As of 7 January, those in the daycare sector can officially request to offer mini-creche services. As for what mini-creches are and how they differ from ordinary creches, we have a step-by-step explanation.

The purpose of this new model of daycare is to try and respond to Luxembourg's demand of childcare services.

A so-called mini-creche is a a new care structure for children between zero and twelve years of age.

As the name suggests, the maximum number of children a mini-creche can cater for is relatively limited. Each mini-creche can look after up to eleven children, of which the maximum number of infants under the age of one is four.

As for those who are permitted to run such mini-creches, there are strict limitations here as well. A mini-creche requires a minimum of two people in charge, and one of them must be a qualified educator. The other individual can be a parental assistant.

Process

The process to open a mini-creche begins with requesting permission from the Ministry of Education. The legislation does not allow mini-creches to be hosted at home and instead requires a space dedicated to this specific purpose.

Mini-creches must also adhere to hygiene, security, and quality criteria, although these are not quite as strict as those required for larger daycare structures.

The ministry confirmed that to date, there have not yet been any written requests to open such mini-creches, although there have been a host of clarification questions sent in.

These questions concern the infrastructure, the necessary requirements for the procedure, and questions concerning the timescale.

According to a ministry spokesperson, mini-creches should be able to open three months after the request has been submitted, provided the file has all the required information.

Benefits

The main benefit of such mini-creches is that their opening hours are extremely flexible. Mini-creches can be open from 5am to 11pm.

The requirements to receive permission are that there are at least two people in charge, one of those qualified as an educator, and the other requiring some proof of education in a socio-educational subject. Depending on the opening hours, the mini-creche could employ more people.

When Claude Meisch, the Minister of Education, presented the idea last March, he stressed that the purpose of a mini-creche is to be a smaller structure than ordinary creches, so-called 'maison relais', and daycare centres.

The main selling point of a mini-creche is that it would be a homelike structure with few personnel changes.

Mini-creches must also offer multilingual programmes for children aged between one and four.