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Professional childcarer-child ratio

This information is provided by:Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONetherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONederlandse versie

Do you run a childcare organisation in the Netherlands? You must make sure the mandatory number of professional caregivers (Beroepskracht-kind ratio, BKR) is present per group of children. You can calculate this childcarer-child ratio yourself.

What is the professional childcarer-child ratio?

The professional childcarer-child ratio is the ratio of the number of professional staff to the number of children in a group in the childcare organisation. The purpose of this ratio is to make sure the childcare is well matched to the children’s development. It applies on-site as well as on outings. The ratio varies depending on the group's age range and the type of childcare provided:

  • day nursery/crèche
  • out-of-school care (buitenschoolse opvang, BSO)
  • childminding (gastouder)
  • playgroup

Calculating the professional childcarer-child ratio

You can use a calculation tool (in Dutch) to easily calculate the number of professionals you need. In baby groups, 1 childcare professional can look after a maximum of 3 children. In after-school care groups (aged 7-12), 1 childcare professional can be put in charge of up to 12 children. You can read more about the calculation rules and a further explanation of the formulas on the tool’s accompanying Dutch-language web page.

The Municipal Health Service (GGD) will use the calculation tool during its quality inspections. Trainees (in Dutch) can make up to a third of the numbers in the childcarer-child ratio in consultation with their college supervisors.

Please note: a temporary measure allows up to half the numbers in the childcarer-child ratio consist of trainees. This temporary measure is in place until at least 1 July 2024.

Three-hour rule

Is your childcare organisation open for at least 10 consecutive hours? You can deviate from the professional childcarer-child ratio up to 3 hours a day. This is the three-hour rule. You have to describe how you deal with the childcarer-child ratio and the three-hour rule in your pedagogical policy plan.

Attendance record

You must keep a record of:

  • deployed professionals
  • childrens’ attendance records (including an indication of arrival and departure times)

With these records the supervisory authority can check if you keep to the childcarer-child ratio and the three-hour rule.

Four-eyes principle

You must keep to the four-eyes principle. This means that at all times at least two adults should be present with a child. The adult may be another professional childcarer, but could, for example, also be a parent or trainee. You must request advice from the parents' committee on your interpretation of the four-eyes principle, and you must inform parents about your implementation of it. Find out more about the four-eyes principle (Klachtenloket Kinderopvang, in Dutch).

The four-eyes principle does not apply to out-of-school care (bso) and childminding.

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