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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Educational guidelines


4.Early childhood education and care

4.4Educational guidelines

Last update: 22 March 2024

Steering documents

Children aged up to 3 years

The key tasks of crèches and kids’ clubs include:

  • providing care to children in conditions similar to a family home;
  • providing appropriate care and education to children through the organisation of play activities with educational elements, while taking into consideration their individual needs;
  • organising care, educational and learning activities that are suitable for the age of children and the level of their physical and psychological development.

The Act of 4 February 2011 on the Care for Children aged up to 3 years (ustawa o opiece nad dziećmi w wieku do lat 3); provides for learning activities to be organised for children, and educational standards for crèches or kids’ clubs are provided in the Regulation of 19 September 2023 on standards of care for children aged up to 3 years (Rozporządzenie Ministra Rodziny i Polityki Społecznej z dnia 19 września 2023 r. w sprawie standardów opieki sprawowanej nad dziećmi w wieku do lat 3).

Pursuant to the Act, child minders in crèches and kids’ clubs work with children’s parents, in particular, providing information, guidance and advice to parents regarding work with children. Parents may participate in activities conducted in a kids’ club. A crèche or kids’ club may establish a parents’ council, which represents all parents of attending children. The powers of a parents’ council are set out in the Act on the Care for Children aged up to 3 years.  

Children aged 3–6 years

The aims of preschool education are set out in the national core curriculum for preschool education. The core curriculum is established by the Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 14 February 2017 on the core curriculum for preschool education and the core curriculum for general education in primary schools, including for pupils with a moderate or severe intellectual disability, and for general education in stage I sectoral vocational schools, general education in special schools preparing people for employment and general education in post-secondary schools (Rozporządzenie Ministra Edukacji Narodowej z dnia 14 lutego 2017 r. w sprawie podstawy programowej wychowania przedszkolnego oraz podstawy programowej kształcenia ogólnego dla szkoły podstawowej, w tym dla uczniów z niepełnosprawnością intelektualną w stopniu umiarkowanym lub znacznym, kształcenia ogólnego dla branżowej szkoły I stopnia, kształcenia ogólnego dla szkoły specjalnej przysposabiającej do pracy oraz kształcenia ogólnego dla szkoły policealnej).

Preschool teachers should choose working methods and approaches that are suitable for the level of development and needs of every child. In their work with children, teachers should tailor activities to the children’s individual needs and interests.

Areas of learning and development

Children aged up to 3 years

Crèches and kids’ clubs do not follow any core curriculum or programme based on national legislation. The legislation recommends only that activities should serve care and education purposes and involve play with elements of learning, while taking into consideration the level of physical and psychological development of children at a given age.

The services provided by crèches include the following elements based on the norms for children of this age: meals; care and nursing services; sleep and rest hygiene; indoor and outdoor educational and learning activities; activities preventing diseases and promoting health; corrective activities; and first aid.

In accordance with the Act of 4 February 2011 on the Care for Children aged up to 3 years (ustawa o opiece nad dziećmi w wieku do lat 3), a parents’ council can be established and operate in a crèche or kids’ club. The council may, for example, propose action, put forward suggestions and give opinions to the head and the administering body of a crèche or kids’ club in all matters relating to its activities, in particular its educational and learning activities.

Children aged 3–6 years

Preschool education aims to support comprehensive development of children. Support is provided through care, education, and teaching and learning processes so that children can discover their own abilities and the meaning of their activities, and gain experience on their way to understanding and appreciating truth, goodness and beauty. In this way, children achieve readiness to enter the first stage of school education.

Nursery schools have the following tasks, as specified in the national core curriculum for preschool education:

  1. support multidimensional activities for children by providing conditions that encourage them to gain experiences in physical, emotional, social and cognitive areas of their development;
  2. provide conditions for children’s unconstrained development, play and leisure, while giving them a sense of security;
  3. support activities that improve children’s sensory integration and ability to use emerging cognitive processes;
  4. provide appropriate conditions to encourage children to gain experience so as to ensure continuity in their adaptation processes, and help children who are developing in a non-harmonious way, at a slower or accelerated pace;
  5. support children in their independent exploration of the world, and select learning content that is adequate for the level of their development, perceptual abilities, concepts and reasoning, while respecting their individual needs and interests;
  6. increase children’s self-esteem, enhance their individuality and originality, and strengthen their need to create interpersonal relations and participate in a group;
  7. create situations that encourage the development of habits and behaviours leading to independence, caring for health, motor fitness and safety, including road traffic safety;
  8. prepare children to understand their own and other people’s emotions and feelings, and take care of their mental health, among other things, through real-life situations emerging in a nursery school and task-oriented situations that embrace learning content appropriate for children’s intellectual abilities and development expectations;
  9. create learning situations that build children’s sensitivity, including aesthetic sensitivity, with regard to many spheres of human activity – speech, behaviour, motion, environment, dressing, music, dancing, singing, theatre and visual arts;
  10. provide conditions for safe and independent exploration of the surrounding natural environment, which stimulate the development of children’s sensitivity and enable them to learn about values and norms concerning the natural environment, as appropriate for the stage of their development;
  11. provide conditions for safe and independent exploration of elements of technology in children’s environments, and for designing, tinkering, planning and undertaking purposeful action, and presenting products of their work;
  12. collaborate with parents and various communities, organisations and institutions that parents consider to be a source of important values, in order to provide conditions for the development of children’s identity;
  13. create, together with these entities, situations in which children learn about values and social norms that come from the family, a group in a nursery school and other adults, including elderly people, and shape behaviours based on values that children may understand at this stage of development;
  14. systematically extend, with parents’ consent, learning content to include new issues in response to changes and phenomena emerging in children’s environments that are relevant to their safety and harmonious development;
  15. systematically support the development of children’s learning mechanisms so that they achieve a level that enables them to start primary school education;
  16. organise classes and activities, in line with needs, in which children can learn the culture and language of a national or ethnic minority or the regional language (Kashubian);
  17. create learning situations that arouse children’s interest in a modern foreign language and in learning about other cultures.

The core curriculum also sets out expected achievements for children in terms of physical, emotional, social and cognitive development upon completion of preschool education.

Furthermore, pursuant to Art. 26a of the Law on School Education (ustawa z dnia 14 grudnia   2016 r., Prawo oświatowe), nursery schools, preschool classes in primary schools and other preschool education settings conduct, on a regular basis, vocational (pre-orientation) guidance activities, which aim to introduce children to selected occupations and stimulate and develop their interests and aptitudes. The thematic scope of such activities is defined in the Regulation of the Minister of Education and Science on vocational guidance (rozporządzenie Ministra Edukacji i Nauki z dnia 12 lutego 2019 r. w sprawie doradztwa zawodowego).

Pedagogical approaches

Children aged up to 3 years

The Act of 4 February 2011 on the Care of Children aged up to 3 years (Ustawa o opiece nad dziećmi w wieku do lat 3) does not recommend any teaching methods or aids. Activities in crèches are based on their organisational regulations, which specify the institution’s tasks. These include, in particular, the provision of care and education in safe and hygienic conditions necessary for children’s development, disease prevention and health promotion, and nursing care.

In addition to educational and care activities, crèches and kids’ clubs organise play activities with educational elements that are suited to children’s individual needs and the level of their physical and psychological development. Staff are free to choose teaching aids, taking into consideration the needs of children according to their age and development.

Children aged 3–6 years

Play is the main form of activity for children in preschool education.

Most preschool education institutions do not use any specific educational, teaching or learning methods. The work with children is based on their spontaneous activity. The preschool environment stimulates and directs their imitative and creative activities. Games and activities stimulating development are the most common methods.

In accordance with the core curriculum for preschool education, play, learning and leisure time in a nursery school are organised so as to follow the rhythm of the day: regularly repeated phases that enable children to understand gradually the concept of time and organisation and give them a sense of security and tranquillity, thus ensuring their healthy development.

Some nursery schools follow or adapt methods based on specific methodological theories, such as Montessori playgroups. Some institutions combine various methods of working with children to enrich their own ideas. Montessori’s theory had considerable impact on the preschool education system in Poland between the two World Wars. After the Second World War until the end of the 1980s, alternative educational approaches were not permitted in Poland.

At present, some nursery schools seek to implement theories (or elements of them) that are well known across the world, such as Laban’s creative gymnastics; Freinet’s techniques; the Good Start method developed by Bogdanowicz; Katz and Chard’s project approach; and the Waldorf concept of preschool education.

Today’s Polish nursery school system aims to build a model of education based on expression, which focuses on developing children’s positive self-image, building their inner world and developing their self-expression skills, thus building their self-management capacities.


Children aged up to 3 years

The Act of 4 February 2011 on the Care for Children aged up to 3 years (ustawa o opiece nad dziećmi w wieku do lat 3) does not provide for the assessment of children attending crèches or kids’ clubs. Crèche staff work with parents, providing information about children’s achievements, their problems and any worrying health symptoms on an ongoing basis.

Children aged 3–6 years

Pursuant to the Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 9 August 2017 on psychological and pedagogical support in public nursery schools, schools and other public institutions (rozporządzenie Ministra Edukacji Narodowej z dnia 9 sierpnia 2017 r. w sprawie zasad organizacji i udzielania pomocy psychologiczno-pedagogicznej w publicznych przedszkolach, szkołach i placówkach), a preschool teacher should observe individual children and keep records of their achievements in order to identify and cater to their developmental needs, and cooperate with counselling and healthcare specialists. Teachers use the information gathered to support children’s development in their daily work with children and in collaboration with parents.

Assessment of school readiness

Pursuant to the Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 27 August 2019 on state certificates and diplomas and other school documentation (rozporządzenie Ministra Edukacji Narodowej z dnia 27 sierpnia 2019 r. w sprawie świadectw, dyplomów państwowych i innych druków), heads of nursery schools or schools with preschool classes, or persons managing alternative preschool education settings, are required to issue a statement on school readiness to parents of children who are taking the compulsory preparatory preschool education year. An assessment of school readiness is conducted by teachers of 6-year-olds attending preschool education. For 5-year-old children, a school-readiness assessment is conducted at the parents’ request (if the parents decide that their child will start school at the age of 6 years). The assessment takes place at the beginning of the school year preceding the child’s possible enrolment in the first grade of primary school. Based on the assessment, teachers should prepare a written statement, ‘Information on the child’s readiness to start primary school’, which is provided to the child’s parents.

The assessment aims to collect information that may help:

  • parents to learn about the level of the child’s readiness for school education;
  • preschool teachers to set up an individualised programme supporting the child’s development;
  • staff in a counselling and guidance centre to conduct a more in-depth assessment of the child, where necessary.

Similar arrangements are set out in the new Regulation of the Minister of Education and Science of 7 June 2023 on state certificates and diplomas and other school documentation (rozporządzenie Ministra Edukacji i Nauki z dnia 7 czerwca 2023 r. w sprawie świadectw, dyplomów państwowych i innych druków), which came into force on 17 June 2023. The statement on the child’s school readiness is issued to the parents of a child who is taking the compulsory preparatory preschool education year by the end of April in the year preceding the year in which the child is required or may start primary school. For a child who may start primary school at the age of 6, the school readiness statement is issued at their parents’ request, which should be submitted, at the latest, by 30 September in the school year preceding the school year in which the child may start primary school.

Transition to primary school

The primary school starting age is 7 years. Children aged 6 years are required to complete a preschool preparatory year in a nursery school, another preschool education setting or a preschool class of the primary school. At the end of the school year, parents receive information on their child’s readiness to start primary school (see the section “Assessment of school readiness’ above) from the preschool teacher.