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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisation of centre-based ECEC


4.Early childhood education and care

4.2Organisation of centre-based ECEC

Last update: 27 November 2023

Admission requirements and choice of ECEC setting

Children aged under 4 years

As a rule, children are admitted to a daycare centre at a minimum of 3 months of age. Groups can comprise children of various ages or children of the same age. Usually, however, there are two age groups: one for infants from around 3 months to 3 years old and one for children from around 3 years until 4 years of age. Baby-only groups are not permitted for developmental/psychological reasons. There is no official guideline regulating admissions to daycare facilities in Liechtenstein. However, criteria such as the employment situation of both parents, family status (e.g. single parents) and the social situation of the parents are often used. Children living in the area of the local institution may be prioritised for admission.

Because attendance in a childcare programme is not mandatory, parents can choose their preferred institution. However, once a child is registered and enrolled, the parents are obliged to take the child to the daycare facility on a regular basis in accordance with the terms of the agreement. In addition to offering planning security to the daycare facility, this regularity and continuity is important for the child and the group as a whole.

Children aged 4 and 5 years 

Establishment and maintenance of kindergartens are the responsibility of the municipalities. Each municipality is required to establish as many facilities as necessary to admit two year groups (Article 20). Every kindergarten is part of a catchment area that is detailed by the municipality’s school council.

The qualifying day of admission to the kindergarten is determined by a governmental act, which also determines a deadline prior to which parents have the right to choose a kindergarten for their child.

Children aged 4 years on the qualifying date of 30 June are entitled to admission to kindergarten. The fixed period of time during which parents may decide, possibly using information provided by the school management, which kindergarten their child is to be admitted to is 2 months. This period usually starts on 1 July and ends on 31 August (see the education authority’s document Admission to Kindergarten, which contains information for parents).

If a child is not yet entitled to be admitted to kindergarten, the municipality’s school council decides – based on the parents’ application – whether to grant early admission. Usually, children attend the kindergarten nearest to their place of residence and within their catchment area. For admission to a kindergarten outside the relevant catchment area, the parents are obliged to submit an application disclosing the reasons for their request to the Office of Education.

Group size and child-staff ratios

Children aged under 4 years

Childcare services may be organised in mixed-age groups or in groups of children of the same age. Usually, however, there are two age groups: one with infants aged around 3 months to 3 years and one with children aged around 3 years to 4 years.

A group usually comprises 10–13 children. A factor of 1.5 is used to calculate the group size for infants up to 18 months of age (i.e. two infants take up three places). Baby-only groups are not permitted for developmental/psychological reasons. In mixed-age groups, the number of children up to the age of 18 months is limited to three.

For every five children present, there must be at least one member of pedagogical staff on site. A group is led by a trained childcare specialist, a kindergarten teacher or a member of another pedagogical profession, together with a trainee or intern. A sufficient number of pedagogical staff must be present throughout the day to ensure that the childcare ratio is maintained.

The number of places per centre is approved by the Office for Social Services, which determines the maximum number of children who can be present at the same time. This number can be exceeded during lunch if facilities are suitable and the child–staff ratio is adhered to.

It is the educational and professional responsibility of the childcare centre management to ensure that staff carry out activities that correspond to their level of training (e.g. taking children for a walk) with children whom they are trained to manage. One trainee in their third year of training is permitted per group as long as they work under the supervision of a trained pedagogical staff member (as per the Pedagogical Concept of the Daycare Centres Association).

The pedagogical staff in a daycare centre are trained childcare specialists (Fachpersonen Betreuung EFZ Fachrichtung Kinderbetreuung) (further information is provided in Chapter 9). The qualification requires the completion of a 3-year basic vocational training course.

There are no top-level regulations for trainees or interns.

Children aged 4 and 5 years 

The duration of kindergarten is 2 years. Classes are usually organised in year groups, but may also include children from overlapping years or school types (i.e. children from primary school). Classes have a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 20 pupils.

Kindergarten teachers take care of kindergarten classes. They can be supported by other pedagogical staff or trainees.

Teachers must have achieved the kindergarten teacher diploma within a minimum of 3 years of higher education (further information is provided in Chapter 9)

Annual, weekly and daily organisation

Children aged under 4 years

The organisation of time is described in the opening hours section of the Social Services Department’s Guidelines for the approval and supervision of non-home-based childcare services (e.g. hours per day, days per year and holidays).

Daycare facilities follow a clear daily structure, with specified arrival times and pick-up times as well as timed activities, including lunch. The Pedagogical Concept of the Daycare Centres Association provides a specific daily structure:


• opening time of the daycare center

• children gradually arrive at the center

• children play freely most of the time until snack time


• snack time

• guided activities such as singing, making things, going for a walk and playing in the garden, activities to further develop their skills, free play

From 11.00:

• children arriving / being picked up

Approximately 12.00:

• lunch

After lunch:

• cleaning their teeth, perhaps napping

• free play

From 13.00:

• children arriving / being picked up


• administrative meetings

From 14.00

• guided activities such as singing, making things, going for a walk and playing in the garden, activities to further develop their skills, free play

Approximately 15.30:

• snack time

• free play

• doing homework

• children gradually go home


• closing time of daycare facility

Children aged 4 and 5 years 

The duration of the school year is a minimum of 38 weeks and a maximum of 40 weeks. The distribution of the holidays within the school year is regulated by the governmental Ordinance on the Organisation of Public Schools (Article 12). Teaching time is (partly) regulated as per the Ordinance on the Organisation of Public Schools. Kindergartens offer a maximum of 28 lessons per week, with each lesson lasting 45 minutes (Article 11). Education at kindergarten does not start before 8.00, the lunch break is at least 75 minutes, there is a break of at least 20 minutes in the morning and there is a break of at least 15 minutes in the afternoon.

Classes are usually from 8.00 to 11.30 in the morning and from 13.30 to 15.00 in the afternoon. On the parents’ application, a child may be excused from afternoon lessons until after the autumn holidays in the first term of the school year (see the document Admission to Kindergarten).