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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisational variations and alternative structures in ECEC


4.Early childhood education and care

4.5Organisational variations and alternative structures in ECEC

Last update: 27 November 2023

Municipal councils may authorise third parties to build and operate preschools using the form of a non-profit organisation, a company limited by shares, or any other recognised legal form. The local authority concerned may limit any such authorisation to a certain maximum number of children. Preschools authorised in this manner are governed by the same legislative and regulatory provisions as other preschools and they must be operated pursuant to all framework legislation on preschools.

The education authorities may also authorise local authorities and privately run preschools to operate experimental preschools, or to experiment with aspects of preschool education. Such experiments are however subject to time limits and requirements for post-experiment evaluations. Financial support may be provided for the work of experimental preschools, as well as for specific novel approaches.

An example of an organisational variation for this school level are ECEC’s run by the several municipalities in Iceland under the flagship pedagogy, Hjalli School Model. Schools running under this model use the method separating children based on their gender during some part of their school day, although mixed at other times during the day. According to the Hjalli School Model, boys and girls need different types of exercise and different recreational activities. The Hjalli School Model stresses clear rules of behaviour, care for other human beings and the environment. These schools are without traditional toys, the aim being to stimulate the children’s creativity.