Who wants to be a Bambini Lingo franchisee? Me please!
Post written by: Emma Bianchi, Bambini Lingo Scandicci
The idea of delving into the magical world of children and their learning came about soon after I had my little boy. A whole new world opened up to me and I knew that my path was to find a way to fill little people’s worlds with some sparkle and, along the way, learning.
In 2016 I moved to Italy with my husband, Davide, and Leonardo. It had always been an unspoken understanding that eventually we would ‘come home’ and move back to Italy and so, here I found myself with a 10 month old and my plans (happily) upside down! I am the third generation in my family to live in a different country. My Granny was English and married a Frenchman, my Mum is French and married an Englishman, I am English and married an Italian.. it’s in the genes! This means I have seen and can see first-hand the benefits of having a second language and, as a mummy myself now, it’s something I hold especially close.
In the UK I benefitted so much from classes available to me and on arriving in Italy, I found a huge amount of enthusiasm with regards to language learning but also a gaping hole where groups, classes and activities aimed at babies and young children could be. So began my quest to find the opportunity I had been looking for…
I knew from the outset that I wanted to be a franchisee – a lot of people said to me ‘just start classes yourself’ or ‘do your own thing’. For me though, it was (is!) fundamental to work with a group of people who are qualified, trained and who have built strong foundations based on knowledge, research and experience. That said, I also wanted to find a franchise that would allow me to grow, to express myself and in doing so fall in love with my day to day and have fun! I did a lot of research, looked at a lot of possibilities – and there are a lot out there. But it quickly became very apparent that there was one opportunity that stood out. I was immediately impressed by how quickly Emma and Bianca responded to my initial enquiries, the amount of information they offered, the transparency and their efficiency (after being a PA for 12 years these are things that I really notice!). After an initial Skype call my feet were barely touching the ground and I couldn’t help but be carried by the enthusiasm I felt. But I am also very cautious and always look one step ahead (there’s that PA again!).. as Emma and Bianca guided me through the next stages, and I kept waiting for a change in pace, a slowing of communication or enthusiasm, I found the opposite happening. Bambini HQ became a direct lifeline for helping me through the painstaking process of getting anything to happen in Italy (!) – providing me with any documents I might need, offering advice or contacts and offering up endless patience. It felt as if I wasn’t taking a big step alone.
Before I knew it contracts were being signed and my training was being organised. With the wonders of Skype/FaceTime I thought we would find a way to make this all work. But oh no, that’s not the Bambini Lingo way! A few weeks later, I was at Florence airport arrivals greeting the Founder of Bambini Lingo herself with a great big orange trunk in tow full of my kit! Emma came all the way here for two days to train me in person. Unbelievable right?! What a privilege and it was a fabulously fun and incredibly useful time. Emma left me with not just a trunk full of the most BEAUTIFUL kit (my very own Tic Toc, wooden props: fruit, animals, coloured ribbons, hand painted wooden maracas, wrist bells, a woven picnic basket..the list goes on!) but with so much material and content for my future classes that frankly I couldn’t wait to get started. And start I did and the energy and enthusiasm Emma left with me hasn’t waned in the slightest. As I do my classes, plan each week, meet people for new classes, my excitement at being part of the Bambini Lingo family only grows. Emma and Bianca are always on hand for any questions or suggestions I might have and always, always, encouraging, full of fun and terrifyingly efficient. I recently met a mummy who was asking me about classes that are not yet offered with Bambini Lingo. I What’s App’ed Emma who replied straight away ‘can you FaceTime in half an hour?’. By that time she had already roped in their language learning expert (still in her lycra from the run she was having). An hour later I was in my meeting and had a document in my hand with an outline and ideas for the course which that morning didn’t yet exist and which is now to be written over the coming months.
As for the classes themselves, I had found it hard to imagine the reaction of the little ones and how the class would flow ‘in real life’. A few weeks in and I am bombarded by Mums and Dads who want to buy the CD, who tell me that their children outline the hand stamp they get at the end of the class with a pen so that it doesn’t fade, who have started counting in English at home or who run around saying ’what’s your name?’. The Bambini Lingo formula is magic because it is based in learning but the little ones don’t know that, they are simply having a BALL, dancing, giggling and in wide eyed fascination – and all the while it’s lovely to feel that I am slowly sowing little seeds of learning because with languages, you really are at home anywhere.