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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

Preschool institutions have to apply the Programme of care and educational work with children under the age of 3 years. The programme was approved by the National Council for Education at its second session held on 25 May 2011 and has been implemented in all public and licensed private preschool institutions as of the 2011/2012 school year. Directly responsible for its development are the Bureau for Education Services, advisors and supervisors in preschool education from the Bureau, representatives of universities, school counsellors, psychologists and representatives of teachers from preschool institutions. Over 98% of the enrolled nursery-aged children attend this all-day programme.

The programme of care and educational work with children under the age of 3 years defines the scope and forms of educational work with children and is applied in public and private institutions where children spend more than 3 hours daily. The programme has been developed for different age groups: 6-12 months, 12-18 months, 18-24 months and 24-36 months.

The overall objective of this principal programme is to encourage the full development of a preschool child, while creating adequate conditions and encouraging the development of abilities and personality features, expanding experiences and building awareness about oneself, others and the world. Derived from the general objective that directs the overall activities of preschool teachers/nurses are specific goals defined from the child’s perspective: "Exploring and learning about yourself; developing relationships and building knowledge about others; discovering the world and building knowledge about it".

For children aged 3-5 years, preschool institutions have to apply the Programme for activity areas in preschool education. It is based on the milestones regarding developmental characteristics in order to achieve overall development. It is based on the theory and science that combine biological and psychological aspects of development.  

Areas of learning and development

Children under the age of 3 years

The objectives of the Programme of care and educational work with children under the age of 3 years, according to the development domains and activity areas, are as follows.

Care and physical development are of particular importance for the health and proper development of a child, the acquisition of culturally appropriate and hygienic habits, the development of proper body posture and the development of physical movement.

General objectives in the field of social and emotional development:

  • getting to know their strengths and boundaries in order to form the basis for gaining confidence; 
  • presenting themselves using different categories - name, nickname, gender, abilities, etc;
  • becoming independent in meeting their needs (feeding themselves, undressing and dressing themselves, putting on and taking of shoes, going to the toilet, etc.);
  • freely expressing their feelings in their own way and dealing with unpleasant situations by using and harmonizing non-verbal and verbal expressions. 

For the development of intellectual abilities, the objectives are:

  • discovering and developing one’s own potentials, discovering relations between objects and phenomena;
  • developing the ability to express their own ideas;
  • initiating activities and anticipating their consequences (according to their age and developmental capabilities);
  • developing tolerance for others and different behaviours; 
  • identifying the most efficient manner in which to resolve a given problem;
  • understanding and using certain symbols in given situations (labels for parts of space, warnings about sources of danger, etc.); 
  • developing the ability to listen and appreciate other children and adults;
  • engaging in play activities with their peers, applying knowledge in appropriate situations; 
  • observing spatial relations and spatial orientation;
  • acting autonomously in everyday situations (selection of players and games, problem solving and conflict resolution).

To adequately develop the communication skills of children, it is desirable to achieve the following objectives: 

  • expressing themselves freely and explaining their needs and desires, establishing contact with others, meeting new people, elderly/younger people, familiar/unfamiliar people, both individuals and groups, including face-to-face contact; 
  • enhancing verbal communication through playing; 
  • becoming familiar with and using the names of objects and phenomena from their environment and developing the ability to listen to others (speech tolerance).

The general objectives of motor development should help children to: 

  • express and develop their natural driving forces; 
  • satisfy their natural need to move, play and learn movement skills; 
  • follow their own pace of development; 
  • express spontaneity in finding their own way of moving; 
  • develop experience, gain security and confidence in their own movement potentials; 
  • establish non-verbal communication relevant to their social and physical environment.

In order to develop sensory and perceptual sensitivity it is necessary to achieve the following objectives: 

  • discovering and developing perceptual abilities; 
  • developing the ability of spatial orientation, developing the ability to distinguish between stimuli (hot/cold, soft/hard, rough/smooth, salty/sweet, quiet/noisy, pleasant/unpleasant smells, etc.);
  • making the visual distinction between basic shapes (circle, triangle, square);
  • spotting differences between objects (small/big);
  • detecting differences in the weight of objects, distinguishing basic colours (blue, red, yellow, green);
  • observing elementary spatial relations (up, down, etc.);
  • developing the ability to single out an object according to a certain feature.

Musical and rhythmic activities are mainly related to learning and exploring one’s own body as a source of sound (how my hands, feet, fingers and mouth can make sounds), expressing the emotional experience of music (through speech and movement), getting acquainted with music and rhythmic games, and learning to sing. Visual art activities are implemented through practicing visual arts and graphic art activities, the use of various visual materials and various forms of visual expression.

Activities for different age groups (children aged 6-36 months).

Activity areas

Child's age


6 - 12 months

12 – 18 months

18 – 36 months

Care and physical development

Socioeconomic development

Intellectual development

Communication development

Motor development

Development of sensory sensitivity and perception

Musical/rhythmic activities

Art activities


Graphic art activities



Children aged 3 years and over

Each developmental objective is considered only in terms of directing activities, and not as something that every child must achieve at a certain age.

The Programme for children aged 3-6 years is organized considering the following areas and activities:

  • physical and health activities;
  • musical activities;
  • language and speech activities;
  • mathematical and logical activities;
  • social activities and understanding;
  • becoming familiar with nature and coping in the environment; 
  • art activities.

Each area has certain objectives, namely:

  • self-discovery and self-control;
  • building relationships and knowledge about others;
  • discovering and building an understanding of the world.

Reccommended activities and teaching methods are provided alongside the stated objectives.

The abovementioned areas overlap, and complement and enhance each other through different types of activities.

For all of these areas, activity types belong to one of the three groups: practical life, specific actvities and complex activities.

shorter programme for activity areas in preschool education has been derived from the basic programme and adapted for working with children aged 5-6 years, (i.e. in the year before starting school). As such, the programme provides opportunities for creative exercises and can be adapted to the context in which institutions exist.

3-hour preschool education programme complements the main programme and is available for meeting the needs of all children and families. It is largely based on the objectives of the shorter programme. This programme sould consider the needs specific to certain regions and use the potentials of the environment (i.e. the natural, geographical, social and cultural context). The activities should be comprehensive and culturally adapted, with an emphasis on understanding and respect of diversity, and social and cultural dimensions of the education process, with reciprocity in adult–child relations. 

In the Programme for English language activity area - the education objectives derive from advantages of learning foreign languages at an early age (stimulating children’s mental, physical and social development, bearing in mind the developmental characteristics of children aged 3-6 years; building a positive attitude towards a new language; understanding words and expressions in English and their use in practical and life situations; adopting the phonetic system of English language (pronunciation, accent and intonation); developing self-confidence and the desire to communicate in English; encouraging the development of intercultural competence, as well as the language policy of the education system. 

Additional programmes include:

Pedagogical approaches

Children under the age of 3 years

Pedagogical approaches are based on the Law on General Education and its further elaborated in the Law of Preschool Education and the official programme on which every-day practice is based. 

The Programme of care and educational work with children under the age of 3 years provides methodological instructions for its implementation. The role of educators and nurses in work with children of nursery age is to provide a favorable environment with the necessary support. This implies that children of this age group should be enabled to play spontaneously, practically, constructively and creatively and to communicate and cooperate with their peers and adults.

The role of preschool teachers is essential in encouraging and mediating in children's overall learning. Preschool teachers provide resources and materials, offer support and encouragement to children and optimize their learning opportunities. It is also their role to find a way to answer children’s questions so that they are satisfied, by ensuring their response is simple enough and giving specific examples.

The individualization process requires a preschool teacher to carry out activities that will enable every child to feel successful and encouraged. Through play, children develop social skills by interacting with their peers. They learn how to collaborate and share the materials used when playing. Care is taken to ensure that teachers, nurses and children stay together for several years, since the learning process is linked to emotional attachment. It is therefore best for small children to have the same preschool teachers and nurses during the first 3 years of their lives.

For small children, playing is the basis for learning. Playing is used as a basis for acquiring experience; thus, the material and educational environment in which games are played is important. The environment for playing and learning includes everything that surrounds the child in a nursery (floors, walls, shape and size of the play area, furniture, structured and semi-structured learning resources, equipment, toys), as well as the outdoor space and the local and social environment.

The environment for playing and learning is carefully planned, according to the needs and interests of the children. Small children are provided with space for group activities, individual play and independent play, as well as for dynamic and peaceful activities.

Furniture in the nursery room is adapted to children. Children are offered a rich and diverse choice of resources and materials. Materials that encourage children to practice different types of social and emotional, sensory, cognitive and motor activities are procured. Various materials provide children with skills and the opportunity for experiences, actions and concepts.

Different surfaces used by children are provided, such as lawns, paths, garden areas, mounds, sandpits, climbing frames, swings and benches.

Alternative learning strategies are available to private preschool institutions, international preschool institutions and kindergartens carrying out the Montessori programme.

Children aged 3 years and over 

Pedagogical approaches are based on the Law on General Education and are further specified in the Law of Preschool Education and the official programme on which every-day practice is based.

The Programme for the activity areas in preschool education (3-6 years) provides methodological instructions for its implementation for each individual activity area. 

This programme is based on theory and practice and is organised so as to enable children to reach developmental milestones. It is also based on the assumption that children need to achieve various developmental outrcomes and that these outcomes influence each other. It is based on evidence-based findings in psychological and biological science. It is based on the belief that children need an interactive approach and learn best through games and structured activities that stimulate specific areas and characteristics but also overall child development. In addition, the programme takes into account children's specific needs, by recommending individualized strategies and allowing children to follow their own rhythms, abilities and interests.


Portfolios are used for continuous monitoring, tracking progress and addressing needs and assessing overall development. 

Children’s achievements are not assessed using numerical grading; rather, their development is monitored. For this purpose, a portfolio is used, which is a compilation of information about a child, their development and progression (achieving a certain level of development, personal abilities and skills). It is developed and updated over a number of years, while the child is in the preschool institution.

Each portfolio is unique and, as such, is used to monitor and evaluate each child’s progress according to the key areas of development: sensory and motor, cognitive, social and emotional and communication. It is also used to monitor and improve health. This is conducted through unique, officially recognized instruments: developmental maps, assessment scales according to development domains, check lists, questionnaires, etc. The portfolio is structured by systematically collecting information from parents, preschool teachers, nurses and professional associates, who all need to actively participate, provide content to be added to the portfolio, and monitor and improve the development of the child.

Tools for monitoring the development of each child are used in the process of evaluation. These may include assessment scales, observation lists for each area of development and for certain ages, and the results of the sociometric matrices and sociograms used at the beginning and end of the school year. Based on these, a report is prepared which is given to to the parents, who then send it to the primary school. In that way, the portfolio and the process of transition from kindergarten to primary school are connected.

Transition to primary school

A Program for the transition from preschool institutions to primary school has been adopted by the National Council for Education (in 2016/2017) with a view to ensuring the continuity and timeliness of these levels of education. 

It is a model with clearly defined, precise and well-considered steps of cooperation between preschool and primary school in the best interests of the children. This programme is binding for preschool institutions and primary schools. 

The programme of transition from kindergarten to primary school includes a guide, which is structured by developmental areas that provides guidelines on what to include in the report prepared on the basis of each child’s portfolio and sent to the primary school.