Living in Korea | Wonderful’s Daycare/Childcare and Kindergarten Guide in Korea
Updated: Sep 6, 2019
One of the top concerns for expat families with little children looking to move to or currently living in Korea is finding a daycare/childcare or kindergarten. This can be a tedious and disappointing experience due to the language barrier and the unfamiliarity with the system.
Having assisted with hundreds of daycare and kindergarten requests, we would be happy to help with researching on available daycare and kindergarten options that match your criteria. To make a request, you may simply contact us on Kakao talk, Facebook Messenger or Email with the following information:
1. Your child’s gender, date of birth and citizenship
Daycare centers usually accept children that are several months old to 5 years of age, while kindergartens usually accept children from age 4 to around pre-school age. Though the age range varies from place to place and is not a universal standard. For example, many public daycare centers accept children of up to pre-school age.
2. Does your child speak or understand Korean?
If your child speaks or understands some Korean then you would have more options to choose from, but if he/she does not, then that may not necessarily be a disadvantage. While some daycare centers prefer not to take in foreign children due to the language barrier, there are just as many foreigner friendly daycare/childcare centers and kindergartens, though they may or may not have English speaking staff. Some even offer foreigners from English speaking countries a discount due to the possible language exchange opportunity between the children.
3. Are you looking for a daycare or kindergarten?
The main difference between the two is that a kindergarten serves as a pre-school preparing children for elementary school, while a daycare only offers childcare services and a developmental program for children. There are independent kindergartens and kindergartens attached to elementary schools, Korean and International kindergartens, and private and public kindergartens.
Once we have all the details and your preferences, we will begin looking for available options. If you decide to proceed with the application for a particular daycare/kindergarten you will need to visit the center with the necessary documents (we will provide the list).
Korea has two on-line portals – one for daycare/childcare and one for kindergartens. If the daycare center or kindergarten is registered on the site, you may apply to a maximum of 3 daycare/kindergartens at once. Chances are high that you will be put on a wait list. Some daycare centers may have spots immediately available, but in the case of popular places there can be a hundred or more people on the wait list, so it’s always a good idea to start searching early. Sometimes you can be on a wait list for up to a year. If there are no available spots within that time, your name will be taken off the list and you would have to apply again.
Kindergartens are harder to get into in comparison with daycare centers. You have more chances of getting a spot at a private daycare or kindergarten rather than the public options. Daycare centers are usually open for application almost all year around, while kindergartens usually have a specific period when you can apply, though that depends on whether the kindergarten is registered on the kindergarten portal. Those that are not registered may have their own application schedule.
If daycare centers or kindergartens are not an option for you, we can also assist with finding a nanny in your area, find tutors or look for activities for older children (piano, karate, language tutor etc.)
Chat instantly with professional assistants to get anything done quickly and seamlessly.
Corporate program is available for companies with expat employees. For more information on this please email us.
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