The Danish ECEC system consists of day care centres that can be established as age-integrated institutions for children up to age six or separate settings for children under and over the age of three (nurseries and kindergartens). In addition to this, there is a system of regulated day care in private homes. Generally, the public ECEC provision is facilitated by the municipalities. In addition to this, the municipalities also provide a grant covering at least 75 % of the expenses for the place.
On average children start ECEC between the age of 9.7 and 10.7 months varying between types of provision, according to a 2018 analysis from the former Ministry of Social Affairs and Senior Citizens.
Within the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED), Danish ECEC settings are classified as follows:
ISCED level 010: Day care centre, day care in private homes and age-integrated facilities (until the age of three).
ISCED level 020: Kindergarten and age-integrated facilities (from the age of three until start of primary school).
The Day Care Act states that the municipalities are obliged to ensure ECEC provision for all children from the age of 26 weeks to the start of primary school.
ECEC provision free of charge is possible if the household income does not exceed 2,076 EUR/month (15,475 DKK/month) (Life in Denmark 2021).
Top-level pedagogical guidelines are binding for centre-based ECEC provision as well as for home-based provision. Furthermore, centre-based ECEC settings are obligated to draw up their own pedagogical plan. The Danish ECEC system is under the authority of The Ministry of Children and Education.