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Childcare in Denmark – what you need to know as an expat

Get insights into the Danish daycare system and see whether you, as an expat would like to enrol your children in a nursery or kindergarten.

Denmark is known for the level of care which we offer to families with small children. Legally you get 52 weeks of paternity leave with benefits which is to be shared between the parents as you see fit – although the mother has the right to the first 14 weeks. Read more about your rights and options as an expat in Denmark here.

Most families in Denmark opt for sending their children to either a nursery or a family daycare around the time when they turn one year old so that both parents can return to their respective work. Even families where one of the parents isn’t employed opt for some kind of daycare to make sure their children get socially stimulated from a young age. All institutions are subsidized, so you won’t have to pay the full price. For instance, user payment In Copenhagen is below 4.000 DKK a month for nurseries.

Nursery or family daycare – it’s your choice

There’s a big difference between nurseries and family daycares in Denmark. With a family daycare, your child is nursed in a private home by a childminder who typically take care of up to 5 children. The childminder won’t need a formal education but is chosen based on personal qualifications.

The Danish nurseries, on the other hand, are run by the local municipality with trained pedagogues in charge. There are both autonomous nurseries taking care of children up to the age of 3, and integrated institutions housing both a nursery and kindergarten. In a Danish nursery, there’s a staff member for every 3 children. Children typically leave their daycare or nursery around their 3rd birthday to join a kindergarten.

Kindergarten in Denmark – not the typical preschool

Many expats and foreigners are surprised when they visit a Danish kindergarten. There’s very little focus on ”preschool” elements until the last year, where the staff introduces more play-based learning and concentration tasks to make the children ready for school. Until then, the core focus is on motoric development, creativity, learning social skills, and language development.

There’s a kindergarten teacher for every 5 children making it possible to do dedicated projects with small groups. There’s a dedicated focus on the development of the individual child, and parents are guided and challenged by the staff to help their children evolve.

Denmark is well-known for specialized institutions like farm- and forest kindergartens where children are outside most of the day, and even the traditional kindergartens typically have large playgrounds and take on lots of excursions with local zoos, theaters, and parks being preferred destinations.

An international preschool in Denmark

To make it easier for children of expats to get a good start after relocating to Denmark, many parent opt for an English speaking kindergarten. Copenhagen International School offers one of the few English kindergartens in Denmark as part of our IB Primary Years Programme. Thus, we offer an integrated program where the transition from kindergarten to school is as smooth as possible.

We specialize in expats and welcome children from more than 80 nationalities every school year, so your child will feel right at home away from home.

Do you want to see it with your own eyes?

Book a digital tour or sit in on a preschool class to see how we merge the best parts of the Danish educational system with the well-known IB school framework. You can also talk directly to our admission team to get familiar with your options. Find a time slot that suits you now.

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