Finding childcare services in Turkey

Updated 2020-05-25 15:31

Characterised by a very child-friendly culture, Turkey offers ample amenities and services designed to cater to the educational, health and leisure needs of your children.

Find out more about primary and secondary schooling in our article on education in Turkey.

Daycare options in Turkey

Although pre-school is not mandatory in Turkey, many parents elect to enrol their children in a yuva (nursery school) to help them learn the basics of community living ' and incidentally to get a well-deserved break from parenting duties.

Most yuva amenities are paid, private institutions, but the government is working to develop the network of public preschool establishments. Major cities like Istanbul are testing to offer free nursery school services financed by local municipalities at certain regions. Alternatively, you can find grassroots daycare services at the scale of neighbourhoods: parents take turns to watch the kids of the community during the daytime, or one parent commits to do it full time for a small compensation.

Finally, a number of schools and foundations, such as the Play 'n' Learn centre in Taksim, Istanbul, offer private child personal development programs in various fields such as art and music.

Child healthcare services in Turkey

Both government hospitals and private clinics will give you access to paediatricians and other specialists of infant and child health. The Hacettepe Children's Hospital, in Ankara, is recognised as the best facility in the country for children health care.

In addition to the control checks, you might want to have performed regularly, make sure you comply with the mandatory vaccinations calendar for infants and children defined by the Turkish law. Your paediatrician should be able to provide you with detailed information.

Good to know: If you are insured under the national social security system (SGK), coverage automatically extends to your children under 18. For more information, see our Healthcare in Turkey article.

For supplies, many stores across the city offer mother- and baby-care products, some of them organic. Maternity and baby clothes can primarily be found in specialised shops, but many mainstream apparel brands now also have dedicated mother-and-child lines.

Children's entertainment in Turkey

The country's main cities are home to countless cultural and entertainment facilities apt to capture children's interest.

In Istanbul, the Miniaturk, an open-air entertainment park, displays dozens of scale models of Turkish buildings of historical significance. Nearby, the Rahmi M Koc Museum, dedicated to the history of industry and transport, allows children to sit at the wheel of vintage vehicles or to conduct child-friendly scientific experiments. Still in Istanbul, the Toy museum showcases a collection of thousands of toys, some of them are 300 years old.

For an adrenaline rush, many theme parks are dotted all over the country.

Play areas in Turkey

Major urban parks on the European bank of Istanbul include the sizeable Macka Park around Besiktas, Gülhane Park in the Eminonu district that was established more than 100 years ago, and the Emirgan Park in the Sariyer district with fascinating Bosphorus view. The Asian side tends to be globally greener and notably boast a wide swath of grassed area peppered with playgrounds on the sea-line of the Moda area. The Princes' Islands, which can be reached by a short ferry ride from mainland Istanbul, offer child-friendly outdoors entertainment such as bicycle rentals in a green and natural setting.

For Ankara-dwellers, children will find playgrounds and ample green spaces in the Genclik Amusement Park in Altındag or the Segmenler Park in the central district of Cankaya.

Finally, many shopping malls enclose entertainment centres, arcade games areas, playgrounds or mini theme parks.

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