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.
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:
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