Are Your Bilingual Childcare Expectations Reasonable?

by contributor · 2 comments



By Isabelle Kuhlmeyer
Photo Credit: Savanna Smiles

When I was about 6 months pregnant with my first child, I decided it was time to start looking at childcare options since I was planning to go back to work full time after my maternity leave.  At that point, I had lived in the U.S. for over 17 years (I am a French national), but it was my first experience searching for childcare in this country.  Naively, I thought: “How hard can it be?”

I was looking for a childcare environment and not a nanny because I believe socialization is important from a young age and I was also hoping to have French spoken to my child daily. However, after visiting countless childcare centers, I realized it was going to be a difficult endeavor with waiting lists averaging 18 months, very high costs (who can afford $2500 a month?), and very few bilingual childcare centers.

Since I did not know any other parents of young children, and needed childcare I was comfortable with, I decided to open a French immersion daycare.

I know, that sounds extreme, and maybe my hormones were way out of control by that time in my pregnancy, but I decided to give it a try. The house next to mine was coming up for rent and it seemed like a great sign!

I started the process with DEL (Department of Early Learning), but there were too many limitations and hoops to jump through to get a license. However, opening a preschool for 4 hours a day doesn’t require a license. It really did not make sense to me, but since I was planning to open a safe and good environment, pay taxes, hire a good employee, I thought that was the way to go.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Thea September 20, 2010 at 10:51 am

Great reality check! I think also that parents, and schools/preschools need to help set reasonable expectations. The schools need to help set expectations by being very direct in all their communications with parents (verbally and in writing).


2 Bobby Saint November 23, 2017 at 6:48 pm

I appreciate you providing some tips for finding a good childcare facility in another country such as adjusting your expectations and researching for other options. It is ideal that you be the one to adjust to the childcare facility instead of them as certain policies in that country may be different from your home country. You may probably need to communicate with the director of the facility to set some expectations. Also, it’s best to research or look for other options just in case your child would eventually go to preschool. The director may be able to recommend some educational facilities nearby which would really be very convenient and practical on your end. If I were to enroll my child in bilingual childcare, I would make sure to keep this in mind. Thanks.


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