Skip to main content
European Commission logo


EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisational variations and alternative structures in single-structure education


5.Single-structure primary and lower secondary education

5.4Organisational variations and alternative structures in single-structure education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Organisational variations and alternative structures in ECEC

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 entity. The local authority concerned may limit any such authorisation to a specific 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. However, such experiments are 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 at this educational school level is the early childhood education and care centres run by several municipalities in Iceland using the Hjalli school pedagogical model. This model uses a method of separating children based on their gender for part of the school day, although groups are mixed at other times of day. According to the Hjalli model, boys and girls need different types of exercise and different recreational activities. The Hjalli model stresses clear rules of behaviour and care for other human beings and the environment. These schools are without traditional toys, the aim being to stimulate the children’s creativity.

Preschool Act 90/2008 (90/2008) (in Icelandic)

Decree on Children’s Day Care  (655/2009) (in Icelandic)

National Core Curriculum for Early Childhood Education and Care (2011) (in Icelandic)