Early childhood policies in France aim at providing families with an array of childcare arrangements, allowing parents to continue their professional activity if they so choose. However, some types of childcare, such as crèches, are still difficult to access. These difficulties have already been highlighted by cross-sectional data. Data from the Modes de garde et d’accueil des jeunes enfants [Survey of childcare arrangements of young children] survey conducted in 2013 allow completing this approach with the help of a monthly retrospective calendar detailing the use of various childcare arrangements since birth. We use sequence analysis to describe these pathways, as well as family characteristics, up to school entry. We find great stability in trajectories of early childhood care for young children in France with respect to access to formal modes of childcare, whether individual or collective. Nevertheless, 15% of children go through several changes in the type of childcare used or are looked after through informal arrangements. This latter form of childcare, which involves grandparents in particular, is more frequent in households characterised by less advantaged socio-professional occupations.
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