The Danish public childcare system is based on a partial free system, and although some day care institutions have waiting lists, most guarantee a place for children from the age of one. The options consist of day nurseries (birth to 3 years), kindergartens (3–6 years) and pre-school/after-school centers (6–10 years). In addition, there is local day care (“day nannies”) in which children are cared for privately.
For children below the age of three, parents can choose nursery (Danish: vuggestue) or family day care (Danish: dagpleje). A nursery is an institution designed to look after larger groups of small children while family day care involves only four or five children, looked after by a childminder in his/her own home.
Childcare for three to five year-olds takes place in kindergartens. Most Danish kindergartens are public, but you will also find private ones. Almost all Danish families send their children to kindergarten. All Danish kindergartens have professionally trained staff, but children don’t receive preschool teaching. Instead, Danish kindergartens stimulate children’s social, linguistic and democratic skills, primarily through play.
Childcare facilities receive financial support from the state. The amount payable out of pocket by parents is at most 30 percent of the actual cost. The opening hours of the care facilities are in most cases 6:30 am to 5 pm and Fridays until 4 pm. A maximum of 48 hours of care is offered per week. You can register your child for one of these services in the municipality administration office (in Danish: Pladsanvisningen).
Learn more about childcare and how to sign up for childcare at lifeindenmark.dk