How can we make sure that all children get the best chances from an early age, regardless of their background? Luxembourg has taken several measures to ensure that children can enjoy quality childcare services, making sure enough spaces are available and offering financial assistance to families. Thus, it has become possible in Luxembourg to guarantee children aged 1 to 4, who are not subject to compulsory schooling and who do not attend full-time early education, free childcare hours when they are enrolled in an education and childcare service or a mini-crèche.
Quality childcare services
The quality of the care provided is not just measured in terms of infrastructures and safety standards; it also includes the educational services offered by care facilities, in other words the programmes and activities available. The standard of these services is monitored by an educational quality system, the implementation of which is regularly monitored.
Specifically, each Education and Care Service (Service d'éducation et d'accueil - SEA) is required to:
- Draw up a 'general action concept';
- Train its supervisory staff on a regular basis;
- Undergo regular evaluations from regional officials;
- Keep a logbook.
The government therefore guarantees that whatever care facility you choose for your child, the same high standards will be applied.
From the age of 4 on 1 September, children subject to compulsory schooling who attend basic education or the equivalent are entitled to free childcare during school weeks, Monday to Friday from 7.00 am to 7.00 pm, except for any extra hours charged by the education and childcare facility.
For childcare before 7am and after 7pm, and during the holidays, parents pay according to the childcare service voucher (CSA) scale.
Facilities for all
For young children (but not exclusively), there are several types of childcare facilities:
Nurseries (crèches) are for children aged between 3 months and 4 years, in other words before they begin compulsory schooling. They operate according to different educational concepts. There are crèches that emphasise organic values, company crèches, multilingual crèches, woodland crèches (Bëschcrèche), and so on. As parents, you are free to choose the crèche you prefer for your child.
The mini-crèches are decentralised structures which can care for up to 11 kids from 0 to 12 years. Their goal is to strengthen the offer, especially in rural areas. A minimum of 2 people are needed to manage a mini-crèche, while respecting security, hygiene and quality norms. This includes the multilingual education programme.
Day nurseries take children aged between 2 months and 8 years for a maximum of 16 hours per week. This is a good occasional solution for families and also a way of getting children who are looked after on their own used to being with other children. Like crèches, day nurseries may be run by the municipality, operated under an agreement with the State, or be privately owned.
What about the older children?
Each family has different needs. Thus, there are several types of care for children in school:
Day centres take school children aged between 4 and 12, in other words up to the end of fundamental education. Day centres are open outside classroom hours and during school holidays. The children eat lunch together in the canteen and do their homework there in the afternoon.
Maisons relais offer greater flexibility in terms of opening hours and services than crèches or day nurseries. They look after children from the age of 3 or 4 up to 12, and in some cases up to the age of 18. They are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and offer supervision, meals, activities and help with homework.
There is also the possibility of having your child looked after by a parental assistant, a person who looks after children in your home, on a paid basis, in a family setting. The timetables are often more flexible than those of crèches or nurseries and sick children may be accepted. For more information on parental assistants, go to Agence Dageselteren.