In 1979, the famous French psychoanalyst Françoise Dolto and some of her colleagues started a revolutionary new project in Paris. They opened a centre called ‘Maison Verte’ [Green House], dedicated to welcoming and listening to children under 4 years of age.

During informal sessions that took place each day of the week, three ‘welcomers’ (psychoanalysts and other professionals working with infants and toddlers) would work to support the children  as emerging subjects and to try to prevent psychological issues from developing. 

Today, there are around 2000 such centres in France, open to young children and their carers, with similar spaces also having sprung up in many cities in Europe and around the world.

In October 2016, a team of three psychoanalysts and psychotherapists, Kristina Valendinova, Antoine Huon, and Xavier Fourtou founded Bubble & Speak in South London. 

The idea was to offer the same type of services and dedication originally developed on the continent to families living in London.

That venue was forced to close during the pandemic. Subsequently we moved to our new venue in Finsbury Park, in North London. Our ‘welcoming centre’ is currently the only one of its kind in the UK


When a family arrive, we ask for the child’s name and write it on a blackboard. The children have many toys, books and art supplies at their disposal. The idea is to give the child freedom to play, explore the environment and meet new friends.

Even though welcoming sessions are not presented as therapeutic activities as such, they do have important effects. They can:
  • encourage the bond between a child and his mother or father, and
  • also introduce some “space” in a child-parent relationship.

Feelings and difficulties can be expressed in words in order to prevent all types of possible psychic problems from emerging or developing. Our project also aspires to support parents and carers who feel isolated and to strengthen links in the community.



On entering nursery, children will be separated from their family. Bubble & Speak is a safe intermediary space: it is no longer the family environment and other children and adults are present; at the same time, their parents or carers are still around.

During the sessions, parents can relax or share their experience.

Bubble & Speak has been very popular since its inception in October 2016 and prior to the pandemic lockdown in March 2020, and an ever-increasing number of children and families had been coming to the library in South London.



Visit the website of the mother Maison Verte in Paris, France from where our project got its inspiration!