Groups for Parents and Children?

I have only just moved to Leugny (86) and I wondered if there are any mother's/nannies groups in the area. I recently got married and now have a beautiful 5 year old step-daughter, Evie. I would like to be able to meet up with other mothers sometimes when Evie is staying with us during school holidays, so that she could make some friends here in France. I am also a trained nanny, if there are not any groups in the area, then I am thinking of starting one up myself for mums and their children....either a coffee/play morning or perhaps a little arts and crafts group, would anyone be interested in this type of thing?

My older of two is Downs as well, but Mosaic so perhaps not like yours, special needs nonetheless. Adults do not treat her as different to other children at all here, unlike the UK where she was treated like a peice of porcelain.

Thanks for the advice on the summer school, I’m sure Evie would love it! I would have to look into one that can take children wih special needs though, as she has Downs Syndrome. She absolutely adores being with other children and is always such a happy little girl.

My idea for a parent and children’s group would be very informal. The ones I attended as a nanny in the UK and Belgium were basically a get together at someone’s house for a coffee and the children would play. Sometimes we would all take the children on an outing together or we would organise a craft project to do with them, such as painting flowerpots for Father’s day.

Thank you for the suggestion Brian, I certainly wouldn’t want to exclude fathers. It makes a nice change from the UK to hear that fathers are just as likely to be the primary carers as mothers. I have been a nanny for the past 16 years, but now I’m suddenly in the role of a parent to a 5 year old, and it is quite different. I understand that many parents meet through their children’s schools or clubs, but the difficulty I have is that my step-daughter will attend school in Belgium where she lives with her mother and will be with us during her holidays. She has Downs Syndrome and loves to be with other children, especially those a bit younger than herself. She is a wonderful little girl and I’d like to be able to help her to make a few friends here in France.

Also thanks for the advice about the insurance, I’ll look into it straight away.

Michaela, in principle a great idea. However, well at least in this area and certainly for myself, fathers are often as likely to be primary or 50:50 sharing carers. Thus, as we have made many of our friends since we have been here, through people congregating at the school gates getting to know each other, especially as some children form close friendships, join in the same sport or other activities (my two do judo, slightly different set of people) and form particular groups, the families tend to cluster as well. The same goes for the summer school, which we use just occasionally, whereby we meet the same people and also a few others whose children are in village schools in the area. In general, I am as likely to meet either parent whenever as one always, but where it is more convenient for fathers to bring, collect and look after they are the first we get to know. I would say that that is around 40% of parents here. Where there are single parents they are only a little less likely to be fathers, such as last year's teacher for one of our girls (who had his own son in the class to boot), is the primary parent to his three about 80% of the time. In that, the French are very different to what I knew before we came here. So, and entirely up to you and what you find locally of course, maybe you might consider a parent and child group?

Anyway, for all of that, like Val I am a long way from you to begin with and I second what she says about finding out about insurance, etc. Indeed, even look at your house insurance to find out if guests are covered if you are even proposing doing it at home informally, we certainly did because of the number of guests and childrens' friends overnight we have. French insurance policies are very different to British ones, even if you use the same company.

That's a great idea, Michaela, and I hope you get some good feedback from members around your area. Unfortunately - and I do mean unfortunately - I'm too far from you to join in. I have a 7 year old who would love it. Many (if not all) of the communes run summer schools for the local children. You should be able to get pamphlets of the ones near you from the Maire's office. My littlun starts his on Monday - because we live here/he has school here we don't pay the full rate that you may have to. Mine works out about €10 for a full day which includes arts & crafts, a bouncy castle and lunch. Unfortunately I don't think parents are allowed to stay so you'd miss out on meeting other mums and dads but maybe keep it as an idea for the odd day. I'm unsure whether the idea you have would be an informal basis or something more formal - if more formal, you'd need to gen up considerably on insurance, qualifications accepted in France etc etc.