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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisation of ECEC for children aged under 3 years

Belgium - German-Speaking Community

4.Early childhood education and care

4.2Organisation of ECEC for children aged under 3 years

Last update: 27 November 2023

Admission requirements and choice of ECEC setting

Parents must have a connection to the German-speaking Community in order to enrol their child in childcare there, meaning that they must either live or work in the German-speaking Community.

Parents are free to choose which facility they send their child to as long as places available. Unlike for schools, there is no guarantee of getting a place because there are fewer places than children. There is a waiting list, which is usually filled at least 1 year in advance of  the relevant Kinderkrippe year.

The principle is first come, first served. However, there are exceptions. A child is given priority in terms of receiving a place if:

  • the child has a sibling in the facility;
  • the child is at risk;
  • the child lives in one of the municipalities where kinderkrippe are oversubscribed. 

Group size and child-staff ratios

Each kinderkrippe  has a capacity of 24 places for children aged 0-3 years. They are divided into three groups based on developmental stage rather than age. 

The childcare workers in a kinderkrippe must have at least a qualification as an infant carer, childcare worker, or educator or an equivalent diploma. There must be three childcare workers for 18 infants (i.e. a ratio of 1:6) as well as socio-educational staff.

A childminder house is composed of a maximum of three full-time equivalent child-minders. They may look after 12 children at a time. However, in exceptional cases, it is possible for each house to care for up to 18 children.

The maximum capacity of an affiliated child-minder is four children under the age of 3 years and two children  aged of 12 years at the same time, including their own children. Exceptions to exceeding the maximum capacity are possible under certain circumstances for a limited period of time.

In the case of self-employed child-minders, the maximum capacity for simultaneous care is limited to four children under the age of 3 years and an additional two children aged of 12 years, including the child-minder’s own children up to the age of 6 years. Exceptions to exceeding the maximum occupancy under certain circumstances are possible for a limited time if there are care shortages.

Annual, weekly and daily organisation

Kinderkrippen are open from Monday to Friday from 07.30 am to 5.30 pm. According to the government decree of 22 May 2014, a Kinderkrippe must have 220 open days and an average occupancy rate of 70% in order to be subsidised. At the beginning of the year, the service informs the parents of the closed days.

Childminders set their own timetable. They can also provide care during the night and on weekends and public holidays. 

In addition to public holidays. conventional childminders are entitled to a maximum of 20 days of holidays per year, which they can take whenever they like.

Self-employed childminders and childminding services determine the number of holidays and closed days themselves, but they also must notify parents of the closed days at the beginning of the year.