4.1.1. Place guarantee to ECEC
In Norway, the statutory right to a place in a publicly subsidised kindergarten for every child entered into force in 2009 (Kindergarten Act). The entitlement to a place in a kindergarten is guaranteed for all children from the age of 1 year, until then paid parental leave is available. Children who turn 1 year old no later than the end of August, are entitled to a place by August during the year in which they apply for a place. Children who turn 1 year old in September, October, or November are upon application entitled to a kindergarten place by the end of the month in which they turn 1 year old. The municipalities must secure enough kindergarten places to meet demand.
Early childhood education and care (ECEC) is publicly subsidised, but not free of charge. See Chapter 3.1 Funding in ECEC.
The fees paid by parents or guardians are strictly regulated and are set each year in the state budget. The fee is limited to NOK 3000 per child per month (as of January 2023) [275 Euro, February 2023]. Since 2015, fees for a place in kindergarten are limited to 6% of the household’s income. Parents or guardians with more than one child in kindergarten are also entitled to a sibling discount. These regulations apply to both private and public kindergarten and are the same for centre-based and home-based settings. From the age of two, children from low-income families are legally entitled to 20 hours per week of ECEC free of charge.
In addition, municipalities can set up their own schemes to reduce fees paid by parents or guardians.