New quality rules for playgroups

The cabinet is taking steps to improve pre-school provision for toddlers by introducing tougher quality rules for council-run playgroups.

The new rules, drawn up by the social affairs and education ministry, are due to come into effect in January 2016. Working parents will also be able to claim benefits to help pay for a place at a playgroup as well as at formal daycare.

‘Good childcare and playgroups are in the interests of every child,’ social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher said in his briefing to parliament. ‘They give children more opportunities in their school career and on the jobs market.’


The new rules, which also state all staff must speak good Dutch, will lessen the differences between different types of pre-school care and education for toddlers.

At the moment, there are three formal types of pre-school care in the Netherlands. Kinderopvang, or daycare centres, are largely owned by the private sector. Parents pay income-dependent fees for up to five days a week but are also entitled to government subsidies.

The playgroup, or peuterspeelzaal, offers more informal care to working and non-working parents for two mornings or afternoons a week. They are run by local councils and may charge a small fee.

The third variant is pre-school education (vve), aimed at children considered to be at risk of not speaking sufficient Dutch to cope with ordinary school when they start at the age of four. Pre-school education is funded by the government and the responsibility of local councils.

Some 240,000 children aged 2.5 to four years go to some sort of pre-school provision.

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