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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

Collective childcare facilities

The national reference framework on non-formal education (Cadre de référence national sur l'éducation non formelle des enfants et des jeunes) makes up the pedagogical component of the collective childcare facilities.

The reference framework was designed in 2017 and has four main annexes (three of which are specific to ECEC). It is mandatory for all child and youth services that benefit from financial support from the state. Likewise, it also applies to the activities of childminders (also known as parental assistants) who provide home-based services, if they participate in the childcare-service voucher scheme (CSA).

The national reference framework on non-formal education is presented as a publication on the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth website.

In 2019, an amending regulation added an annex setting out guidelines on plurilingual education in collective childcare facilities (règlement grand-ducal du 1er mars 2019).

Collective childcare facilities recognised as CSA providers can choose to implement the nursery plurilingual education programme, which entitles children from the age of 1 year to 20 hours per week free of charge. Educational work relating to languages is based on the recognition of the languages spoken in the families and on Luxembourgish and French language learning.

The objective of plurilingual education at an early age is to bring children into contact with language diversity in their daily lives, to foster cultural curiosity and facilitate language learning.

Early and pre-school education

The pedagogical guidelines for cycle 1 of elementary school, which children may attend from the age of 3 years, are described in the 2011 amended Grand-Ducal Regulation of 11 August on the study plans of the four cycles of elementary school (règlement grand-ducal modifié du 11 août 2011).  The study plan is binding and specifies the skill bases to be attained by the end of each elementary school cycle.

Areas of learning and development

ECEC services from an early age until the age of 3 years

The national reference framework on non-formal education for children and young people (Cadre de référence national sur l'éducation non formelle des enfants et des jeunes) sets the pedagogical guidelines for early childhood learning processes. For each age bracket, it specifies the age-specific characteristics, the role of pedagogues, the framework and context of educational processes and the action areas for non-formal education.

Children and young people are characterised as follows:

  • they are capable individuals and each person has a unique (educational) background;
  • they are social and cultural beings;
  • they are equal members of society.

Educational work is competence oriented. It involves children and young people's personal resources and opens up a variety of learning experiences for them.

The competences of each individual develop through autonomous learning, which is a result of personal interaction with their environment. In order for the different competences to develop in continuity, the various learning environments must be closely linked, beyond the system of any educational institution.

Education aims to develop three areas of competence in children and young people:

  • self-determination
  • participation in social development
  • responsibility.

The table below summarises the main objectives of the national reference framework on non-formal education for children and young people:

Understanding of learning:

  • Dynamic process
  • Not limited to formal processes
  • Not limited to a specific age
  • Independent of a particular location   

Understanding of childhood:

  • 'Skilled child and youth' as a partner for adults
  • Natural curiosity and desire to learn on one's own initiative
  • Sense of responsibility and self-determination

Main characteristics of non-formal education:

  • Learning by doing
  • Process-oriented learning
  • Cooperative learning, child-adult partnership
  • Openness to children and young people and their needs
  • Learner-centred education
  • Participation
  • Voluntary work.  

Main fields of action:

  • Emotions, social relations
  • Body awareness, physical activity, health
  • Gender pedagogy
  • Language, communication, media
  • Creativity, culture
  • Environment, technology
  • Values orientation, democracy, participation, interculturality

Early and preschool education in elementary school

The study plan for the four cycles of elementary education includes a description of each cycle's objectives regarding competences to be acquired as well as their intermediate levels.

Elementary school cycle 1 (early and preschool education) includes certain areas of development and learning, namely:

  • logical and mathematical reasoning;
  • language, Luxembourgish language, initiation to languages and first elements of French;
  • exploration of the outside world through all senses;
  • psychomotricity, body expression and health;
  • creative expression, cultural and aesthetic awakening;
  • community life and values.

The pedagogical guidelines also specify the transversal skills to be imparted. These relate to all fields (including media education), and in particular the field of language awareness and openness, which plays an important role in Luxembourg.

Transversal competences are related to:

  • approaches to learning;
  • relational attitudes;
  • emotional attitudes;
  • media education.

The competences related to language awareness and openness should be developed transversally during early and preschool education, across the different areas of development and learning. The main objective is to develop plurilingual and pluricultural awareness among children and to enhance their knowledge and skills in different languages, including those not included among the languages of instruction.

Pedagogical approaches

The pedagogical approach applied in education and care services is set out in the abovementioned national reference framework on non-formal education for children and young people. The educational processes implemented are those of non-formal education, informal education and comprehensive education.

These processes aim to develop four types of interdependent and closely related competences: individual, social, technical and methodological skills.

From the time when children attend elementary school cycle 1 (i.e. from the age of 3-4 years), the ECEC centres apply the pedagogical approach provided by the Code of Education for early education and preschool education.


Pupil assessment in the first cycle of elementary school is carried out following the Grand-Ducal Regulation of 6 July 2009 determining the method of pupil assessment, as well as the content of the assessment portfolio in elementary education (Texte coordonné). Assessment for children under the age of 3 years is essentially formative.

As a rule, during the intermediary years that make up one learning cycle in elementary school, pupils' assessment is formative. At the end of the cycle, it is summative.

Article 4 of the abovementioned regulation stipulates that in cycle 1 the formative evaluation is based on observation and documentation of the pupils' development and learning. The aim of this evaluation is to develop the pupils' competences so that they are prepared for the second cycle.

Formative evaluation is primarily aimed at improving each pupil's achievements.

The class teacher, together with the members of the pedagogical team working with the pupils, periodically carries out assessment of the pupils' work and educational progress in reference to the skill bases and objectives set out in the syllabus.

Parents or guardians take part in individual exchanges regarding their children's learning, which are organised on a quarterly basis by the class teacher.

The summative assessment is based on a variety of works that demonstrate that the competency base of the cycle has been achieved. It is carried out at the time when the children finish cycle 1 of elementary education.

Pupils receive a personal evaluation portfolio. This is an official document containing a variety of documents showing the development of their competences. This portfolio contains, among other documents, the end-of-cycle report.

Transition to primary school

There are no top-level guidelines on measures to facilitate children’s transition to primary education. In Luxembourg's public and private elementary schools, progression from cycle 1 to primary education (cycle 2) may take place within the same establishment.