The English Speaking Mothers Group (ESMG) began when a small group of English-speaking women, living in and around Lyon with their families, decided to meet regularly to organise English-language and social activities for their children. The group grew steadily until, in 2001, it was decided to form an Association (loi 1901). Today, the group has grown to over 90 members and their families and has had a name change to ‘The English Speaking Families Group’ (ESFG) to better represent our Membership.
What are our Aims? Who is the ESFG for?
Moving to live in a new country can be a daunting experience. Bringing a family to settle in France or expecting a first baby all bring their own challenges as well. When you don’t speak the local language, simple issues like finding a hospital to give birth in, or choosing the right school for your children, become major hurdles. Homesickness, loneliness and isolation can affect anyone moving to live in a new country. Finding a place to meet others in the same position can really help parents and their families to feel more at home.
Some of us have lived in France for many years, and are watching our children grow up here and attend French schools, with French friends and family around them. We want to help our children maintain and develop their ability to speak, read and write in English. We also want to teach them about the Anglophone culture and to celebrate its important festivals with them.
ESFG aims to achieve this by;
- Providing a support network for English-speaking families living in the Lyon area by putting them in touch with each other to share information and advice and;
- Giving our children opportunities to socialise and play in English, so that their English language skills can be maintained and improved and they can learn about Anglophone culture.
Are you just for mums? Can dads join the group as well?
Of course they can! Although most of our attending members are women, membership is aimed at the whole family. In practice, membership of the ESFG extends to the whole family, even including grandparents, if you like!
Who are we?
The great majority of our members are native English speakers from Britain, America or other Anglophone countries including Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Many of our families are bilingual (usually English and French) and, for the great majority of our children, English is regularly spoken at home with one or both parents. A few of our members are non-native English speakers from countries including Malaysia, Holland and others.
All members are expected to observe our rule that English is the only language to be spoken at our events, and to encourage their children to speak English there as well.
Anyone can apply to join the ESFG. All applications are considered by the Committee on a case-by-case basis.
How is the ESFG organised?
All the work that the ESFG does is carried out on a voluntary basis by our members and their families. We are governed by a Committee which is elected annually by our members. You can find out who does what in the association on our Committee page here.
The regular Playgroup, Baby Playgroup and Magic Key Clubs that happen each month are organized and run by members of the association. The events that happen throughout the year – Parties and other festivals – are funded by the membership fees and organized by members of the association. As such, our ability to offer services to our members depends heavily on members being willing and able to help out to the best of their ability. So if you want to get the most out of your ESFG membership, roll up your sleeves and join in!