One of the many daunting challenges facing first-time parents is that of finding suitable day care for their offspring. There is so much to take into consideration regarding environmental, health, safety, educational and social aspects. Parents also want to feel that they can trust and communicate freely with the professionals looking after their children and rely on them for help and advice.

After encountering this dilemma herself when her son was born, and not finding a satisfactory solution, Claudine Pribile decided to create a new type of child day care centre in Paris, based on her own high standards and personal values as a defender of cultural diversity, sexual equality and humanistic principles.

Having spent her childhood traveling between the Cameroon, France, the Ivory Coast and California, Claudine was aware of the benefits of growing up in a multicultural, multilingual environment from an early age: “Having benefited from an international education throughout my own childhood, I wanted to pass that chance along to others. I have always loved working with children and I wanted to use my international outlook as a means to benefit an entrepreneurial experience. In the current globalized context which has resulted in some people withdrawing into themselves, I had the desire to set up an educational project, working with little ones and passing on humanistic and multicultural values to help them build tomorrow’s world. Having the benefit of a second language earlier is the best way to become a world citizen.”

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Taking on a project that involves child care is never easy and in Claudine’s case it has been a personal crusade that has taken her two years to achieve. As she puts it, “I am dreamer, but also a process person (I worked as a consultant for 10 years), so I wanted to ‘build’ everything with early childhood experts.”

First there was the question of finding the right location. “Creating a daycare centre in France is an administrative journey because when it’s about infant and toddlers, French administration is really careful (rightly so, we are talking about raising children). It was a miracle to find our perfect spot, far from the main roads, in the heart of the 15th arrondissement, and I fought for it, but fortunately I had some luck too (you need both in Parisian real estate).”

Then there was the challenge of finding the right team to accompany her in her ambitious project. “When I began my hiring journey I felt like Indiana Jones! It took me several months to find the perfect team. I wanted at least one native anglophone speaker and a bilingual early childhood professional with an international approach and experience. But more than just speaking 2 languages, I wanted a team that would be able to welcome diversity and ensure all the physiological aspects, the security, the well-being and good development of the children.”

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When it came to the question of the children’s meals, Claudine was also demanding, “We work with a Parisian caterer specialized in early childhood nutrition, who uses organic, local, seasonal food. I’ve tasted the products myself and so has my two-year-old son. It’s tasty food, even without salt and milk!”

Another fundamentally important aspect of her centre is the parental support it provides, ”As a child I remember how hard it was for my parents to recreate their nest each time we moved, so having a welcoming place, a place to share fears or more positive feelings, would have been really helpful. When you are the parent of a newborn, infant or young child you always have questions and sometimes it’s complicated to find the right ear to listen. I want our crèche to be a place where parents can ask their questions freely. That’s why we decided with Vivian, our clinical psychologist and family coach, to provide a Q&A session with her every month for parents to ask any questions they may have. Of course, the full time team is also always there for them, and they can also contact Vivian by phone, email or Skype.”

In addition to day care during the week, the centre also provides regular weekend workshops with external experts, such as baby dance, gym and musical and acting afternoons for toddlers, enabling them to awaken their senses while having fun at the same time. It also offers coaching sessions in positive parentality and can even host and organise children’s birthday parties, working with a team of creative party planners.

The Claudine Olivier pre-nursery school can accommodate up to 10 children from two and a half months to 4 years old, using an educational approach inspired by various pedagogical trends (Montessori, Pikler, Faber and Mazlish). While there is no selection process as such, Claudine is looking to create a centre for like-minded parents: “We want to welcome families that truly share our pedagogical project and that are willing to enter our Claudine Olivier family team. There are no language criteria, all children can benefit from our dual language immersion and program. We are just looking for friendly parents who want to participate in our international journey in French and in English.”

For more information about Claudine Olivier Paris or to enrol for a place visit: www.en.claudineolivier.com

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