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When I lived in Finland, I always heard of how well-organised and generous the Finnish social welfare system was. I did not truly realise it until I got pregnant. I received a cute mother box of course and besides that I know mothers in many countries start to search for day-care as soon as they know there is a baby coming. However, in Finland a day-care place is guaranteed for every kid and the monthly payment is at most 290 euros. What a relief for a mother-to-be!
My family planned to move back to Taiwan when our son was about 16 months old and I had to start my work 2 weeks after our arrival. This meant I needed to find a place for my son in these 2 weeks. My old impression about our living place, Taipei, was that it was such a service-oriented city, so a day-care should have been easy to find. I started with internet research a month ago before our movement about possible nursery places in Taipei. I quickly found out that even though there are plenty of childcare resources in Taipei, the quality is not promised to be as expected. I tried to make appointments with the available ones that have better reviews and location and in the end I got to see 4 different ones.
Play yard in a Finnish daycare (Photo credit Hexagon Daycare)
A day-care in my imagination was somehow related to those in Finland, which have a big yard, spacious indoor area and very few kids. Thus, the first one I went to see in Taipei was a big shock to me. This day-care locates in the prime area in Taipei City and it is on the second floor of a 7-floor building. The indoor area is around 70-meter square and with a narrow balcony. You can picture it as a normal residential flat but about 30 kids and 7 teachers are in it. They stay inside mainly except for sometimes going to the balcony when weather allows. In Finland kids spend usually about 4 hours outside during a 8 hour day at their daycare. The monthly payment of this one is closer to 550 euros and this amount can be more than half of a parent’s salary in Taiwan. In Finland the daycare payment is adjusted to your income, but at the most it is approximately 290 euros. In Finland most of the cost of daycare is covered by tax payers’ money.
Daycare in Taipei City
Later, I went to see three nurseries in Tianmu, where is not so central but with more space. These three have a better playing area for kids as they are on the ground floor with a bigger balcony and they take fewer kids. In summer teachers would build a rubber swimming pool on the balcony and they take kids to parks nearby perhaps twice a month, which in fact is a very generous policy. The tuition fee of these three is of course more than the first one, which is about 650 euros per month.
We are lucky to have some flexibility to choose one in Tianmu and my son has started his day-care life for 2 weeks. He still cries every time until now while going into the classroom, which really breaks my heart. I have heard from Finnish mom’s that their kids can cry also in the beginning, but usually get used to their daycare in one month or so. I hope this happens in our family also!
Cover Photo By Visit Finland