- Full childcare
- Out-of-school care
- Contact information
Buitenschoolseopvang , naschoolseopvang and voorschoolseopvang mean care of your child out of school hours, after school and before school respectively. You can bring your child here from 7am or 7.30, and she will be looked after and taken to school, and they will fetch your child from school and keep them until (generally) 6.30. Your child will be served an after-school snack and, if the BSO offers later picking-up (7pm or later), sometimes a hot meal. A BSO will generally to take care of your child from age 4-12 (primary school age), although SKO in Oegstgeest also takes teenagers (see below).
Ask the BSO what kind of activities they offer; most seem to give a range of knutsel -y (craft) options, plus all the toys you'd expect, and sometimes outings or workshops on a particular theme. For the younger child it's worth checking that they will also have the option of curling up on a sofa for a cuddle or a peaceful time with a book or a teddy bear (in a separate room from the rioting seven-year-olds) when they come out of school; the early months are exhausting enough for a four-year-old without even more obligatory group activities after school has finished. To this end, some BSOs separate under-sixes (children still in the kleuterklas , the kindergarten) from the Group-3-ers and older.
Some BSOs are linked to a crèche either in the building or nearby. Being right by the daycare during the transition to school can be a good thing, in that your child is likely to see many of her chums from the crèche in her new after-school group. Other BSOs are at different locations, often near one school in particular. BSOs normally serve only the schools that are geographically (relatively) close, picking up children on foot or in enormous bakfietsen more like cycle-propelled charabancs, or by minibus if distances are greater.
In the holidays a BSO will look after your child full-time, like a crèche. Now they have the time to be more adventurous; they will often organise outings of some kind, to swimming pools, local playgrounds, museums etc..
The BSOs are listed here.
BSOs nominally take children until age 12, or in the case of SKO in Oegstgeest until 16. Despite this, they tend to have relatively few children over about ten. What can happen is that a child who has been to the BSO since it started school is bored of it by the age of nine or ten and wants to be able to play on the street at home, with other children who are at home with parent/minder/neighbour. Many parents here hand over a house key at an age you may find surprisingly young, making informal arrangements with an older child next door/another adult to keep an eye until they return. This means that BSOs can seem to be the realm of the under-nines (or so), with little on offer for the older child, so that if you do not wish to/cannot have your nine-year-old home alone three afternoons a week, you may well have a thoroughly bored child! It can be a tricky stage and if this is an issue for you I recommend coming right out with it to your BSO and talking with them about what they can offer the older child.
SKO in Oegstgeest specifically targets teenagers at some of its centres.
One recent development which could help is the 'take your child to its activity' service which some BSOs are now offering. All three of SKO's centres in Oegstgeest, and Compananny (also Oegstgeest) will arrange this for you, and many Leiden BSOs (e.g. Pimmetje), and very welcome it is, not only because it gives an older child a more interesting time, but also for the sake of all those parents who otherwise would have to squeeze ferrying to music, sport, clubs etc. into their limited afternoon(s) at home.
Debatably the best for both child and parent as the child grows into the going-to-activities stage (if not earlier) is to have a childminder pick up the children from school and look after them at your home. Finding an after-school childminder via 'formal' routes (agencies) can be very difficult, though, as most 'career childminders' prefer to do full daycare (plus it's tricky taking your infant charges with you on the school run). There is however a large number of families (mine included) who happily employ university students for after-school care, which gives the best of both worlds; the four-year-old has the downtime he needs after a busy day at school and the ten-year-old can cycle off and visit her friend. I would encourage you to look at the HomeinLeiden 'Find a Babysitter' section and ask around at the Vogelwijk group, as I know many a family who has found a solution in this way. If that fails, Compananny (Oegstgeest, www.compananny.nl
) act as an agency for their own qualified staff, offering a childminder service in your own home; this has the additional advantage of being fully eligible for the childcare subsidy.