The UK has some of the highest childcare costs in the world, according to data from the OECD. In the UK families could spend a whopping 75% of their monthly income on childcare, which discourages women from going back to work.
How does this compare to the Czech Republic and what childcare options are available there?
In global statistics, Prague ranks as one of Europe’s and the world’s best places for raising a family. The most recent study analysed 130 European cities in the areas of education, health and safety, and leisure and lifestyle with the Czech capital coming out at number 5.
Education in the Czech Republic is free, but there are some exceptions.
Like preschools which are paid for by parents, though only the last year before entering elementary school is free. Most children attend state schools, but there are also newly established private and church schools.
Private nurseries vary widely in how much they charge: anywhere from around 7,000 CZK per month for a few days a week of half-day care to upwards of 15,000 CZK per month for full-time care.
The Czech Republic doesn’t have any public daycare facilities for children up to 3 years old. Only private; monthly fee starts at 300 euros. Children can start attending kindergarten as early as age 3. You must show proof of the child’s and legal guardian’s identification in order to enrol them in kindergarten. A visa can be used as identification documentation.
Children aged 6–15 usually attend elementary schools, which is compulsory for 9 years. You can ask for a delay only in case there are actual indications for that, other than the child not speaking Czech well enough.
On the enrolment day, you would need to bring the following documents with you :
- Birth certificate
- Application form
- Health insurance card
- Proof of address in the catchment area (if you are applying for the district school)
- Report cards from previous years (if the child is changing schools)
A brief interview might be held with the child, but it is indeed more of a chat than a test.
Finding and Choosing Childcare:
Unfortunately, Czechia has one of the lowest accessibility rates of childcare facilities for small children in the EU. However, The government has pledged to reintroduce nurseries in the Czech Republic, which will completely replace children’s groups, as of September 2024.
What types of preschools are there?
- Public kindergarten (Státní mateřská škola)
- Private kindergarten (Soukromá mateřská škola)
- Nursery (Jesle)
- Children group (Dětská Skupina)
- Forest kindergartens (Lesní školka)
- Baby-sitting clubs (Mateřský klub)
Important questions to ask when choosing a preschool
- Is there a garden on the premises?
- How often and how long do you stay outside?
- What is your legal status?
- Do you follow the National Framework Curriculum?
- Can children complete their mandatory school year at your school?
- Are you open throughout the summer holidays?
- Are your teachers certified?
- Are the teachers in your school native English speakers?
- What does your adaptation program look like?
Language barrier in Childcare institutions
If you planning to move to the Czech Republic you may worried about the language barrier.
Foreigners are now entitled to Czech language training within compulsory pre-school education in order to ensure a smooth transition to primary education.
In kindergartens with a higher share of foreigners, language training groups will be set up for this purpose and these kindergartens will be financially supported to provide foreign children with language training for one hour per week.
In primary education, the concept of regionally designated schools supporting migrants will be continued, and their accessibility will be significantly enhanced (always at least one school in the administrative district of the municipality will be designated to provide the additional language support). Czech language training for migrant pupils will take place during school hours, with pupils being released from classes that overlap with language training. The scope of support will be a minimum of 100 and a maximum of 200 hours, according to individual outcomes of the indicative entrance test. The language training groups will be operating both in present and distance learning mode.
State social support
– Child allowance basic long-term benefit provided to families with dependent children. A dependent child up to the age of 26 years, living in a family with an income of less than 3.4 times the family’s living minimum is entitled to this allowance.
– Housing allowance – Property owners or tenants having residence in that property are entitled to a housing allowance if 30% of family income is insufficient to cover housing costs and at the same time this 30% of family income is lower than the relevant prescriptive costs set by law. The level of housing allowance is set as the difference between prescriptive housing costs and the relevant family income multiplied by a coefficient of 0.30.
– Parental allowance – A parent who personally and duly cares for a child who is the youngest in the family is entitled to parental allowance. Parental allowance is provided until the total amount of 300,000 CZK is drawn, a maximum of up to 4 years of the child’s age. In the case of twins or more children born at the same time, the total amount extends to 450,000 CZK.
The parent’s income is not tested; the parent may carry out an occupational activity without losing their entitlement to parental allowance. However, during the period of this occupational activity, the parent must ensure that the child is in the care of another adult.
– Birth grant – This is a one-off benefit for low-income families to help them to cover costs related to the birth of their first and second live-born child. Families are entitled to the birth grant provided the family income in the calendar quarter prior to the birth of the child does not exceed 2.7 times the family’s living minimum. The birth grant amounts to 13,000 CZK for the first child and 10,000 CZK for the second child.
Applying for benefits
Applications for state social support benefits are handled by the contact points of the Regional Branches of the Labour Office of the Czech Republic based on the (permanent) residence of the person entitled to the benefit (the eligible applicant).
Applications for benefits are submitted on forms prescribed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. The addresses of the Regional Branches of the Labour Office of the Czech Republic can be found at https://www.uradprace.cz/web/cz/kontakty-2. The application forms are available from https://www.mpsv.cz/web/cz/formulare.
Entitlement to benefits
Persons – Czech citizens and foreigners – have a right to benefits if they and the family/household members assessed jointly with them are registered permanent residents in the Czech Republic and have their residence here. For non-EU foreign nationals, the registration as permanently resident in the Czech Republic is considered to be the period once 365 days have passed since the date they registered to stay in the Czech Republic. This does not include any period during which a person is seeking asylum. Act No 117/1995 Coll. on State Social Support stipulates other persons are eligible for state social support benefits if they have a residence in the Czech Republic. In the range of persons covered, there are also EU nationals who are subject to directly applicable legislation of the EU.