Child care services in Switzerland
Child care centres are managed and funded by communes within each canton. Children are admitted to facilities in their local community. Fees for public centres are charged on a sliding scale according to income. Private child care centres have fixed fees and are generally more expensive. However, waiting lists for public centres are frequently longer. It is advisable to apply for child care as soon as you know where you will be living.
Crèches (day care centres) are generally open Monday to Friday, 07:00-18:30. The age of admittance is from about three months to four years old. They usually follow a pre-school curriculum. Some crèches also offer lunch and after school care for older children, up to about age 11.
Child care in Lausanne
Each district runs a network with which all public nurseries, crèches, pre-schools and child-minders (mamans de jour) must register. Check Vaud Famille (FR) to find your local network. The Red Cross (Croix Rouge, Rotes Kreuz) (site in French/German) offers qualified babysitting services, bookable in advance. This service is for occasional child care support. Anibis (DE/FR/IT) is a popular free website for the French section of Switzerland where private individuals post and respond to ads on all different topics. Use it to find babysitters, cleaners, day care, jobs, apartments, cars, etc.
A few day care centres to start your search:
- Little Green House English/French/German nursery
- Les Petits Acrobates (FR)
- Le Microcosme (FR)
- La Nanosphère (FR)
- Cap Canaille - English/French nursery
Starting primary school in Lausanne
From the age of four it is compulsory for children to attend kindergarten (Jardin d'enfants) in Switzerland. Primary school is compulsory at age six. Curriculum in schools includes languages, science, mathematics, art, music and sport.
Public schools in Switzerland often close for the lunch period and children go home to eat. Check with your school to see if they offer lunch for the students as well as before and after school care. Nannies or "mamman jours" can assist with care during lunch and after school. Find them through Anibis or your local commune. Parents from the school often share care responsibilities so it is always a good idea to speak with other parents at your child's school.
Attending public school can help children learn the local language and make new friends. Public schools offer good language support and tutoring for students at no extra cost. Each public school district has its own website with contact and application information. Your child will attend the school in your area. It is advisable to contact your local school as soon as you have registered at your permanent address.
Instruction in English is available at private and international schools. International schools in Switzerland have their own programmes and do not require German knowledge. These are private fee paying schools and must be applied to individually. Find listings of international schools in Switzerland in the Hello Switzerland Directory.
Learn more in these two articles: