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'Better and cheaper': What foreigners really think about childcare in Austria

Hayley Maguire
Hayley Maguire - [email protected] • 19 Oct, 2022 Updated Wed 19 Oct 2022 12:43 CEST
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Readers of The Local said childcare in Austria is mostly "good", but there is some room for improvement. (Photo by Kelli McClintock / Unsplash)

We asked readers of The Local to share their experiences of childcare in Austria. While the majority approve of the service, there is also room for improvement.

Austria is well-known for having affordable childcare – especially when compared with other countries like the US and the UK.

But is it really all it’s hyped up to be? 

We asked readers of The Local to find out, and this is what they said.

FOR MEMBERS: How does the cost of childcare in Austria compare to other countries?

'Much better and cheaper than the US'

The majority of readers surveyed (50 percent) described childcare in Austria as "good". This was followed by “very good” at 25 percent.

However, most of the people that say the service in Austria is good or very good come from countries where it’s expensive back home, or difficult to access.

For example, one respondent in Vienna who asked to remain anonymous said childcare in Austria is “much better and cheaper than the US”.

Similarly, Marie in Klosterneuburg, but from the US, described it as “amazing”.

Fabiana Thome from Brazil said: “I didn’t have a child back in my home country, but I have the impression that in Austria childcare is better and more affordable.”

Manuela Schnetzinger, also from from Brazil, said: “In Brazil you need to spend a ton of money. Here, I think it is good.”

READ MORE: Living in Austria: Is Vienna a family-friendly city?

And Shyam from India described childcare in Austria as "very good", before adding: “My country doesn't have any support for childcare.”

By comparison, 20 percent of respondents said childcare in Austria was "good, but could do better". And five percent described it as "terrible".

A British person in Vienna said: “The children in Austria don't do any activities to prepare them for school. In the UK, most children can hold a pencil at 4 years old! Also kindergartens don't work on their social skills – so many issues later in school.”

Likewise, another respondent in Vienna said: “I come from the US, where childcare for young kids is more normalised and professionalised.”

'Grandparents as caretakers'

When asked how childcare in Austria could be improved, several respondents said services should be expanded to allow more parents to return to work. 

This was of particular importance for those located outside of Vienna (where government subsidised childcare is available for all children up to the age of six).

Manuela Schnetzinger in Wels, Upper Austria, said the childcare offer could be improved by “taking children under one year old.”

A respondent in Mödling, Lower Austria, said: “More places, longer hours from a younger age.”

And another respondent in Vienna said: “More availability of public facilities for younger kids to facilitate women working.”

READ NEXT: Where to find English-language books in Austria

Others also remarked on cultural differences in Austria about when women return to work on a full-time basis, and the expectation that grandparents will become childcare providers.

Klosterneuburg-based Marie from the US said: “It would be great if mothers would go back to work after a year. Honestly, watching kids get picked up at 3pm for the first 6 years is painful for those of us who return back to work.”

Valéria Queiroz from Brazil commented: “Many families have huge difficulties in finding a place for their children. It is still a country that lays a lot on grandparents as caretakers for parents to be able to work, and this is simply not an option for many families who live here.”

Whereas Ricardo from Portugal, who lives in Styria, said childcare could be improved by: “Preparing the kids for school. Compared to the UK, the Austrian childcare system is years behind.”

For others, like Robert Nyström from Sweden, language was an issue that could be improved.

Robert, who is based in Vienna, said: “Better explanation about the system in English. It is very hard to find good information that explains how everything works.”

But Rob Barratt from the UK simply said: “Pay childcare providers more salary.”

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Hayley Maguire 2022/10/19 12:43

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