Place guarantee to ECEC
The right to early childhood education and care (ECEC) is broadly specified in laws and regulations, without referring to a specific age or number of hours. All children under school age have a right to a place in municipal ECEC, either in an ECEC centre or in family daycare, usually close to their homes. Participation in ECEC in Iceland is among the highest in Europe. In 2019, 95 % of children aged 2–3 years attended ECEC settings. Participation in ECEC is voluntary.
In Iceland, municipalities have a statutory duty to provide and finance both centre-based and home-based ECEC services, and families pay a co-contribution. Fees vary between settings. The fees in full-time municipal ECEC services are publicly subsidised. Families can also opt for private service provision, for which the ECEC fees are also publicly subsidised but parental contributions are higher. All parents pay a modest fee for their children and the fee may vary, depending on the fee set by the municipality. Typically, the parents co-contribute approximately a third of the actual cost. There are some sibling rebates and municipalities may have their own schemes for low-income families.