On top of my list when coming to France was doing my best to see that Jess and Blue would not be traumatized by being dropped in at the deepend going to French schools. I was able to do extensive research on the internet about English speaking children going to schools here (expat forums are an excellent source), before we actually arrived in France. What I learned was that there are four main options: International schools that mainly teach through English, Bi-lingual schools that teach some through French and some through English, and then there are private French school and public French schools. The International schools are very expensive and too far away from where I am living anyway. There is no bi-lingual school nearby either. The French private schools only cost a nominal amount and are on par with the public schools, so either is an option. As this is a rural area, the local schools do not have websites and there are a few in the area so I have to visit them personally and see if I think they will work for the girls. Our landlords told us that other English-speaking people that they know who came to live here had no problems or complaints about the local schools and the children picked up French very quickly and fit in with the other children.
Our landlords are Dutch and they have Dutch satellite on the television in our house. There are a lot of American programs on, some of them in English (with the option of Dutch subtitles) and other voiced over and speaking Dutch. Funnily enough, Blue chooses to watch her American favorites with the cast speaking Dutch and is glued to the screen like she understands every word.....telling me they are speaking Spanish! With this naturalness and acceptance of foreign language, I think Blue will soak up French like a sponge!!!!! (And might learn some Dutch too from watching those shows!!!)
Jess is all about the Ipad in preparing to learn French. She has an app that you can type in English and it will write the French, and also say the French. Pity it doesn't work without the wifi when we are away from the house! Would definitely come in handy. The girls are excited to start school and learn a new language and I think that is half the battle!