Childcare Options in France
Crèches – For children 2.5 months to 3 years old. Parents can select from an array of public or private crèches, but space is usually limited. If you live in a large city or a small village, it is important to register as soon as you find out you are expecting a child. The cost of sending a child to a crèche is determined by the parent’s income – usually between 8 to 12% of their monthly salary.
Crèche Parentales – Similar to regular crèches except that they are run by a non-profit and organized by parents. Parents pay for the food and supplies, as well as share any additional costs.
Assistante Maternelle – Available for children over 2.5 months. They are usually limited to having up to five children at a time. Parents pay for the salary of the employee, while the state pays for their benefits. Parents can qualify for a discount by applying with URSAFF. There are generally more assistante maternelles in any given area then crèches, so the chance of finding availability is greater. It is also possible to hire an assistante maternelle to watch over your child in the comfort of your own home. Many parents use assistante maternelles for after school care as well.
Halte-Garderies – This is for children of parents that do not work, but need part-time or occasional childcare. They generally charge a very small fee.
Nourrice – This private nanny will come to your home to watch over your little one. Especially in large cities like Paris where space is very limited in crèches or with assistante maternelles, hiring a nourrice is a popular option. You will have to make sure the nourrice is a legal resident of France and pay social security taxes on the salary (if the nourrice works 5 hours or more per week). If you use the chèque employ service, you may get most of your money back for the social taxes in the form of tax deductions.
Ecole Maternelle – Available for children over 2 years old, but they are typically enrolled at the age of 3 until they begin school at 6 years old. It is completely free, with after school care typically an option for an fee. Children are taught based on a standard curriculum to better prepare them for entering school. It often takes a child up to 6 months to catch up to others if they did not attend an Ecole maternelle beforehand.
Did I leave anything out? Please comment below if you think I am missing anything.
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