Re: Getting a spot in a Creche / Kindergarten in Geneva - Mission Impossible?
1. There's a super long waiting list for most public creches in Geneva
TRUE. Working women sign up for both public & private creche spots the minute they find out they are pregnant.
2. There are no private creches in Geneva
FALSE. There are some in Canton Geneva. More in Canton Vaud. There is a new one in Meyrin (GE) that is English-French or Swedish-French at the Swedish School of Geneva (www.svenskaskolan.ch). There is ECOLINT at Nations. Many private creches are attached to preschools. 2 year olds can go to a JARDIN D'ENFANTS a few times per week or full time. There are places. Some international employers pay the fees.
3. You can only sign up for a creche (or a waiting list) after you arrive in GVA and move into an apartment.
Not necessarily true. This is not written policy, it's what is generally practiced. If you have an idea of which area you are moving to and how many hours childcare you want/need, if you write and call frequently and are nice, you are "heard" and so when you sign up officially, you are "higher" on the list.
4. If only 1 of the parents works, that automatically puts you at the bottom of the waiting list
TRUE, at least for FULL TIME placements. Once again if you call regularly and are friendly, when casual places come free (e.g. one morning or one afternoon per week), you will be remembered and potentially offerred a place. And for most families where one parent is at home, the child attends a Jardin d'Enfants or Creche part time and then does other activities on other days.
For the "other activities", there are TONNES of things for under 5s and their parents to do in Geneva and Vaud. Playball, Gymboree, Mubabil, BabyGym.
Parents and parents-to-be can join the expat networks to help them meet other parents which thus helps with integration. Networks include:
- American International Women's Club (Eaux Vives)
- Bumpsnbubs.com (online network in Geneva)
- moms-in.vaud.com (online and face-to-face community of parents in Eastern GVA, Western Vaud & Pays de Gex).
Too few relocation agents know about the "parenting communities", but they are ESSENTIAL for keeping the "trailing spouse/parent" happy (and thus the working parent happy and productive too).