Childcare services in EU Member States

Childcare services are services intended for the children in the age before going to primary school. Until now this was the ages from three years old until the age when child goes to primary school, which is different in some EU Member States. But now and in some countries in future this age is changing. In some countries children go to school at the same age, but the childcare models are different in every single country.
There are two different groups of Member States according to development. In the first group are EU-15 Member States and they already have developed childcare services and are concentrating on improving the quality of the services. In second group are the countries that don’t have developed childcare services yet, but are expected to grow seriously in the future.

In the graph bellow you can see annual expenditure on public and private pre-primary education in Member States in years 1997 and 2002:Figure 1

Source: OECD Statistics Database, 2005

Only in this figures we can see how much one country differs from another. We can see that the biggest spenders are Scandinavian countries and they also have the biggest investing in this sector per capita. The difference can be seen in the education of the personnel  caring for children in childcare (this differs also from age of caring children) and in the number of children per carer. This number differs from 3 children per carer to 13 children per carer. But becouse of big differances in the countries models, we cannot make any statistics on which we could compare childcare by countries.

In the second graph we can se the projection of population of children under  the age of 5 for EU from year 1975 to the year 2050:

Figure 2

Source: Eurostat, Statistics Database, 2005

With this we can see that population is getting even older, and European population in not among youngest in the first place. And the rate of children under the age of five in population is decreasing faster than in other countries. I think this is the sector where the education of the workers and the number of workers wanting to work in this sector is increasing and if the demand is going to decrease, than we could see a problem in this sector in the future.

In the past childcare was orientated to preparing for education children from the age of 3 years old until the age of going to primary school but now this is changing. They are starting to prepare children even earlier. And I think this is very wrong. Children are supposed to have fun at least at young age, we all know how life starts becoming stressfull as we are getting older. There are always new problems and the only time in our life we are without worries is in childhood. Parents are pushing their children too much already because they think it is going to be better for them, that they will enable them better life, so they are signing them up for after school projects and I think this is also too much. But we cannot control parents, but if we start pushing them to much from this young age I think we will not manage better life for generation after us. And if if countries are going to find opportunity to make work places in this sector is not going to end well in the end.


Blaž Kralj, Alicja Falińska


5 thoughts on “Childcare services in EU Member States

  1. Regarding the lower age-group (0 to 3 years), only five Member States have beaten the 33% coverage rate, while five others such as the UK are still gradually moving towards this target. In the UK this age group only attends these childcare facilities on a part-time basis. Although this is a young age to send them to these facilities it allows parents to still earn an income and spend time with their children. It also benefits the child by allowing them to develop at a young age, in different aspects without their parents.

    – Kelly, Lauren, Becky

  2. »An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest«. (Benjamin Franklin)
    We can see in the graph above that Norway spent in 2002 the most money of all countries; for public and private pre-primary education. Nowadays Norway spends 16.2 percent of its budget on education spending. The reasons why the spend big amount of money are: they put a lot into the education programmes, into the welfare state and they have high investment in technology, research and development. (Sources:

  3. I agree with the last part of the article. Children (0-4 age) should play and enjoy childhood. In the five year of life would have slowly parents prepare for school life, but it is not to force anything. It is necessary to promote children’s playfulness and not to force them into things, sports clubs, etc. where you they do not want.

  4. I agree too with the last part of the article.Children should enjoy their childhood,but the problem is that the parents have to work because the different kinds of aids are only enough for 1-2 year so after they have to work again,which is a bad trend because the parents should raise up the kind not “strangers”. I think if a child doesn t spend enough time with his/her parents he won’t honour them enough,and they will learn this and they will do the same with their children so this will cause a never ending negative spiral. So in 50 years when a baby is born will go straight to a childcare service ?

  5. I believe that childcare services and population aging are much related. Childcare service is the one of the reason why couples decide to have kids. Nowadays, when there is no job, if the country would not contribute something, many couples will not take the risk of not being able to offer them everything they need. So it becomes vicious circle. I totally agree with the last part, children have to be children and at lest enjoy in that period of time.


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