Admission requirements and choice of ECEC setting
All children coming from a respective Municipality may be enrolled at child care and infant/child care centres (ISCED 010).
Infant/child care centres admit infants from the age of 2 months, on certain conditions; otherwise, infants from the age of 6 months up to their compulsory pre-primary school age may be enrolled.
Child care centres admit children from the age of 2.5 years up to their compulsory pre-primary school age.
Upon enrolment, working parents' children and/or children coming from economically weak families are selected as a matter of priority and, especially, children in need (i.e orphans, children of single parents, divorced or separated parents, children born to parents with a physical or mental disability, multi-member families etc.).
There is also a preferential admission to children in need of care by virtue of various social causes (such as double or single orphans, children of unwed mothers, divorced or separated parents, children born to parents with a physical or mental disability, multi-member families etc.).
The selection criteria of hosted infants and children as well as their priority points may be specified by the Municipality Council of the relevant centre, following its reasoned opinion.
In case parents’ application for their children’s admission to municipal infant/child care and child care centres is rejected, they have the right of appeal against decisions on their priority points, based on specific procedures defined at municipality level.
Pre-school education provided in pre-school (nipiagogeio) establishments (ISCED 020) is part of Primary Education as it is regulated by the same legislation (Law 1566/1985) and is therefore presented in detail in Chapter 5 on Primary Education.
Group size and child/staff ratios
In municipal infant care and infant/child care centres, infant classes are structured according to age:
- 2 month-old infants up to age 1.5;
- 1.5-year-olds up to age 2.5.
In infant classes, the maximum number of children is 12. Two childcare core practitioners and one assistant should be present per class.
Child care centres are structured into the following classes:
- 2.5-year-olds up to age 3.5;
- 3.5-year-olds up to their compulsory pre-primary school age.
In child classes, the maximum number of children is 25. One childcare core practitioner and one assistant should be present per class.
The qualification requirements for both core-practitioners and assistants as well as the minimum qualification level required for assistants, are described in detail in Chapter 9 for Teachers and Education Staff.
As far as the private settings providing early childhood education and care are concerned, there is a differentiation regarding the number of infants/children hosted in groups, taking into account the proper and sustainable functioning of each setting (Ministerial Decision D22/11828/293/2017).
The number of infants/children per group should not be larger than:
- 10 infants per group in case of an infant care centre;
- 15 children per group in case of a child care centre;
- 6 infants and 15 children per group in case of infant/child care centres;
- 6 infants and/or 15 children per group in case of part-time childcare settings for infants and/or children.
Moreover, regarding the ISCED 010 public or private settings, enrolment may exceed their initial capacity by 10%.
The grouping of pupils in pre-primary schools (nipiagogeio) is described in Chapter 5 on primary education.
Annual, weekly and daily organisation
As defined in the “Standard regulation of operation for child care, infant care and infant/child care centres", the operation of these settings begins on 1 September and ends on 31 July of the following year. These care centres operate around 220 days per year.
In areas where employment of working mothers reaches its peak in the summer period, the care centre may operate during August and discontinue its operation for a month in June or July.
The Child care centres remain closed during Christmas and Easter Holidays. The care centres do not operate during the official holidays of public services and local anniversaries.
The approval for their establishment and operation is issued by the relevant municipalities (Law 3852/2010 "Kallikrates Programme").
According to the "Standard regulation of operation for child care and infant/child care centres", care centres operate from Monday to Friday. Even though it is flexible, the basic points in the timetable are being adhered to (arrival and leaving time, time of meals, rest and break). Care centres open at 7.00 am during the winter schedule and at 6.45 am during the summer schedule and close at 16.00 pm. It is possible to extend a care centre’s working hours by the competent Municipality Council’s decision, provided it is served by the personnel required.
The nutrition of infants and young children in each Pre-school Education and Care Unit is determined in accordance with Joint Ministerial Decision No. 12001/607/09-02-2023.
A typical schedule of infants’/children’s activities is the following:
|LENGTH OF TYPICAL DAY, EACH DAY OF THE WEEK (CHILDREN UNDER 2.5 YEARS OF AGE)
MONDAY TO FRIDAY
Out of hours provision
|6.45 or 7.00am - 9.00 am
Arrival of Infants
Catering for individual needs, rest or free activities
|9.00 am - 9.30 am
(starting and finishing times in the morning)
|9.30 am - 12.00 am
Individual programmes aimed at children’s development
|Lunch break and Rest
|12.00 am - 13.00 pm
|13.00 pm - 14.30 pm
|Activities (starting and finishing times in the afternoon)
|14.30 pm - 15.15 pm
Infants’ free activities
|Out-of-hours provision (after activities)
|15.15 pm - 15.45 pm
|15.45 pm - 16.00 pm
Preparation – Departure
LENGTH OF TYPICAL DAY, EACH DAY OF THE WEEK (CHILDREN FROM 2.5 UP TO 4 YEARS OF OLD-COMPULSORY PRE-PRIMARY SCHOOL AGE)
Out of hours provision
6.45 or 7.00am - 8.30 am
8.30 am - 9.00 am
9.00 am - 9.30 am
Arrival of Children
Prayer - Children get ready for breakfast
Breakfast - Children serve and lay the table in working groups
(starting and finishing times
in the morning)
|9.30 am - 12.00 am
The educator plans and interacts with children on daily activities
|10.00 am - 11.00 am
Parallel or individual workshops
|11.00 pm - 12.30 am
30-minute break interchangeably between classes -
Preparation for lunch (personal hygiene) -
Free activities in "pedagogical corners of activities" or team games in the classroom and in the playground
|12.00 am -13.00 am
|Lunch - Children serve and lay the table in working groups - Tooth-brushing after lunch
(starting and finishing times in the afternoon)
|13.00 am - 13.30 am
|Quiet activities and gradual departure of children leaving early
|13.30 am - 15.00 am
|15.00 am - 15.45 am
Putting the class in order
The above schedule is adapted to the needs of each age group.
As far as the private settings providing early childhood education and care are concerned, it is foreseen they have the obligation to carry out daily schedules aimed at the children’s care, entertainment and education, which should be supervised by the state’s competent authorities for their pedagogical content.
The annual, weekly and daily organisation of pre-primary schools (nipiagogeio) are described in Chapter 5 on primary education.