Place guarantee to ECEC
There is no legal guarantee to a place in ECEC for younger children. Day nurseries operate in all towns and villages where 10 or more children live. In the case of communities with fewer than 10 children, regional day nurseries are established, and transport is provided free of charge by the government. There are a small number of day nurseries operating with fewer than 10 children enrolled, where the remoteness of the location does not allow for the establishment of a regional institution.
Places in public day nurseries are limited, as there are very few of them compared with community and private nurseries.
From the age of 5 years old, pre-primary classes (prodimotiki) are compulsory. From this age, every child has a guarantee of a free place in a kindergarten. A child can be registered for any kindergarten that has available places.
Pre-primary education (for children aged 5 years old and over) is provided by the state, free of charge, for children attending public kindergartens for 26 hours per week.In addition, all-day optional public pre-primary schools function on a voluntary basis from October until May. All-day students are charged only for their food. Children aged between 3 years and 5 years old who attend public kindergartens pay tuition fees, the amount of which is determined by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance. Tuition is paid by the parents or guardians of the children, in the ﬁrst 10 days of each month, to the relevant School Board.
Concerning home-based provision, children from birth until the age of 5 years old may attend home-based care (kat΄oikon paidokomoi), which operates under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance.
After the age of 5 years, home-based provision applies only to children with special needs who are not able to attend a kindergarten.
Based on relevant decisions of the Council of Ministers (63.682/20.4.2006 and 80.361/2.3.2016), parents or guardians in the following categories are exempt from the obligation to pay tuition fees for their children to attend public kindergartens, provided they provide recent supporting documents:
- Parents or guardians receiving public assistance,
- Parents or guardians receiving Minimum Guaranteed Income,
- Parents or guardians with serious health problems or disabilities who pay for treatment and do not work,
- Parents or guardians of children who are absent from kindergartens for health reasons (relating to their own health or that of their parents or guardians) for more than 1 month.
For the education of the children in community kindergartens, parents or guardians pay tuition fees, the amount of which is determined by the owner of the community kindergarten according to the ﬁnancial obligations and the particularities of each community kindergarten. The setting of tuition fees, however, is by no means intended to generate proﬁt.
Private kindergartens decide on the tuition fees according to the services that they provide.