Maman/Papa et moi!

No one in my family speaks another language. Why should my child and I participate?

Is this a playgroup or a class?

What should I expect my child to be able to do as a result of these lessons?

I don’t speak French. How will I understand what my child is saying?

Won’t my child confuse our home language with a second language?

Should I purchase any support materials?

Why does it cost so much?

Does a caregiver really have to participate in the group?

Can I enroll my child in a class even if I haven’t attended a preview lesson?

Will there be playgroups available in different areas/for different age groups/ in different languages?


Maman/Papa et moi!

No one in my family speaks another language. Why should my child and I participate in this playgroup?

Many families choose language playgroups for personal reasons. As scientists learn more about the cognitive development of infants, however, we know that exposure to a variety of stimuli allows the infant’s brain to make connections. Much like listening to music, looking at artwork and touching different textures, listening to additional languages stimulates the infant brain. For links to neurological studies and linguistic research please consult our Research and Resources section. Back to the Top

Is this a playgroup or a class?

Maman/Papa et moi! is more than a playgroup. Each of the ten sessions is a highly structured immersion lesson that engages the children and their caregivers in French. One session more closely resembles a 45-minute "class" than an informal playdate/playgroup. We struggle with the terminology in part because our approach is quite unique. The term "class" often conjures up images of language drills and worksheets and conjugations. We choose not to use this term because our infant/toddler language program focuses on natural language acquisition. We welcome suggestions for other terms that better convey our groups. Back to the Top

What should I expect my child to be able to do as a result of this playgroup?

Each person produces language at his or her own pace. Some toddlers may parrot isolated French words after the first session. Language production however is not the primary goal of these playgroups. At these ages, all children are in the pre-production stage of language acquisition, sometimes called the silent phase. By the end of each ten-week session most children will be able to respond to social prompts and, simple commands and to make some of the gestures that accompany the nursery rhymes, games and songs that we learn. Think again about your child’s speech in your native language--an extremely verbal toddler only uses a fraction of the words that he or she comprehends. Back to the Top

I don’t speak French. How will I understand what my child is saying?

During the pre-production stage of language acquisition children are primarily absorbing language. The best person to respond and reinforce the playgroups lessons is the caregiver who attends class. The caregiver may wish to introduce the nursery rhymes, games and songs during playtime at home. In addition the caregiver receives a copy of lyrics and key vocabulary in French and English for each session. Back to the Top

Won’t my child confuse our home language with a second language?

Research suggests that bilingual children [who have been exposed to two languages in consistent contexts] learn to respond to both languages equally, differentiate between the two, and respond appropriately over time. Monolingual and bilingual children appear to reach language milestones at the same time. Language acquisition in an immersion environment is a process and children will make mistakes once they begin producing language for meaning. Think about the sometimes, comical mistakes that young children make in their native languages! Our playgroups provide a warm and safe environment for language discovery. Back to the Top

Should I purchase any support materials?

Not initially. There are myriad support materials for language study and we do not recommend purchasing any program before consulting a professional. A general suggestion is to acquire French-language versions of materials (books, magazines, DVDs, music) that your child already enjoys that are appropriate to his or her level of comprehension. We recommend Amazon.ca (Canada) and Continental Book for high-interest resources. Back to the Top

Why does it cost so much?

There are informal playgroups that convene at no or low-cost to families. Informal playgroups are generally coordinated by a group of parents with common interests who rotate responsibilites/meeting locations. In our experience and opinion these playgroups do not provide much language acquisition, but are effective as social opportunities. Maman/papa et moi feature lessons designed and delivered by experienced teachers who also help parents reinforce the language at home. Back to the Top

Does a caregiver really have to participate in the group?

Mais oui! But of course. The primary function of language is communication. You will find that your child provides the physical prompts for nursery rhymes, games and songs that we learn and will be most delighted when you respond appropriately. Adults will receive reinforcement guides for each lesson that include relevant lyrics, and key vocabulary. Back to the Top

Can I enroll my child in a class even if I haven’t attended a preview lesson?

Of course. There are no refunds for the course, however, so it is highly recommended that you at least observe a class before making a commitment. Back to the Top

Will there be playgroups available in different areas/for different age groups/ in different languages?

Yes, yes and yes. As La Crèche grows we will be able to offer playgroups to more age groups and languages in Metro St. Louis. Please continue to check our website as we expand! If you are interested in a French playgroup for a different age group or in a particular location, please let us know. Back to the Top