Admission requirements and choice of ECEC setting
The Act on Children's Group distinguishes two types of children's groups (dětská skupina). Only children of the provider's employees or children of employees of another employer based on the agreement between employers are admitted to the first type of children´s group. If the provider is an institute, a church or denomination, a region, a municipality or a legal entity established by it, a public benefit corporation, a foundation or endowment fund, a higher education institution, an association, a public research institution, and a childminder, all children can attend the children's group.
If the provider requests a state allowance, the service can only be provided by parents who can document their connection to the labour market in the prescribed manner.
A child between the ages of 6 months and 12 months can only be admitted to a group of a maximum of four children, all of whom are under the age of 4. The specific age range of children for their children's group is determined by the provider in the internal rules.
The service is provided on the basis of a contract between the provider and the parent. The contract also includes internal rules and an programme of education and care. The parent is thus demonstrably familiar with the focus of the children's group and can choose a device that meets his requirements.
As part of the verification of the quality of care based on the standards set by the Decree on Implementing Certain Provisions of the Act on Providing Childcare in a Children's Group, the procedure for adapting a child to a children's group is assessed.
According to the Act on Protection of Public Health, the legal guardian of the children must show that the child has undergone prescribed regular vaccinations or that he/she cannot be vaccinated due to permanent contraindication.
Group size and child/staff ratios
In the children's group (dětská skupina) the maximum number of children per group is 24. The Act on Children's Group stipulates following rules:
- in bigger group from 13 to 24 children – at least 3 workers per group
- in bigger group from 7 to 12 children – at least 2 workers per group
- in small group up to 6 children – at least 1 workers per group
- if the provider is a childminder – maximum of 4 children in a group, including his/her own children
- children from 6 to 12 months – always cared for only in a group of up to 4 children under 4 years of age
When determining the number of childminders, the provider is obliged to take into account the health status of children, the length of stay of children in the children's group and the age of children, especially the number of children under 2 years of age.
All childcare workers have to have an imposed qualification in the area of health or social care or education, the minimum requirement being ISCED level 3.
Annual, weekly and daily organisation
In the children's groups (dětské skupiny), the annual organisation is completely the responsibility of the provider.
Even the weekly and daily schedule is not set in details from the central level. According to the Act on Children's Group, the children's group should provide regular care and enable the attendance of children for at least 6 hours a day. The specific timetable can be included in the rules of organisation and in the programme of education and care. The timing of the services has to be agreed in the contract between parents and the provider. The Decree on Implementing Certain Provisions of the Act on Providing Childcare in a Children's Group within the standards for quality of care stipulates that part of the day should be reserved for a stay outside. This decree also stipulates some other operating conditions for children's groups of up to 12 children. Larger groups are covered by the Decree on Sanitary Standards in Institutions and Facilities for Education of Children and Youth, which stipulates that the daily period of stay outdoors is generally 2 hours in the morning (with some exceptions), while in the afternoon it depends on the duration of child´s stay in the facility.
Outside the opening hours of the children's group, the premises may also be used for other activities, provided that the legal requirements are complied with.
If meals are provided and the provider requests an amount for meals as part of the allowance, the relevant nutritional standards must be observed, which are given for children under 3 years of age by the Decree on Implementing Certain Provisions of the Act on Providing Childcare in a Children's Group, and for older children by the Decree on School Catering. Children from 6 to 12 months are always catered for by a parent.