Estonian kids have long days at kindergarten

According to Statistics Estonia, a child from the age of three up to the school age stays in the kindergarten for approximately 40 hours a week, which is one of the highest indicators of the European Union. In the European Union the children of the same age group are in the kindergarten on an average for 28 hours a week.

In 2008, 88% of Estonian children aged between three and the school age went to kindergarten. 84% of the children were in kindergarten for more than 30 hours a week and only 4% were there less than 30 hours a week. However, in the Netherlands, in the United Kingdom and in many other European Union countries most children were in kindergarten for less than 30 hours a week.

In Estonia kindergartens are more common childcare facility than in the European Union average. An important reason for this is that compared to other countries the availability of part-time work and other child care (hiring a child-minder, parents or grandparents are at home) are less common.

In the last four years (2005–2008) the share of kindergartens in child care has risen in the European Union as well as in Estonia, in Europe around 3%, in Estonia 10%. At the same time the percentage of children who do not go to kindergarten and who are taken care of by parents has decreased. In 2008 the share of such children in Estonia was 8% and in the European Union 10% on an average.

In case of smaller children the trend is opposite. In Estonia 17% of children aged less than three years old go to kindergarten, in the European Union 28%.  Usually these children are taken care of by their parents (in Estonia 56%, in the European Union 51%). In addition, grandparents’, relatives’ and child-minders’ support is also used.

The estimations are based on the social survey, which has been conducted by Statistics Estonia since 2004. Social surveys are conducted on the basis of harmonized methodology in all European Union countries by the name of EU-SILC. In 2008, over 4,700 households in Estonia and over 187,000 households in the European Union participated in the survey.

A child aged between three years and school age — school age depends on the particular country’s legislation.

Length of week spent in the kindergarten by a child from the age of three up to school age, 2008

Diagram: Length of week spent in the kindergarten by a child from the age of three up to school age, 2008

Source: Statistics Estonia

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