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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Early childhood education and care


4.Early childhood education and care

Last update: 27 November 2023

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) services are provided in two types of settings depending on the children's age. The entire phase of ECEC in public settings is operated under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth.

ECEC provision for children aged 0-4 years

From birth up to the age of 4 years, children can be enrolled in private or public collective settings: crèches (for children aged 0-4 years) and mini-crèches, which are small facilities with a limited number of staff for children aged 0-12 years, as defined by the law of 1 August 2018 (loi du 1er août 2018).

The Ministry of Education, Children and Youth determines the broad outlines of the educational programme to be offered in education and care structures (see Chapter 4.3 'Steering documents').

Most facilities are public and run by the municipalities. Other ECEC service providers may be non-profit associations (associations sans but lucratif) or commercial enterprises established with private law status.

ECEC services may also be provided by childminders (also known as parental assistants), who are self-employed and look after children in their own homes (see Chapter 4.4 'Home-based provision').

ECEC provision for children aged 3 years and above


(at start of the school year)

Public setting Private/associative setting Schooling International Standard Classification of Education level
0-4 Crèche Private ECEC providers:

crèches, mini-crèches,

parental assistants
- -
3 Elementary school

(école fondamentale):

pre-primary cycle 1 / early education

(éducation précoce)
Non-compulsory enrolment,

but regular attendance expected from children registered
4 or 5 Elementary school:

pre-primary cycle 1 / pre-school education

(éducation préscolaire)
Compulsory schooling


From the age of 3 years, children have a legal entitlement to access elementary school education. At the age of 4 years, they are subject to compulsory schooling (modified law on compulsory schooling (loi modifiée du 6 février 2009 relative à l’obligation scolaire), Article 7). Each municipality must offer its resident children a place in elementary school. Once children are enrolled in school, they are required to attend class regularly.

The age of 3 years thus represents a pivotal time when children may either continue in their former ECEC structure or start elementary education with a first optional year of early education (International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) level 020). For the following 2 years in elementary school cycle 1, schooling is compulsory: preschool education (ISCED level 020).

Together, the 1 optional year of early education and the 2 years of mandatory preschool education make up  cycle 1 of elementary school (i.e. pre-primary education). The Ministry of Education, Children and Youth sets out the pedagogical principles of cycle 1 in the study plans for elementary education (règlement grand-ducal modifié du 2 août 2017).

Access to public education is free of cost. Most private ECEC facilities receive state subsidies but also require a financial contribution from parents or guardians.