topics
tools
Expatica countries
editor's choice

Lost in Cheeseland: How to become an expat in France

Top myths about Paris

Is an international MBA the right degree for you?

Childcare in France

Relocation programmes remain small, focused and consistent

Index Last Var.(%)
BEL 20 3083.51 0.32
DAX 9605.08 0.17
IBEX 30 10058.5 -1.04
CAC 40 4387.61 -0.20
FTSE 100 6806.86 -0.05
AEX 397.5 -0.20
DJIA 16272.65 0.46
Nasdaq 4318.933 0.63
FTSE MIB 20298.33 -0.11
TSX Composite 14214.35 0.18
ASX 5415.4 -0.10
Hang seng 22836.96 0.04
Straits Times 3110.78 0.45
ISEQ 20 836.3 0.23
EUR / USD 1.37976 0.67
EUR / GBP 0.82571 0.59
USD / GBP 0.598544 -0.10
Gold 1329.6 -0.13
Oil 108.9 -0.76
Silver 21.28 0.08
You are here: Home Education Pre-school Life in France: A guide to daycare
Enlarge font Decrease font Text size


05/09/2011Life in France: A guide to daycare

Life in France: A guide to daycare France has a generous pre-school and daycare centers but it can still be challenging to find an open spot, especially in Paris. Here's how to find a daycare and successfully put your child in daycare.

Related Articles
Parents can send their babies to both publicly and privately run nurseries, called crèches, as soon as the child is three months old (the end of the average maternity leave).

French public nurseries and daycare centres are funded by local and regional authorities and by means-tested parental fees. Most are open 11 hours a day and close only for one month over the summer period, as well as on public holidays.

All public and private nursery staff must meet strict standards of training, and are required to hold a childcare diploma. For information on the crèches or haltes garderies in your area, consult your local town hall, mairie.

All French cities and towns offer this service but small, rural localities may have a limited number of places and in big cities, demand often outstrips availability. No matter where you live, you are strongly advised to put your name down in advance. This is sometimes the first thing a French family does as soon as they find out they are expecting a child.


Alternatives for babies and toddlers

For babies or for after-school care for older children, there is also a system of qualified nannies, assistantes maternelles, who are paid to either look after children either on their own premises or at your home; they are allowed to take a maximum of five children at one time.

An assistante maternelle holds a state childcare diploma and is subject to regular inspections. You can find a list of qualified nannies from your mairie.

There is also a system of crèches parentales, which are nurseries run by parent associations. These nurseries, which employ qualified assistantes maternelles, are licensed by the mairie; check there for details of the one nearest you.

The crèches parentales  are non-profit; parents pay an equal share of the costs, often provide food and equipment, and take an active role in nursery management.

The common French word for nanny is nourrice; a person advertising services as a nourrice is always not the same thing as a state-qualified assistante maternelle.

Because of the stiff competition for qualified daycare, many parents end up hiring a private nanny. There are many agencies in Paris and other large cities to you help you locate one; some even specialise in finding bilingual childcare givers.

Hiring a nanny privately is also perfectly legal as long as the person is a legal resident and the employer pays all associated social-security charges; any paid work over five hours per week is subject to these charges.

To make this easier, the government has created the chèque emploi service, which both simplifies the process and returns nearly all of these charges in the form of tax deductions.

To sign up, obtain the forms from your bank, the post office, or from the local treasury office, comptable du trésor. Once the account is established that will be used to debit the social-security charges, you can contact your local URSFF office (see Social security system) to identify yourself as an employer. This can also be done online.


Ecole Maternelle

Children in France can begin public nursery school, or école maternelle, as early as two years old presuming the child is completely potty-trained, propre.

Here again, school is not mandatory until age six and while the maternelles are state-funded, they do not guarantee placement. Register your child early to guarantee their place.

The school-day here includes three hours in the morning and three in the evening; parents are allowed to pick up their children for the lunch break, which is often two hours long.

It is common for schools to offer both a lunch service and a childcare service, service de puériculture, on the premises both before and after school and during school breaks; while the schooling itself is free, you pay for these additional services. Fees are usually means-based and quite reasonable.

The maternelle is not merely daycare; they teach a state-mandated curriculum and children who miss these years of preparation may be at a disadvantage when they start primary school at age six.



 Expatica



3 reactions to this article

Baptiste Placé posted: 2012-11-29 19:07:18

Finding a nearby crèche is quite easy with this site : http://allocreche.fr/

Getting a slot is the hard part, every crèche in France is always full. General advice is to contact a crèche six months before birth and register for a slot. It's wise to get in touch with several crèches before registering with one.

Few steps will be required then, before getting the slot, including a meeting with the manager of the crèche. Good luck !

Alix posted: 2013-04-06 23:27:12

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

wafa posted: 2013-06-05 11:35:06

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

3 reactions to this article

Baptiste Placé posted: 2012-11-29 19:07:18

Finding a nearby crèche is quite easy with this site : http://allocreche.fr/

Getting a slot is the hard part, every crèche in France is always full. General advice is to contact a crèche six months before birth and register for a slot. It's wise to get in touch with several crèches before registering with one.

Few steps will be required then, before getting the slot, including a meeting with the manager of the crèche. Good luck !

Alix posted: 2013-04-06 23:27:12

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

wafa posted: 2013-06-05 11:35:06

[Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]

 
 
 
 
 
Inside Expatica
Management culture in France

Management culture in France

This handy guide from Expertise in Labour Mobility includes information on business hierarchy, negotiations, and etiquette.

American associations and clubs in Paris

American associations and clubs in Paris

A listing of organizations in the Paris area that cater primarily to Americans living in France. Updated April 2011.

British associations and clubs in Paris

British associations and clubs in Paris

Our handy guide to the British community in Paris, from cricket clubs to Scottish country dancing lessons to where to find a jar of Marmite.

Anglophone services in France

Anglophone services in France

Here's a short introduction to our Banking section for those living in France, from how to open a bank account to Islamic banking and investments.