There is a comprehensive system of crèches, nursery, preschools, and international childcare in France. Here’s a guide on childcare options available to parents in France.
Childcare in France
In crechès, staff are actually pediatric nursing assistants. Childminders have experienced many changes regarding their status, but they can obtain a certificate or diploma nowadays. For nursery schools, staff also receive training from the National Education Ministry.
With regard to childcare services in France, big cities have much greater coverage. The national average is 6.3 crèche places per 100 children under three years of age, whereas in Paris it is 23.9 (18.9 in the Paris region — Ile de France) and less than two in the Charente-Maritime department. Seven departments offer more than 10 places per 100 children, while 12 offer less than two.
In France, families may claim parental leave of 36 months (including maternity leave). This is approximately €500 per month for a second or subsequent child (CLCA or ex-APE).
More than half of the families, however, make use of childcare facilities after the end of maternity leave. In France, mothers with low pay can choose to withdraw from the labor market until childcare is free of charge (i.e., nursery school at two years of age). As a result, only 20% of the poorest mothers with a young child are active in the labor market.
There are larger families (with three or more children) among poor families, and this makes their situation even worse. Poor households, where both parents continue to work, generally have more constraints regarding their work schedules (work on weekends, at the end of the day, in shifts).
Finally, the choice of part-time work in order to look after one’s children (when nursery schools are closed) occurs more among the well-off families, because of the costs involved.
Child benefit in France
If your children are under 20 years of age, and you are a registered taxpayer, you are entitled to allocations familiales. The benefit starts from one month after the birth of a second child. If you have two children you receive €120.32 per month, if you have three children this rises to €274.47, and then €154.15 is given per additional child.
Childcare at nurseries and preschools in France
French nursery schools, or ècoles maternelles, accept children from two to six years of age and are free of charge. Your child must be two years old at the start of school in September, and when there are more children than places older children are given preference.
Nearly every French school offers a before and after-school childcare system, but you’ll have to pay. While the French schools are uniform in their curriculum, the various international and bilingual schools subscribe to different philosophies.
The Bilingual Montessori School of Paris
01 45 55 13 27 | www.montessori-paris.com
The Bilingual Montessori School of Paris is a school for students between ages two and six years old. The school follows the international Montessori system and provides facilities on three different campuses. The program is based on the Montessori disciplines of Practical Life, Sensorial, Development, Mathematics, and Language.
65 quai d’Orsay, 7th
United Nations Nursery School
01 42 88 71 46 | www.unns.net
The United Nations Nursery School, also known as Jardin d’Enfants des Nation Unies, offers an international program for children ages two to six. This is not a bilingual school but instead focuses on being multi-cultural, with French and English both used by teachers without specifically being taught. Class sizes are a maximum of 18 children, allowing advantageous relationships to develop between pupil and teacher. UNNS puts a strong emphasis on music and art, and classes are in a particularly attractive and quiet setting.
40 rue Pierre Guerin,16th, Jasmin
Primary and secondary schools in France
Whether or not your child will have to take an entrance exam or sit for an interview will depend entirely on the school he or she is applying to. Competition is intense between the major international and bilingual schools. The American School of Paris models itself after a large American independent school, while the British School of Paris follows a British model. Alternatively, you could opt for a local French school instead.
All of the major International schools offer the International Baccalaureate program, while ASP is the only school to offer the American Advanced Placement program. Teaching standards are high, but each school has its advantages and disadvantages; it’s crucial to spend some time on several campuses before you make any decisions.
Given the tuition at some schools, you might expect a campus on par with private schools in your home country, but this is not always the case. Private education is expensive everywhere, and Paris is no exception. For example, the annual tuition and fees for the 2007 to 2008 school year at the American School of Paris are as follows:
Application Fee: €760 (non-refundable)
K2 – Grade 5: €19,600
Middle School: €22,070
Upper School: €22,070
Capital Assessment Fee: €7,700 (one-time fee)
Bus Fee: €2,420
Security Surcharge: €550
Note: These fees do not include extra-curricular activities.
American School of Paris
01 41 12 82 82 | www.asparis.org
The American School of Paris is an independent, co-educational private school providing a full American curriculum. The school is located outside of Paris in the suburb of St Cloud on a 12-acre campus, which includes a sports field, gym, and performing arts center. The school offers bus service to transport students to and from the campus.
41 rue Pasteur, 92210, Saint-Cloud
British School of Paris
01 39 69 78 21 | www.bsparis.net
The British School of Paris occupies two different campuses on the outskirts of the city. The Bougival campus is home to a junior school, and a second location in Croissy-sur-Seine also has a junior school as well as a senior school. A British-style education is offered to students ages four to 18; 70 percent of whom are British. BSP offers facilities like a swimming pool, playing fields and gyms. Classes are in English. The school provides a daily bus service from Paris and the surrounding areas.
Chemin du Mur, du Parc 78380, Bougival
École Active Bilingue
01 46 22 14 24 | www.eab.fr
Established in 1954, École Active Bilingue provides a fully bilingual curriculum catering to both French and international students. English is taught both as a native and foreign language with emphasis on cross-cultural development. EAB also has a junior and high school accredited by the Cambridge, Oxford and London Examining Boards, as well as the International Baccalaureate Organisation.
6 ave Van Dyck, 8th, Courcelles
International School of Paris
01 42 27 15 93 | www.isparis.edu
The student body of the International School of Paris contains 41 different countries ages three to 18. Classes are small with a strong emphasis on teacher interaction. ISP is the only Anglophone school in central Paris that provides a K-12 education. The school offers the IBO Primary and Middle Years program as well as the IBO Diploma.
6 rue Beethoven, 16th, Passy
Lennen Bilingual School
01 47 05 66 55 | www.lennenbilingual.com
Founded in 1960, Lennen Bilingual School offers a bilingual curriculum for students ages two to 11. LBS prides itself on being the only school in Paris that offers such a purely bilingual experience in the primary grades, and the small class sizes and intimacy of the school’s three campuses serve to engender a sense of community. Physical education classes are at the American Church of Paris.
65 quai d’Orsay, 7th
Lycee International American Section
01 34 51 74 85 | www.americansection.org
The Lycee International provides co-educational education to 2,600 students from between 13 and 18 years of age. The school integrates students from a variety of countries into the French educational system by providing 11 foreign sections. Both the British and American sections are taught in English, and 60 percent of those who graduate from these sections go on to universities in Anglophone countries (the remaining graduates attend French universities). Boarding facilities are available.
Rue du Fer a, Cheval, 78175, Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Pediatrics in France
It is essential that your child’s doctor is only a short walk away from you, or the one that takes care of your child. When choosing, you need to check if the doctor is available to come to your house, if needed.
If you don’t know where to start in order to find a good pediatrician, the best place is to go to the nearest pharmacy and ask. They will give you the addresses of the nearest pediatricians, and they could recommend you the best among them.
There are a lot of English-speaking doctors, but if you can not communicate with them the best thing is to go the British embassy. This is the contact information of the embassy:
British Embassy, Paris, France
35, rue du Faubourg St Honoré
75363 Paris Cedex 08 Paris
Phone:(33) 1 44 51 31 00
Fax: (33) 1 44 51 31 27 Consular