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  • Writer's pictureSofi K. Batal

Should You Hire a French Nanny or a French Governess?



Employing a Governess - Emilia Shanks


Understanding the differences between a French-speaking nanny and a French-speaking governess is essential in making an informed decision that aligns with your family's needs.



About French-Speaking Nannies

1. Primary Role: A nanny's main job is to provide childcare. This includes looking after the child's physical needs, such as feeding, bathing, and dressing.


2. Experience: Nannies often come from various backgrounds and may not be required to have formal education in child development or teaching. French Nanny Agency requires all French-speaking nannies to have at least two years of experience to qualify for a job.


3. Duties: Their duties often include organising playtime, overseeing playdates, and sometimes performing light household chores related to the child's care.

In-depth information on what to expect from a French nanny can be found in the full list of nanny's duties.




About French-Speaking Governesses

1. Primary Role: A French governess will be more focused on education and the intellectual development of the child. While they also care for the child, their main purpose is to teach and tutor.


2. Educational Background: They often have formal training in education or a strong knowledge of educational practices and just like French nannies are fluent in French, which they use to enhance the child's language skills and cultural awareness.


3. Experience: A governess is generally expected to have a higher level of education, sometimes a university degree, particularly in teaching or a related field. Just like French nannies, they must have at least two years of experience working as a governess in a private household.


4. Duties: A governess's responsibilities include structuring a child's day with educational activities, homework help, language instruction, and often liaising with schools to complement the child’s formal education.


It is important to note that while a governess can take on childcare duties, this is not the primary expectation of the role. Each employment situation is unique, and the duties of a governess will be determined by your needs and the agreement reached at the time of hiring.


When hiring a governess, families should clearly define the expectations and responsibilities within the job description to ensure that both parties have a mutual understanding of the role.



Is a French Nanny or French Governess Best For Your Family?


When deciding whether to hire a French nanny or a French governess, families should consider their specific needs, preferences, and expectations regarding childcare and education. Here's how to approach this decision:


1. What Is Your Primary Need?

  • If the main requirement is comprehensive childcare, including physical care, emotional support, and general supervision, a French nanny may be the appropriate choice.


  • If the focus is more on the educational development of the children, particularly language acquisition and academic instruction, a French governess would be better suited to the family's needs.



2. How Old Are Your Children?

  • For infants and toddlers, where the emphasis is on care and early development, a nanny is typically hired.


  • For school-aged children or those requiring formal education, especially in the French language and culture, a governess with a teaching background might be more beneficial.



3. What Level of Language Exposure Do You Need?

I believe this is one of the most important differences to consider:


  • If the goal is to immerse the children in the French language through daily activities and interaction, a French-speaking nanny can provide a natural language-learning environment.


  • If structured language learning and literacy in French are the goals, a French governess with a strong educational background will be equipped to deliver formal language lessons.



4. What Will Be The Level of Educational Involvement?

  • A governess will typically be involved in planning and delivering a curriculum, which could include subjects beyond language, such as mathematics, science, and arts, with a pedagogical approach.


  • A nanny may help with homework and support the children's school-related activities, but they would not usually be responsible for structured educational outcomes.



5. Determine the Need for Cultural Education:

  • A governess often brings a component of cultural education, teaching not only the language but also the etiquette, history, and cultural norms associated with it.


  • A nanny may incorporate elements of culture into daily life but not to the extent of a governess's formal education.



Ultimately, the decision to hire a French nanny or governess hinges on the balance of childcare and education desired. If your family is looking primarily for education and structured learning, particularly in the French language, a governess is a more suitable option. If the need is for general child-rearing support with some French language exposure, a nanny would be the preferred choice.


Clear communication of expectations and roles in the hiring process is key to finding the right fit for your family's unique situation.




What To Do Next?

Whether you are leaning towards the nurturing care of a French nanny or the educational expertise of a French governess, our Consultants help families make the best choice.

Contact French Nanny Agency today to schedule a consultation and let us connect you with a professional perfectly suited to your family’s unique requirements. You can also visit our website to learn more about our professional French nanny placement services.








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