Brussels offers an extensive network of childcare for young children aged from three months to three years. However, parents quickly find out that getting their child into childcare requires jumping through a lot of hoops. The best services come at a cost in money…or patience.
In any case, all types of childcare service or facility, whether public or private, must be accredited by one of the governmental agencies responsible for young children and families in Belgium in order to guarantee a satisfactory level of service, where the same standards are required everywhere regarding notably staff qualifications and operating arrangements:
- In the French-speaking Community: Office de la Naissance et de l’Enfance (ONE)
- In Flanders: Kind & Gezin
Whatever the type of childcare you are considering, it is advisable to apply as soon as the beginning of the 3rd month of pregnancy.
- Visit several childcare facilities (by appointment only) before you make your choice.
- Register your child with the best available service and ask to be put on the waiting list of the places you prefer most.
- Remember, the most important thing is that you feel at ease with the persons who will care for your child.
What questions to ask :
- Opening and closing times, days of closing, Cost per day, Are nappies and food included in the cost?
- Admission conditions (age, vaccines, …) and a copy of the Internal Rules, What happens if the child is ill?
- What does your child do during the day?
- Is his sleep rhythm respected, or must he follow strict sleeping periods?
Most common types of childcare
Crèche (0-36 months) and Prégardiennat (18-36 months)
Crèches and Prégardiennats may be municipal (i.e. public), or private. Although public infrastructures may sometimes welcome up to 50 children, they are usually split into much smaller groups, according to their age.
Halte garderie (0-6 years)
These are childcare centres where you can drop off your child for a few hours in the event of an emergency.
Provides day care in a familial atmosphere for at least 10 hours and can take up to a maximum of 4 children full-time, but never more than 8 children at any one time. The service may operate independently or it may be supervised by a municipal crèche.
Public childcare facilities and services are usually reserved for the municipality’s inhabitants.
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