- Full childcare
- Out-of-school care
- Contact information
These are for children from the age of about 10 weeks to 4 years. Some crèches have 'vertical groups' where children of all ages are in the same group, others separate babies and toddlers into two groups. Quality and atmosphere vary greatly, so do take a thorough look at the crèche before you register. Many have waiting lists (although these have eased somewhat since the economic crisis), and since you can register from the third month of pregnancy, it's good to start looking around well in advance to see what you want.
Some days are more popular than others; typically Monday, Tuesday and Thursday are the busiest, because Wednesday and Friday are often half-days for primary schools. This can mean that if you're in a hurry you may find a place sooner if you can be flexible with your days. Hours are generally 7.30am to 6.30pm these days (and you really, really don't want to be late too often...) and some creches offer extended care to later in the evenings, generally with an evening meal.
Crèches here will feed your child during the day, so no need for packed lunches; they will get a morning snack, lunch and an afternoon snack. This being Holland, lunch will normally be a bread meal, quite possibly with hagelslag on offer... Some crèches (e.g. Compananny in Oegstgeest) offer a hot meal at lunchtime, and it's good quality food (HomeinLeiden has tried and enjoyed Compananny's meals) although don't get too excited; it will be pre-packaged, not prepared on the premises.
Leiden has 'one-of-a-kind' crèches, groups that have expanded to centres at two or more locations, and a couple of organisations that own a large number of crèches in the area. These last (Smallsteps (used to be B4Kids), www.smallsteps.nl, in the Leiden area, and in Oegstgeest SKO, www.sko-oegstgeest.nl) are a relict of the time when such things were organised and subsidised by the municipality, but they are now run as private companies like any other. No kind is by definition better or worse than the other; all are subject to the same legal requirements for staffing, safety etc., and all differ slightly in feeling and atmosphere.
There are two English-speaking crèches in the Leiden area, Teddy Kids Palace (www.teddykids.nl) on the Herenstraat and Zeemanlaan, their BSO on the Voorschoterweg, and in Oegstgeest at Compananny on the Rhijngeesterstraatweg, www.compananny.nl/vestigingen/oegstgeest.
If you'd like a review of a particular crèche, try posting your question on the Leiden mamas Facebook group.
Both B4Kids and SKO also operate as childminder agencies. B4Kids also offers a 'babysitter service' (oppascentrale), for evening/weekend sitting. This is essentially a 'matchmaker' service, where for a small annual fee they will put you in touch with potential babysitters. These have had a very basic screening, although they have not the kind of full checks that a registered childminder has gone through.
HomeinLeiden learned recently with some surprise that B4Kids also offers a 'Dinerservice' at some of its daycare centres, so that when the exhausted parent picks up its infant(s) at the end of a working day, it can also pick up a full pre-prepared dinner for all the family.
Compananny will help lead you through the admin for the childcare subsidy if you ask, and are very good at explaining.
You can find a list of crèches and BSOs in the Leiden area here.