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Old 10.03.2010, 07:02
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Experience with GIAP in Geneva?

Hello all!

I've read the threads about Public vs. Private schools, and also how for many working parents Private is the only option because public schools expect the kids to be home for lunch, Wednesday's are off etc. But there is also something called GIAP (Le Groupement Intercommunal pour l’Animation Parascolaire)? With the help of Google translator and my (very) limited French, I managed to figure out Giap provides supervised lunch and after-school care (only in Geneva?).

I'm hoping to move to Geneva later this year, and will be in a situation where I'll be working full time, with a 4-year old who'll need to attend school, and a spouse with a job that requires extensive travel. So mostly it'll be me and my son for 6-7 months of the year. I would like my son to attend the local public school, but do have concerns with timings, Wednesdays being off, what happens during vacation times etc.

If any parents have used the GIAP support, do please share your experience:
- How has your experience been? Are the GIAP centers within the school premises or outside?
- What happens on Wednesdays (and vacation times)? Does GIAP provide full day care during this period?

many thanks for your responses!
-bn
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Old 10.03.2010, 08:26
ljm ljm is offline
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Re: Experience with GIAP in Geneva?

I enrolled my daughter (also 4) in our local public school last year, but then decided to send her to a private one for precisely this reason -- we both work full-time and we just could not figure out how to get organised.

Parascolaire is a system that functions reasonably well, but still leaves Wednesdays empty. Depending on where you live, you may be able to enroll your child into a Wednesday-only programme in a jardin d'enfants or similar pre-school institution. What this whole package means is that your child may end up going to school in one building, moving to lunch/parascolaire to another building and then spending Wednesdays somewhere completely different, all with different sets of people. It also means that the child may spend quite a lot of time during the day in a very large group of children aged 4-11, supervised by 2 volunteers, not trained staff. Holidays you also have to think of well in advance and they will not be organised by the school -- whereas most private schools offer 'garderie' during school holidays.

I have several friends and colleagues whose children go to parascolaire -- all for children aged 4-5 -- and nobody is entirely happy. Most of them ended up either either taking up part-time employment or hiring a nanny/maman du jour/ neighbour to take the child home for lunch and after school.

I think a lot depends on the child -- if they are extremely extroverted, street-wise and resilient, then it may work well. My daughter is not like this at all. This is why we decided on a private school and I am, somewhat surprisingly, very happy with it. Most importantly, my daughter loves it -- especially the lunch/activities part.

I am not getting at all into quality of education, it is far too early for that and I am sure that the level in public school is good. It is my personal opinion that, if you intend to leave your child all day outside home, a young child will most probably be better taken care of in a good private school.
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Old 10.03.2010, 09:36
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Re: Experience with GIAP in Geneva?

Thanks ljm! It is as I thought - tough for parents working full time . My son is an extrovert and makes friends easily, but I would still be concerned with him being in a big group of much older kids.

I'll still check out the public school and Wednesday only programmes - see if it is less crazier where we plan to live. Private is always a fall back, and I applied in some schools last year and they've added him to the waiting list.

Thank you for sharing.
bn
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