Today, let me present you – So Lyonnais So Good New Concept & Brand I found here in Lyon called English Canteen! With this short interview, let’s all have a chance to discover more of Lyon, it’s innovation, beauty and Lyonnais people!
And a big thank you to Helene – the founder of English Canteen for finding the time to share with us her story & idea.
The Big 5 Questions Are:
1. Who are you?
I am Helen, an Australian expat living in Couzon au Mont D’Or, Lyon. I have a French husband and 3 children aged 12, 10 and 8. We lived in the south-west for 3 years and have lived in Lyon for almost 4 years.
2. When did you start?
I started my business “English Canteen” after 10 years of maternity leave. My children were all in full time school and it was time for me to rejoin the workforce. I had never worked in France and really was not sure what my employment options were. After some reflection, I started to form a list of things I was good at or was experienced at. Taking care of children and speaking English were at the top of the list. The idea of starting an English Canteen came to me after posting the question: “Why do French children need such long lunch breaks?” I decided I would give something to do with their time, learn English!
I started speaking to some of my children friends’ parents about my project and got a lot of positive feedback and enough enrolments to get me started. I started my first school year of English Canteen with 2 full lunches. We got off to a good start, word began to spread and I finished my first year with 4 full lunches and 1 student in private lessons. I now have over 40 students each week, throughout the school year.
But why?/What for?
I wanted to work for myself and work from home. Working within school hours was a real priority for me, my husband and I have no external family support and with 3 children, who have a lot of school holidays I needed to be available.
Who are your colleagues?/What is your Team?
I work completely independently, I write my own lessons, develop my own teaching plans and create and prepare my own teaching materials. My team is my students, without their joy, enthusiasm, and willingness to learn, the English Canteen would not be the success that it is.
What is the idea?/How does it work?
The English Canteen is a very simple and successful concept. I replace the school canteen with lunch and an English lesson. French parents want their children to have access to a superior level of English education than what they had and they want their children learning English as early as possible.
English Canteen is convenient. There is no having to drive kids to English classes on a Saturday morning or Wednesday afternoon. It fits into busy lifestyles. The English Canteen gives children access to high-quality English lessons with a native speaker in a small group, the learning conditions are optimal.
The children love the English Canteen because it is like a holiday in their week, they get to leave school for a few hours and do something different. They enjoy the food more than at the school canteen and they develop an ongoing sense of pride in their progress.
Would you add anything else?
In addition to running my English Canteen and preparing my start-up packages, I have recently completed a course: Dyslexia and Foreign Language Teaching. Working with adults and children who are having difficulties to learn English, because of their learning disabilities is an area of education that I would like to do further work in.
Where can we find you?
Facebook: English Canteen
How can we contact you?
So did you know English Canteen before? Have a closer look and let us know who much you like this Lyonnais concept developed with the great experience, knowledge for English and Children. Because I am sure you do!