The article focuses on changes in availability and use of childcare and pre-school facilities after the Second World War in the Czech society during different periods of communist regime and during the post-1989 era. It studies how they are embedded in context of women’s participation on the labour market, gender roles, social policies, fertility rates, public debates on care and fears of population decline. Several discourses influencing the availability and use of childcare and pre-school facilities are identified in the history, e.g. ‘the women’s issue’ discourse supporting construction of nurseries since 1950s, ‘the children’s issue’ and ‘the population’ discourses contributing to several prolongations of paid childcare leave since 1960s, etc. In history based institutional settings are identified as the main factors leading in a new labour market context to a current drop in availability of nurseries and an increase in care of pre-kindergarten children by mothers at home.
Keywords: Childcare, Pre-school education, Social policy