Objectives and accessibility
In Iceland, there is a system of regulated and publicly subsidised home-based provision (dagforeldrar) aimed at the youngest children, aged around 1–2 years. This provision falls under the responsibility of the Ministry of Welfare and the municipality in question. Home-based provision is significant for 1-year-olds: in 2016, 28.1 % of children of this age attended home-based provision. The proportion drops significantly from the age of 2 years. Between ages 2-3 years 95 % of children in ECEC attend centre-based settings (Statistics Iceland).
There are no educational guidelines for home-based provision from top-level authorities, although there are strict health and safety conditions.
Requirements for childminders and child ratios
Based on legislation (Regulation 907/2005), childminders in their first year of practice may not care for more than four children under the age of 6 years (including their own children). For children under the age of 1 year, the maximum is two. After 1 year of work, the childminder may add one child. The most common maximum number of children per childminder in regulated home-based provision is therefore five per adult.
According to Statistics Iceland (), the average ratio for ECEC settings was 3.6 children to 1 childminder in 2019. There are no available data for the ratio regarding childminders in home-based settings.
Childcare workers must undertake a course organised by the municipality but based on course material issued by the Ministry of Welfare. Courses vary in duration.
Opportunities for continuing professional development for ECEC professionals in Iceland are detailed in legislative frameworks for teachers’ salaries. All qualified Icelandic teachers, including those in preschools, are expected to spend time on in-service training as well as to participate in professional development outside ECEC settings. Contractually, this is both a right and a professional duty. In the contract for teachers in ECEC settings, valid until the end of 2021, as part of the professional development plans that all teachers must renew on an annual basis, obtaining all 30 relevant European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System credits leads to a 2 % annual total salary increase.
() As a basis for this ratio, Statistics Iceland uses computed child equivalents (CCEs). The CCEs are used to estimate the need for staff in preschools and are computed based on the child’s age and length of stay. A 5-year-old child who stays at school for the whole day is counted as 0.8 CCEs, a 4-year-old as 1.0 CCEs, a 3-year-old as 1.3 CCEs, a 2-year-old as 1.6 CCEs and a child younger than 2 years as 2.0 CCEs.