Five forms of child care in the Netherlands - Day care

Five forms of childcare in the Netherlands – Part 1: Day care

Are you expecting your first child soon? And are you looking for high-quality childcare for your baby? Or are you an expat family that has arranged childcare already, but would you like to reconsider whether this form of care still fits you and your children? Read more about the five most common types of childcare in the Netherlands. In the coming months I will publish articles about the five forms of childcare. I start with: Day care. 

In this article the pros and cons of a day care are described. In follow-up articles that appear on this site later this month, the remaining four most common types of childcare will be discussed.

Day care or “Kinderdagverblijf”

Day care centers provide care for children aged between six weeks old and four years old. Children are placed in a group with peers (a horizontal group) or with children from mixed ages (a vertical group). The amount of children in a group depends on the age of the children. Each group has two to three infant teachers, who received a child-directed training on “MBO 3” level. They take care of your child and make sure she/he: eats and drinks on time, gets clean diapers and is regularly cuddled. The teachers also: play, sing songs, do crafts or paint with your baby.

Benefits of a day care center: 

  • Your child will learn to play with other children.
  • Your child learns to share.
  • Your child learns to move and behave in a group.
  • In most cases, your child will enjoy playing with other children.
  • Your child is in a different environment, where she/he will be challenged to learn new things and play with new toys.
  • Activities other than those at home are offered. As a result, your child will learn many new skills which is, among other things, excellent for her/his: personal development, social skills and language development.
  • Day care centers are usually open from 7:30 am to 6:30 pm, so that your child can visit them any time during the day.
  • When a teacher is sick or on holiday, then a replacement will be arranged and the care will continue as normal.

Disadvantages of a day care center:

  • Some children may not settle well in a day care. They cry a lot and they get too many stimuli.
  • Sometimes, infants do not get enough attention because the day care staff members are too busy running the day care center smoothly.
  • Is your child in a toddler group (a group of children aged 2 to 4 years) then there are often only two teaching staff members in a group of 16 children. If the teachers cannot control the group, a chaotic situation will be the result and your child may receive too little personal attention.
  • If your child is sick, you won’t be allowed to bring her/him to the day care, due to the risk of contagion. You must arrange substitute care yourself or take a day off from work.
  • Although it is the rule that children who are ill are not to be brought into the day care, the infants, who are teething, are often infected by others in the group anyway.

Are you interested in reading more about the other forms of childcare? Read my next articles about the subject. Part 2 will be: childminding (“gastouderopvang”).

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