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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Educational guidelines


4.Early childhood education and care

4.3Educational guidelines

Last update: 27 November 2023

Steering documents

Pre-school education for children under age 6

Pre-school education is not compulsory.

If a child is educated by an education provider, be it a freelance teacher or in an ECEC setting, the child is educated according to a specific pre-school education curriculum developed by each education provider. This means that the education provider is free to shape its curriculum according to the needs of children and families in the region.

The pre-school education curriculum is prepared by following these documents:

The preparation of the latter two documents was initiated by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. They were prepared by a working group of various researchers and practitioners who work with pre-school children. The Utena Education Centre gathered the specialists; Professor Ona Monkevičienė led the group. In 2013–2014, the draft Pre-school Education Methodological Recommendations were tested and improved by the country’s pre-school educators, educational support specialists and heads of pre-school ECEC setting.

Pre-primary education for 6 year olds

On 1 September 2015 the General Curriculum Framework for Pre-primary Education (Priešmokyklinio ugdymo bendroji programa) came into force. This national curriculum was approved by the Minister of Education, Science and Sport in September 2014. The pre-primary education providers base their teaching on this particular curriculum. The General Curriculum Framework for Pre-primary Education was prepared by a working group consisting of experts, practitioners and researchers of pre-primary education. The work was coordinated by the Panevėžys Teacher Education Centre. The working group was led by educologist Dr. Vitalija Gražienė.

Areas of learning and development

Pre-school education for children under age 6

Steps for children’s achievements. The Description of the Achievements of Pre-school Age Children (Ikimokyklinio ugdymo programų kriterijų aprašas) (hereinafter – the Description) sets six steps to follow children’s development and achievements that children usually reach in every development stage. The first three steps help to follow child’s development up to 3 years, the second three steps describe what one can expect from a child from 4 to 6 years. Using the steps suggested in this Description, the educator can identify learning difficulties at an early stage.

ECEC setting must follow this Description when drawing up its own pre-school education curriculum.

Areas of the child’s development.

The Description includes expectations for the child to be healthy, dignified, communicating, curious, creative and successfully developing. They are proposed to pursue over eighteen areas of a child’s educational achievement. Each of these areas sets out the essential provisions and skills that a child should acquire by the age of 6. These achievement areas include:

  • physical activity;
  • daily life skills;
  • perception and expression of emotions;
  • self-regulation and self-control;
  • self-awareness and self-esteem;
  • relationships with adults;
  • relationships with peers;
  • spoken language;
  • written language;
  • knowledge of the environment;
  • calculation and measurement;
  • artistic expression – music, dance, acting, visual expression;
  • aesthetic perception;
  • initiative and persistence;
  • research;
  • problem solving;
  • creativity;
  • ability to learn

The selected groups of educational achievement areas correspond to social, cognitive, communication, health care and strengthening, artistic and learning-to-learn competencies. The pre-school educator or other educator may group the areas differently than suggested in the Description of the Achievement.

Foreign language teaching. Foreign language teaching is not compulsory in pre-school ECEC. However, most ECEC settings independently include the teaching of a foreign language, mostly English, in their curricula. From 1 September 2021 at least 5 hours per week will have to be devoted to teaching the state language to non-native speakers and children from mixed linguistic families. Digital literacy is not developed through a separate subject but, where possible, through the use of digital tools in the educational process.

Curriculum construction. The curriculum, that constructs each ECEC setting, is not divided into individual subjects and takes place in an integrated way. It is not defined how many minutes and hours should be devoted to educational activities. Activities are integrated taking into account the particularities of the child’s development and the rhythm of life. Each group of the ECEC setting creates and follows a unique rhythm of life.

Pre-primary education for 6 year olds

Principles. The General Curriculum Framework for Pre-primary Education (Priešmokyklinio ugdymo bendroji programa) (hereinafter – Curriculum) is based on the following principles:

  • socio-cultural orientation;
  • individualization;
  • integrity;
  • contextuality;
  • interactions.

Competencies’ development. The Curriculum is focused on the development of general competencies – the child’s social, health, cognitive, communication and artistic competencies. Competencies and general abilities are developed integrally, during all spontaneous and organised activities for the child. That is, not only in a pre-primary group or other place of education, but also in events, sports competitions and trips, as well as at home, in the family. The Curriculum pays great attention to the development of the child’s emotional intelligence - his/her psycho-emotional state. Children from families at social risk are taught social skills at a strengthened level. It is also emphasised that the content of education must be individualised – adapted to each child. Academic education must be refused and cooperation with the family must be encouraged.

Areas of activity of the Curriculum:

  • health care (implementation of the concept of health care and healthy life-style, psychological, social, physical health, healthy nutrition, combination of activities and leisure time, issues of personal hygiene and clean environment);
  • knowledge (fostering interest and curiosity, research, collecting information, ability to understand information, reflection, interpretation, being creative);
  • communication (conception of language and speaking, elements of reading and writing);
  • artistic education (art and other forms of visual arts, music, dance, acting). 

Duration of education. These activities are integrated, i.e. they are not divided into separate elements. The total time assigned to them amounts to at least 700 minutes (20 tariff-based hours) per week. It is possible to choose an organisation model of some other duration, e.g. 1,260 minutes (36 tariff-based hours) per week.

Foreign language. Foreign language teaching is not compulsory in pre-primary ECEC setting. However, most ECEC settings independently include the teaching of a foreign language, mostly English, in their curricula. Children who are native speakers of other languages or come from mixed families are taught Lithuanian according to special programmes. Children who attend ethnic minorities ECEC settings or groups in ECEC settings and are taught not in the state language, Lithuanian, as the state language, has to be taught for no less than four hours a week. From 1 September 2021 at least 5 hours per week should be spent teaching state language.

Digital literacy is included in the Curriculum.

Pedagogical approaches

In pre-school and pre-primary education, educators are free to choose the forms and methods of pedagogical activity. It is important that the choice is in line with the provisions of modern education and is individualised. For example, forms and methods of education would be adapted to a child with special educational needs. Also, the educator or the pedagogue should use balanced methods; for example, to maintain a balance between activities initiated by the educator and those initiated by the children themselves, using both structured and free forms.

In the educational process, the educator chooses which educational tools to use: task books, toys, audio-visual tools, etc. Children are also educated using a variety of materials – water, clay, paper, cloth and so on. Animals can also be raised in the educational process, such as the fish in the aquarium. Teaching tools, as well as methods, are freely chosen by the teacher. The tools are purchased by each educator from the funds allocated for education (these funds are included in the teaching funds). Parents do not pay extra for these.

Pre-school education for children under age 6

In pre-schools, play is considered to be the main method of education. This method is seen as the child’s most natural state, helping to develop and create, and to be active. Methods of observation, research, demonstration, conversation, narration, discussion, problem solving and project development are also applied. Dance and/or acting, music making and visual expressions are practised. Educators are recommended to use technologies of encouragement, initiation and motivation, creative and interpretive tools, modelling, help and support, and other educational methods.

Pre-primary education for 6 year olds

The General Curriculum Framework for Pre-primary Education (Priešmokyklinio ugdymo bendroji programa) does not specify specific teaching methods, but states certain requirements on the chosen teaching methods.

  • It must be possible for the child to act independently, to choose the necessary tools, activities and play friends.
  • Conditions are created for the spread of each child’s critical and creative thinking and creativity. The child must experience the joy and success of creation and discovery. Children in the educational process must be encouraged to solve problems, express and substantiate their opinions, and share their insights with peers and adults.
  • There must be enough various educational means (if necessary – special teaching aids and/or technical aids) to encourage the child’s activity, curiosity, creativity and imagination.
  • Furniture, equipment and educational means, and the environment (group space, other rooms, playgrounds and sports grounds) must be attractive, aesthetic, comfortable and safe.
  • The environment must have equipment and educational facilities suitable for both boys and girls.


Pre-school education for children under age 6

In pre-school education, a child is assessed on the basis of the Description of the Achievements of Pre-school Age Children (Ikimokyklinio amžiaus vaikų pasiekimų aprašas). This description is not a standard that all children must meet. The description is a guide for educators, in which the achievement steps presented show the movement of children towards progress. It follows the attitude that each child moves towards progress at their own pace.

The group’s educators constantly monitor and record children’s achievements, and individually introduce them to the children’s parents (guardians).

It is proposed to assess the child’s achievements by a system of steps, the first three of which are devoted to the assessment of the achievements of a child under 3 years of age, and the other three to the assessment of a child’s achievements from 4 to 6 years of age. If the child achieves the learning outcomes envisaged in sixth step sooner, the Description of the Achievement provides a seventh step. Pre-school educators and other educators know what educational outcomes to pursue further. If a six-year-old has not yet reached the sixth step, his/her education is consistently continued in the pre-primary group.

Pre-primary education for 6 year olds

Children’s progress and achievements are assessed in accordance with the General Curriculum Framework for Pre-primary Education (Priešmokyklinio ugdymo bendroji programa). A pre-primary teacher assesses children’s progress and achievements. The evaluation of the achievements is aimed to:

  • help the child to successfully grow, improve, mature and learn;
  • anticipate the child’s upbringing and education perspective, and possible achievements (competencies);
  • allow a purposeful use of information about the child’s achievements and progress in working with the family and other participants in the educational process.

The child’s social, health, cognitive, communication and artistic competencies are assessed.

As reference points, a child’s achievements are assessed at the beginning and end of the school year. The pre-primary education teacher evaluates the child’s initial achievements within 4 weeks from the beginning of the school year. The child’s progress in the educational process is assessed on an ongoing basis. The educator chooses assessment methods and techniques: observation, conversation, discussion, the child’s stories, analysis of the child’s work and activities, audio, video, etc. Once the programme is implemented, the educator makes a final assessment of the child’s achievements and prepares a free-form conclusion with recommendations for the primary school teacher.

Children’s achievements and progress are discussed with parents (guardians) individually, if necessary, but at least twice a year.

Transition to primary school

In Lithuania, several measures are applied to ensure a smooth transition of a child from pre-primary to primary education. First, after completing the pre-primary education curriculum, the educator makes a final assessment of the child’s achievements and prepares a free-form conclusion with recommendations for the primary school teacher. Based on these recommendations, it is possible to organise the necessary educational aid for the child and his/her family. Second, the pre-primary and primary education curricula are coordinated. Already in the pre-primary education, the child is taught to learn to concentrate for a longer period of time, to maintain attention and to complete the task.