In terms of steering documents, it should first be noted that there is no national strategy dedicated to early childhood education and care (ECEC) and no law specifically dedicated to this type of education. Provisions on ECEC are included in the strategy for pre-university education and in the law on pre-university education. The law states that the responsibility for preschool education is shared between the Ministry of Education and Sports and local governance units. The ministry is responsible for curricula development and learning materials with regard to kindergartens (kopshte) for children aged 3–6 years, whereas local governance units are responsible for the buildings and premises of public institutions. Based on the law on pre-university education, preschool education aims to support the social, intellectual and physical development of every child, in addition to promoting hygiene, cultivation of values and preparation for basic education. Preschool education in kindergartens is available for children aged 3–6 years, and children aged 5 years can attend preparatory classes in a basic education school to support their integration into basic education. Such enrolment is not obligatory.
Documents approved in 2020 include the following.
- Framework curriculum for preschool education. This sets out the following aspects of preschool education within the framework of the general aims of the pre-university education system: general principles on which the development of the curriculum and its implementation are based, key competencies to be gained by children aged 3–6 years, learning standards and learning results for each area, learning specificities and contextualisation of preschool education, and evaluation of institutions regarding the development of children aged 3–6 years. It also includes accompanying curricular documents.
- Teaching standards for preschool education teachers. This sets out the key standards for preschool teachers.
- Learning and development standards for preschool education. This sets out learning and development standards for pupils aged 3–6 years.
Areas of learning and development
The following areas of learning and development are defined in the Framework Curricula for pre school education:
- Language and Communication: The Albanian language is part of "Language and communication curricula". This area enables children to develop and use languages as means of communication in daily life and their daily activities and to develop language competences. This area is part of the for all pre-school age groups.
- Mathematics:The area of mathematics is related to the standards of "Knowledge development and general knowledge" and is part of the programme for all pre-school age groups.
- Natural sciences: This area of development is also part of the programme for all pre-school age groups.
- Society and the environment: This area of development is also part of the programme for all pre-school age groups.
- Arts: This area of development is also part of the programme for all pre-school age groups.
- Physical education, sports and health: This area of development is also part of the programme for all pre-school age groups.This area of development relates to the three groups of pre-school education.
The Framework curricula for pre-school education suggests the use of the following pedagogical approaches: teaching methods based in games, teaching methods focused on children, teaching methods based on thematic integration, teaching methods based on projects.
No formal assessment is made at this level of education and thus no related certification is awarded.
Transition to primary school
ECEC in Albania is not compulsory and therefore it does not constitute a pre-condition for moving to the next stage (i.e. primary school). Primary school education begins at the age of 6 years and is compulsory. To ease transition to primary school children have the opportunity to attend preparatory classess in the year priorit to enrolment in primary school but such attandance is not obligatory and does not constitute a condition for starting integrated primary and lower secondary education.