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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice


4.Early childhood education and care


Last update: 27 November 2023

Place guarantee to ECEC

Education and care for children under the age of 3 years

Children under the age of 3 years do not benefit from a place guarantee in an ECEC structure.

The website of the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth includes an interactive map showing the geographical distribution of ECEC structures in the country.

On this platform, public and private providers, such as crèches, daycare centres (maisons relais) and childminders (also known as parental assistants), are able to provide information on their services and activities via hyperlinks to their own websites.

Education and care for children aged 3 years and above

From the age of 3 years, all children residing in Luxembourg have an enforceable right to access public ECEC, as set out in Article 2 of the amended law of 6 February 2009 on compulsory education (loi modifiée du 6 février 2009 relative à l’obligation scolaire).

All municipalities must provide a collective childcare facility for their resident children. The municipal administration writes to the parents of all school-aged children in the commune informing of their enrolment options (see Chapter 5.1 on choice of school, which follows the same rules as for primary education).

In the Luxembourg school system, cycle 1 of elementary education includes an optional first year of early education (ISCED level 020). Enrolment is not compulsory, but children who have been enrolled must participate regularly.

Compulsory schooling starts at the age of 4 years and continues for the next 12 years, as specified by Article 7 of the amended law of 6 February 2009 on compulsory education (loi modifiée du 6 février 2009 relative à l’obligation scolaire).

The transition from optional to compulsory schooling thus happens in continuation within cycle 1 of elementary school. Children's educational path moves seamlessly from the optional year to the last 2 years of cycle 1, which are called preschool education, at ISCED level 020 (pre-primary).


Childcare services from birth

The state contributes to the costs of childcare through the childcare-service voucher (chèque-service accueil (CSA)) system. This system entitles parents to reduced rates for sending their children to childcare facilities, or even to a number of free childcare hours. The financial support granted is differentiated according to the parents or guardians' taxable income (see calculation of parental contribution).

Family benefits are managed by the Fund for the Children's Future (Caisse pour l'avenir des enfants).

In order to benefit from the CSA, parents or guardians must reside in Luxembourg or at least one of the non-resident parents or guardians must work in Luxembourg and be a citizen of the European Union. Parents or guardians must register with the CSA and apply for their child's personalised 'myCard' membership from their local administration (see CSA information). Parents or guardians must also sign a contract with the service provider.

Membership of the CSA is renewable on an annual basis. The child's 'myCard' remains valid until the end of elementary school.

Funding through the CSA system only applies to services offered by public or private childcare settings (i.e. crèches, daycare centres and childminders) that have been recognised as CSA service providers by the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth. To be recognised as such, ECEC providers must meet a number of quality requirements, including that their purpose is one of public service.

All support available to parents or guardians is described in a document published by the Fund for the Children's Future. The publication explains the CSA system. It also includes more general information on Luxembourg's regulations related to family benefits and parental leave. All legal provisions related to family benefits and parental leave can be accessed in Book IV of the Social Security Code.

A special supplementary allowance is available to parents to compensate them for additional costs resulting from a child's disability.

ECEC services for children aged 1-4 years

For children aged 1-4 years attending a collective childcare facility, families may receive financial support in the form of 20 weekly hours of free multilingual education, for 46 weeks of the a calendar year. This measure aims to develop children's awareness of linguistic diversity from an early age and thus encourage language learning.

In order for families to benefit from this incentive, the ECEC provider has to implement the nursery plurilingual education programme (programme d’éducation plurilingue à la crèche). The practical aspects of this measure are managed by the CSA scheme. According to the rules set out by the CSA, the 6 weeks in the year when these 20 free weekly hours do not apply coincide with the major school holiday periods. Parents or guardians may request alternative dates if needed.

The state's total financial contribution for childcare services is capped at 60 hours a week, as set out in the CSA rules on parental contributions.

The amount of state support is capped at EUR 6 per hour. The parents or guardians' financial contribution is determined according to the rates set out in their contract with the collective childcare facility.

The additional amount of state support for meals is set at a maximum of EUR 4.50 for a main meal per child, with a maximum of five main meals a week. Meals are invoiced separately. Any additional main meal is fully at the parents or guardians' expense.

ECEC services for children aged 3 years and above

Article 5 of the amended law of 6 February 2009 on compulsory education (Code of Education, coordinated text, p. 117) specifies that access to education is offered free of charge to every child living in Luxembourg and enrolled in a public school, whether in their commune of residence or in another municipal or state school.

Parents or guardians of children aged 3 years and above who are enrolled in early education at public elementary schools thus pay no school fees. Schooling continues to be provided free of charge for children who have reached compulsory schooling age (4 years). The commune (or the state, for state schools) has to offer the textbooks used in class and recommended by the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth to children free of cost.

In private schools, children's parents contribute to the costs of tuition in accordance with each institution's regulations. The state subsidises private schools in line with the agreement reached with each establishment. That subsidy depends in particular on whether or not the school implements the official educational methods and approaches recommended by the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth.

Most children over the age of 3 years are enrolled in public rather than private ECEC establishments.

According to the Ministry's of Education, Children and Youth's statistics for the 2018/2019 school year, there were 4 342 pupils enrolled in public schools (early education at the age of 3 years) and 251 in private and international schools. With regard to the following compulsory 2 years (preschool education, pupils aged 4 and 5 years at the beginning of the year), there were 11 726 pupils in public schools and 1 578 in private and international establishments.