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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

As for the offer for children aged less than 3 years, beside public nurseries directly run by municipalities, there are several accredited private nursery and merely private institutes offering this type of service. Recently, due the lack of available places in public nurseries, ECEC services in company for employees are getting more and more common.

The integrated system (D.Lgs 65/2017) also includes other supplementary educational services (servizi integrativi) that have the purpose of meeting the needs of families through a flexible organisation and structure. These supplementary services are:

  • play areas, for children aged between 12 and 36 months entrusted to one or more educators for a maximum of five hours/day;
  • centres for children and families that welcome even very small children with their parents;
  • home-based educational services that welcome children from 3 to 36 months organised in very small groups under the care of one or more childminders.   

These ECEC services are run directly by the municipalities or indirectly by private and public subjects, in accordance with the criteria defined by regional and central regulations, within the framework of the ECEC integrated system (0-6).

Moreover, there are forms of private family micro-nurseries, where one parent, often the mother, takes care of more children at home. Also this type of service is now acknowledged by central regulations as an educational service alternative to centre-based provision.

As for ECEC (3-6) there are no structures alternative to preprimary schools (scuola dell'infanzia).


Contents revised: August 2023