Monday, 6 August 2012

Hearing about French Baby & Toddler Club, CouCou, makes me want to move to London

When I first heard about CouCou, the East London based French club for babies and toddlers, I wanted to pack our bags and upsticks.

Why, oh why is all the good stuff in London????

Well...for those of you lucky enough to live in the Big Smoke, I just want to wax lyrical a little about this great club and hopefully, you will have the chance to go and check it out for yourselves. If you do go, please come back and leave a comment here to tell me how it was.

You may have already seen the posters for the group round and about with their catchy tag "Chante avec moi" (Sing with me).

The group itself was the brainchild of a group of four non-native French speaking mothers of children ranging from 6 months to 2 years in age. When the singing group that these mamans had been going to suddenly closed its doors, they put their heads together to come up with a plan for creating an environment where francophone babies and toddlers and their mamans could go to indulge in a little singing, storytime, games and activites all in French. Thus, Coucou was born.

Each session has the same format, with a welcome song "J'ai un nom" where the group sing hello to each child one by one, followed by songs, nursery rhymes, games and activities based around a different theme each week and then, five more songs (which are the same each week to help the children learn through repetition). Each session ends with a story and a goodbye song.

Previous themes have included :- Parmi les oiseaux, les voyages, à la ferme, le corps, les nombres and un voyage à la campagne (which included singing 'Promenons nous dans les bois', il court, il court le furet', 'dans la fôret lointaine and a countryside walk where the children had to keep their eyes out for Monsieur Le Lapin).

Sessions take place every Monday at 10 am in the Childrens' Room at Dalston C.L.R. James Library, Dalston Square, London E8 3BQ.

Check out their Facebook page at .

Poppette would love it, of that I am sure!!!


  1. It does sound wonderful! We are in the right location, but sadly over-age!

  2. Sounds like a wonderful program! Have you thought about trying to start something like it in your area? Would there be enough interest? I have to say - have tried to start a German storytime (that also included songs) at my local library, it is a lot of work! Smart women to go in on it together!! One of the biggest challenges I faces was when my little one decided he did NOT like Mama reading to the group. I thought about changing the format to all songs, but then I got pregnant and decided to put it off for the future :) If you do decide to try to form your own group, Sarah at Bringing up Baby Bilingual has a couple of really helpful posts on the subject. If not, I do sympathize with you!!
    BTW, how are your language themes going? I haven't been doing much with mine. Just following Aleksander's lead with the things he's interested in and trying to help us both learn more vocabulary around that topic.

    1. Hi Kate

      I did look into setting up a Francophone playgroup when i was on maternity leave with Poppette but ended up getting a little disheartened - people would contact me to say they were interested (i think about 6 - 8 different people) and then not take it any further. I guess I should grow a thicker skin and try again but right now, with two children under two I have my hands full enough already :-)

      As for the language themes... I haven't been focussing on these yet either. I decided to wait until Poppette is a little older. For now we have been focussing on simpler but equally useful themes such as shapes, numbers and colours. Pinterest has given me some great activity ideas.

  3. Hey Nic! Thanks so much for writing about CouCou, Kezia is doing a wonderful job leading us on the next stage of our non-native bilingual journey. Though she is on hols on Monday, so Carene and I are leading the group - yikes!!!!

    I am almost ready to launch my new Ma Puce website, a resource for everything you need to help your child learn French - well it will be, it is a growing entity! Anyway,hopped on here to grab some info on you, so I can add you to my Online Bilingual Community page. Will be in touch by email to have a proper catch up! Lxx

    1. Hi Luci

      Yes Kezia is doing a great job. We have had a good chat about the themes you guys have already covered and Kezia has been really kind and given me the work sheets she prepared for the groups so that I can do the same activities with Poppette and Little Man :-) She has some wonderfully creative ideas!

      Really looking forward to the grand unveiling of La Puce - let me know when you're up and running and thanks for adding me onto youy Community page, that's great :-)

  4. Hi, this sounds amazing. Do you know of anything similar in South West London? I'd love to take my three month old to this sort of thing.

  5. Hi Cassie...Sorry it's taken me a while to reply to your query.

    Have you come across the Club Petit Pierrot? They offer a French immersion experience for toddlers at venues in Chelsea, Putney, Wimbledon and Battersea/ Clapham (amongst others in other parts of London).

    Take a look at their website

    If you go along, I would love to hear about your experience. It's somewhere I would love to take Poppette and Little Man if we lived in the area.