This article is for parents, who plan to stay in Cyprus for a long period of time or those who moved to the island permanently. Who is going to stay with your little one when you can’t (we are going to talk about preschoolers)? Can you trust a local kindergarten? How do you go about finding a good nanny?
Cyprus, like many other places, has public and private kindergartens.
Public kindergartens in Cyprus
- The official language in Cyprus is Greek, so all of the teachers at public kindergartens speak Greek.
- Monthly payments are based on your income: the lower your income, the lower your payment. Public kindergartens are significantly cheaper than private ones.
- Maternity leave is very short in Cyprus, so kindergarten children can be as young as 4-6 months.
- Cypriot parents prefer half-day kindergarten programs that end at 13:00. Some kindergartens have the option of keeping your child until 17:00-18:00, but no later than that.
- Class size varies from kindergarten to kindergarten.
- Enroll your child at the beginning of the calendar year if you want to start in September.
Private kindergartens in Cyprus
- Private kindergartens are available in Greek and English.
- English-language kindergartens have mandatory Greek classes (it is the official language after all).
- Monthly payments are different for each kindergarten, but the average half-day program should cost around 200 euros, with a full-day program averaging around 300 euros. In addition to that, you will have to pay a registration fee (also different in each kindergarten), which is approximately 100 euros. You may also be asked to pay for medical insurance (about 20 euros) and some private kindergartens charge a safety deposit that they keep in case you decide to withdraw your child before the end of the year. If you leave your kindergarten and then decide to come backafter a long period of time, you may have to pay the registration fee again.
- What happens if your child gets sick and cannot attend? You will not get your money back. Doctor notes are rarely required.
- Class size is approximately 10-12 children.
- English-language and Greek-language kindergartens don’t have naptime, which is why many parents like to take their children home around 13:00 for an afternoon nap.
- Age requirements depend on the kindergarten. Some accept children who can walk, while others accept those who can talk. Younger children attend on a «drop in/drop off» basis, which means they are dropped off by their parents for a few hours. In this case the parentsare charged on an hourly basis.
- Most private kindergartens are open until 17:00-18:00.
- Private kindergartens like to focus on early development. Some of them are even called «centers for child development». The Montessori approach is very popular.
- Most private kindergartens are housed inside transformed residential homes.
- There is no quarantine.
- There are generally no waiting lists to enroll in a private kindergarten. So you can join throughout the year.
- Some schools have their own kindergartens, such as the American Academy or Heritage School. Enrolling in this type of kindergarten helps your child to later enroll in the affiliated school. These kindergartens are more expensive and there may be a waiting list to enroll. Expect your child to wear a uniform. Don’t hesitate to learn more about the curriculum and future prospects.
How to choose the best kindergarten?
In the age of the Internet, this shouldn’t be a problem! Carefully study other parents’ reviews before picking a place. Make a list ofnearby kindergartens; call them and ask all the questions you have; rule out the ones you don’t like and visit those you do.
Finding a nanny
But what do you do if you don’t have anyone to babysit your child in the evening or on the weekend? You should find a nanny! Usually you’ll be able to find someone through your friends’ recommendations. You can also browse newspaper and online ads or search for Facebook groups dedicated to parenthood in Cyprus. Nannies are paid on an hourly basis and their rate is usually around 7-10 euros an hour.
Stay tuned for information about older children!