. And if you have just recently arrived to the country, that’s going to bring its own set of challenges because not all nursery school teachers speak English or other languages.
So here’s a list of expressions you should know in French to help you stay afloat. For correct pronunciation please do check out deepl or google translate. And listen to the expressions a few times, as there is no point knowing an expression if you cannot pronounce it correctly!
être enceinte: well, this is the very beginning of the journey. It means “to be pregnant”. If you want to announce the city authorities (and the rest of the world) that you are pregnant you would say: Je suis enceinte.And congrats, by the way!
déposerunedemanded’inscription: before your bundle of joy could go to a nursery school, you must submit an application.
Have you just found out that you (or your partner) are pregnant? If I were you, I would register now, I mean: today. Waiting times are long, so in order to stand a chance of being admitted, you might as well do it now….
Here’s the link, in case you need it: https://www.geneve.ch/fr/demarches/demande-place-creche
à temps complet/ à temps partiel : when you submit your registration you have to specify whether you’d like your baby to attend the nursery school full time or part time. If you haven’t won the lottery recently, then I beg you to choose part time. To put it in context: I paid a full Harvard registration fee for my kids over the years, so start as small as you can. The fees are just horrendous anyhow.
unepérioded’intégration: the first 1 to 3 weeks that lets your baby adjust to their new environment. At first you must stay as well, then perhaps a few days later you may leave the baby alone for an hour, then for two. It’s a period of adjustment which can be as hard for the new parent as it is for the child!
le matin/ le repas / la sieste /l’après-midi :the daily routine at the nursery school. Nursery schools open at 7 am and morning activities end around 11.30 when the children are offered a balanced meal. Children are encouraged to become autonomous and learn to listen to their bodies and serve themselves according to their own needs. After lunch children have a nap and if the weather is such, the afternoon is spent outdoors playing. When you go to pick up your kid from nursery school, the teachers will always let you know about how the day went for your bundle of joy, and will usually use these words.