Finding childcare in China

Updated 2022-09-17 20:27

Are you moving to China with your children? If so, you will probably have to find suitable childcare for them during your working hours. This should not be too difficult, as the country offers different types of child care: nurseries, pre-primary schools, private nanny services, and more. However, private childcare facilities and international kindergartens and schools can be quite expensive. Here's what you need to know.

Pre-school education

The Chinese education system is very elaborate. It includes nurseries, kindergartens, special needs schools, primary and secondary schools. Pre-school education begins as early as one year of age, especially in large urban areas. Parent and child pre-school training programs are available for families with children starting from six months: in this case, you will need to come to the kindergarten together with your child for mini-classes, including games and socializing. As for nurseries and childcare centers, these generally cater to children from three months of age.

During schooling in kindergarten, your child will be introduced to learning the alphabet, numbers, rhymes, songs, etc. They will also be entitled to extra-curricular activities such as educational outings, arts & crafts classes, dance performances, competitions, etc.

When deciding how to organize your child's pre-school education, you will be choosing between public, private and international kindergartens.

Enrolling your child in a public kindergarten is generally possible –– however, it is not often recommended for expat children. China has a rather specific preschool education system, and it may not be the best fit for your child. If you are not comfortable with sending your child to a public preschool facility, consider a private one. You will find private and international kindergartens in all of China's first-tier cities. Note, however, that monthly tuition tends to be on the expensive side.

To register your child, you must call at the school in person, producing your identification documents and proof of residence. Fees generally vary according to the institution's level and the province and city you reside in. You are also advised to go and check out the potential pre-school facility in person, talk with the teachers and even attend classes before signing up your child –– this is common practice among Chinese parents.

Nanny services in China

If your child is above three months old, you can also hire a nanny. It is generally a good solution if you are looking for a job in China, have to go out for a few hours, or even have a demanding full-time job. You can easily find nannies in China through local agencies, classified ads or expat parent communities and forums. A lot of nannies from the neighboring Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia also come to work in China.

You can hire a nanny for several hours a day on a full-time basis or have her live with your family. With more and more women in China coming back to work early after having children, a lot of households, especially in big cities, have a live-in nanny. Fees have to be negotiated depending on working hours, living conditions, additional benefits, etc.

Useful links:

China Education Center

Chinese Ministry of Education

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