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Bilingual activities in London?

(23 Posts)
lilQuidditchKel Thu 10-Apr-08 16:54:13


My DH is German and I am American/Irish and I'm desperate to find some kind of bilingual activity for my young DCs. DS is 2.1 and DD 10 mo.

My German is very limited but I am trying to learn. More importantly our children are exposed to both German and English so what I'm hoping for is somewhere they can go which is also bilingual - a playgroup, an course, anything at all really outside the home...

Absolute ideal would be to set up a bilingual, toddler aged playgroup but I am sure this is too much to hope for...or maybe nothmm?

Please if you can help me at all, send your suggestions our way! Thanks!

SSSandy2 Thu 10-Apr-08 19:40:32

German-English kindergarten:

Have a look around that forum but it's all in German. Maybe your dh could find some activities for dc on there.

SSSandy2 Thu 10-Apr-08 19:43:01

Saturday school:

SSSandy2 Thu 10-Apr-08 19:49:34

Also found this: German speaking toddler group, Mondays 10.15-11.45 in Ham (between RIchmond and Kingston, Bus 371 or 65), Christian Centre, Lock Road. Don't know if they are still doing it, if it's convenient and suits the ages of your dc (0 to around 3) you could try it. Costs £2.00, you just turn up. Doesn't take place in the school holidays though

lilQuidditchKel Thu 10-Apr-08 20:04:17

ooh SSSandy many thanks. There is a German school near to us (well sortof) in Ham - but they weren't very helpful. The toddler group sounds like it might be worth a shot.

It's a bit tough for me as it's really DH who is the bilingual parent - i'm going to feel such a dolt showing up to a proper German mum's group. Oh well it's for the kids right? hmm

SSSandy2 Fri 11-Apr-08 08:45:48

Take along some nice biscuits maybe and let the language flow over you. Thing is the German mums will be going there so they get a chance to speak their own language rather than English and they really want their dc to hear more German so you probably wouldn't have much of a chance to chat to people there if you don't speak German well yet IYSWIM. So you could feel a bit out of it.

Actually anything you did as a family that meant you met other German-English speaking families would be good. Doesn't have to be specifically child-based, weekend family activities would be good too. Wonder if the German embassy organises anything much in the way of get-togethers. Once you know some German families, you'll be able to find out what is offered where.

lilQuidditchKel Fri 11-Apr-08 12:23:06

I think you exactly see my problem.

We do spend as much time as possible on long holidays with the German side of the family - which I'm sure helps - it's just a bit sad that my DCs are the only children I know who are going to be bilingual. There just aren't too many families like us out there I guess.

Maybe it just has to wait till they're in school (and actually speaking as well). Seems like a long time to wait though.

SSSandy2 Fri 11-Apr-08 15:48:14

There are quite a few German-English speaking families on MN. Maybe if you tried another thread with giving the languages in your title, you might be more likely to catch their eye? Perhaps one of them lives near you.

lilQuidditchKel Fri 11-Apr-08 16:13:27

Goodness you are a font of optimism Will give it a go...

taipo Sat 12-Apr-08 22:09:23

We're a German/English family (dh is German, I'm British) and our dc have been brought up bilingually. We're now in Germany but used to live in the UK and I met a surprising number of German speaking families and I think you'll meet several as your dc get older. Whereabouts are you in London? I'm sure if you did go about setting up your own group there would be some interest.

I used to take dc to a German playgroup in St Albans which was lovely. They got to sing German songs and play games which I wouldn't have done with them at home.

I think it's great you're so keen for your dc to learn German. Is your dh consistent about speaking to them in German? Mine was very firm in his approach to OPOL but it did work! I met quite a few families where the German parent lapsed more and more into English and as a result their dc didn't speak much German. We now have the reverse situation and I am having to be strict about
only speaking to dc in English which can be hard when they have friends round.

Good luck.

lilQuidditchKel Sun 13-Apr-08 09:46:50

Taipo thx for the post
I was so excited when I read the first line - i don't mean many English women with German DH here it's usually the other way round - alas you're in Germany

Anyway we're in Twickenham, SW London. Forgive my ignorance but I don't know where St Alban's is - I'm in London 3 years now should probably know it! Will look it up.

Thx for the support regarding bilingual kids. I'm finding it very very difficult. It doesn't help that DS (2) has speech difficulties so doesn't say much and whines his way through the day.

DH is good about not lapsing into English around them - however our rule is that he speaks English to me as my German is simply not good enough.

Before we had kids we actually had quite heated arguments about whether the DCs should learn both languages, because I was simply afraid of not understanding my own kids, especially as they got older and fluent. I had learned other languages before but not German, but had been trying to for a year or so since meeting DH, and made agonisingly slow progress. In the end I will probably suffer later on but it's better for the DCs. hmm

They might even go to a German school as it's near to us, and relatively cheap for the quality of education. I'm deathly afraid of that though as I won't understand their homework, or have much in common with the other mums....hmm hmm

it's really not easy. how are you coping in Germany with the schoolwork and socialising?

lilQuidditchKel Sun 13-Apr-08 09:48:22

should have said "i don't meet many English women"

sorry long waffley post

CristinaTheAstonishing Sun 13-Apr-08 09:58:33

There's a German group in South Wimbledon. They meet Thursdays 4-6 pm. A bit far from Ham, but let me know if you'd like more details.

lilQuidditchKel Sun 13-Apr-08 10:53:18

Well we're in Twickenham which actually is probably the same to get to as S Wimbledon. Yes please send me details!

kelly _ voetsch @ yahoo . com

taipo Sun 13-Apr-08 21:13:08

Your ds sounds quite similar to mine at that age smile. He didn't really say anything much until he was 2 but you wouldn't notice now that he was slower to start talking than dd who was fluent in both languages by 2.5.

I see what you mean about being afraid of not being able to help with homework if they go to the German school, but by then you could be quite fluent yourself if you keep at it! Here it can be quite a problem if parents don't speak German or if they work full time because children get quite a lot of homework even at primary level (school finishes at midday) and it's often expected that parents will sit with their dc and help with the homework. I don't know what the set up is at the German school in London but I could imagine that you wouldn't be the only non German parent there.

St Albans is to the north of London where we lived for about 6 months before moving to SE London. Probably too far to go to a playgroup there. There is also a group in Sydenham (which I heard about but never actually went to) but that's also quite far from you.

We moved here a year ago and at the beginning it was very hard especially for dd (8) who was at school in London and had to adapt to a very different system here. It's not an experience I would like to repeat! She's now a lot more settled and made some good friends in her new class. Ds is still at kindergarten - he'll start school in September.

Where were you before you moved to London?

CristinaTheAstonishing Sun 13-Apr-08 21:22:00

German Toddler Group, 4-6pm High Path Wimbledon, tel 020 8875 0893

I don't know how recent the phone no. is, but the group is still running.

annasmami Sun 13-Apr-08 21:45:37

I would recommend the German Saturday Schools. There are about 4 or 5 around London, and our children currently go to the one at the German School in Ham. It's great because not only does it 'teach' German but it also enables the children to meet other German speaking children in a fun, playful environment. They also have an adult class if you were interested.

We too are raising our children (ages 4 and 5) bilingually in German/English using the OPOL method (me German, daddy English). So far it has worked really well, although we do try to supplement the UK schooling/environment with lots of German books, dvds, visits to Germany etc.

annasmami Sun 13-Apr-08 21:46:46

Forgot to add: they start from age 3 but there is a long waiting list, so I would put their names down soon if you were interested.

Biancaneve Fri 20-Jun-08 22:21:37

I am Italian - a mum of two kids:
I found a great club in Ealing every Tuesday morning and other areas.Check it out here.

letssee Mon 28-Jun-10 01:45:19


könntest du mir bitte info über die deutsche samstagsschule geben und / oder gibt es eine eigene website - hab nur eine mit sehr allgemeiner info gefunden...mich würde interessieren, was dort gut oder auch nicht so gut läuft...danke

letssee Mon 28-Jun-10 01:47:22

is there anyone who could give us insider info about the german saturday school richmond - pros & cons, what you like / don't like about it ... thank you

KikiWest Thu 07-Jul-16 14:57:08

Hi there - I am German mum with two kids (father is British). Both born in the UK and thus with British passports. With Brexit, it suddenly seems important that they should have a German passport, too.

However, the German Embassy website says you need to apply in the first year after their birth.

Is there no other way? This is so crazy. Would love to hear how others have dealt with this topic

JCH16 Wed 16-Nov-16 13:56:31

Hi KikiWest,

I came across this one year rule as well, however this is not applicable in all cases. As long as you were born in Germany your kids should automatically have the German Citizenship by descent from a German parent as far as I know. The one year rule applies if the parents of the child were not born in Germany and after 1999. You can email the embassy explaining your case and they will be able to tell you. They have been really helpful for me.

I hope this helps!

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