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Eurydice

EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National reforms in early childhood education and care

Poland

14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.1National reforms in early childhood education and care

Last update: 19 January 2024

2023

New Regulation of the Minister of Family and Social Policy on the standards of care provided to children under 3 years of age

30 October 2023

The Ministry of Family and Social Policy, aiming to ensure the highest quality of services in care institutions, has developed standards for care provided to children up to the age of 3. The standards, which provide a framework for the quality of care and education, have been introduced through an amendment to the provisions of the Act on care for children up to the age of 3 and an ordinance of the Minister of Family and Social Policy.

The regulation aims to define a national quality framework for early care and education services, adapted to national regulations and conditions, needs reported by stakeholders, while taking into account the nature of care services depending on the form of care: in a crèche, a children's club or by a day carer.  It responds to the need to standardise the quality framework for care and education introduced so far independently by the majority of childcare institutions for children up to the age of 3. According to research carried out by the Institute of Labour and Social Affairs, it is estimated that nearly 75 per cent of childcare institutions formulate care and education plans in order to improve their management and ensure the quality of work with children.

The implementation of the quality framework, as recommended by the Council of the European Union, is of an optional nature, adapted to intra-state regulations, and with other legislation in the field of childcare for children up to the age of 3 and the multiannual programme for the development of childcare institutions for children up to the age of 3 MALUCH+ 2022-2029, implements the key principles of the quality framework as indicated in the recommendations of the Council of the European Union.

The regulation sets out standards for:

  1. working with the child
  2. safety of children
  3. organisation of work, development and safety of the staff employed in the crèche or children's club or day-care worker respectively
  4. monitoring and evaluation
  5. the co-operation of those providing care with parents.

These standards consist of thematic blocks that provide a detailed framework for the quality of care and education. The thematic blocks that are part of the standards form a care and education plan to ensure that the care services provided by crèches, children's clubs and day care providers are standardised and equivalent to the regulations in force in the European Union. 

The standards for working with children provide a framework for care and education that takes into account the needs of children and their all-round development.

Child safety standards are procedures that define the rules of a child's stay in a care institution. 

Standards concerning the organisation of work ensure that the staff's care competences can be continuously developed, including ensuring that conditions are created that are conducive to stimulating the child's development. 

Further standards relate to the monitoring and evaluation of the care system. It is necessary that care services are reviewed and revised to take care of the current needs of young children. 

Complementing the previous standards are standards to ensure proper cooperation between parents and institutional care providers.

 

Another 90,000 new crèche places - Toddler+ 2023

27 April 2023

The new edition of the Toddler+ programme has been open. The aim of the programme is to establish a crèche in every commune. 2023 call will enable the creation of around 90,000 care places.

Thanks to the new edition of the Toddler+ programme, the number of "white spots" (i.e. communes without crèches) will be reduced from 1,105 to 664. In 441 communes, a crèche or a children's club subsidised under the programme will be the first such institution in its area.

So far, 52 per cent of local authorities had crèches on their territory, this year's intake will bring that number up to 73 per cent. There are now 230,000 childcare places for toddlers in Poland, while in 2015 there were only 84,000.

The budget for the new edition of the Toddler+ programme is PLN 5.5 billion.

The programme is financed mainly from the European Social Fund Plus (over PLN 3.7 billion) and the National Programme for Reconstruction (KPO, PLN 1.7 billion).

Funds for the creation of new crèche care places were divided according to an algorithm. Communes will receive a specific pool of funds to be used for the creation and operation of care places, according to their needs resulting from statistics and the rules of European programmes.

New to the Toddler+ programme is a subsidy for each newly created childcare place for children up to three years old. This is an amount of up to PLN 837 per month for three years.

 

Toddler+ programme - 2022-2029 (additional information)

The 'Toddler (Maluch)+' programme supports the development of childcare institutions for children up to the age of three - crèches, children's clubs and day carers. Final recipients of support can receive funding for the creation and operation of care places. The new version of the programme covers the period 2022-2029.

The aim of the programme is to increase the territorial and financial availability of care places in crèches, children's clubs and day carers for all children, including those with disabilities and those requiring special care.

Legal basis: Act of 4 February 2011 on the care of children aged up to 3 years

Ninanki - a new programme to promote physical activity for pre-schoolers

10 March 2023

"Ninanki" is an educational programme aimed at pre-schoolers and pupils in the grades 1-3 of primary schools. It addresses physical and mental development and is based on basic movement patterns emphasising coordination and concentration.

"Ninanki" depicts the animal world, in which movement is a natural, biological need, exactly as it is for young humans. By identifying animals with particular movements, children can be taught the basic principles of physical activity in an attractive way. A well-chosen programme of sports activities has a positive impact on their physical and emotional development.

The project is currently in the process of being translated into Czech, English, Italian, Ukrainian and the Silesian dialect.

2022

New edition of the Toddler+ programme

30 November 2022

The Minister for Family and Social Policy has presented the assumptions of the new edition of the Maluch+ programme. Under the programme, crèches and kids clubs are being set up, refurbished or equipped, and places in day-care are being created.

So far, the Toddler+ programme has operated on an annual basis; now it will have a long-term character. Its budget in the new edition is planned at PLN 5.5 billion. This will increase the number of places for the youngest children by additional 102,000 places. Currently, there are 8,000 crèches and children's clubs, with approx. 228,000 childcare places for children under the age of three. In 2015, there were fewer than 3 000 facilities, which offered places for just 84 000 children.

The programme is primarily aimed at municipalities and secondarily at other entities creating childcare places for the youngest children. It makes it possible not only to activate parents professionally, but also to increase employment.

In the new edition of the programme, municipalities will have three years to implement the task from the announcement of the grant award. The funds will be spent not only on reconstruction, renovation of the building or adaptation of the rooms to the needs of children, but also on the purchase or installation of equipment. Local authorities will receive up to PLN 837 per month for three years to subsidise the operation of an already established place for the youngest children.

 

The government has adopted the "Demographic Strategy 2040".

15 November 2022

The Council of Ministers adopted on 15 November 2022. "Demographic Strategy 2040", the main goal of which is to escape the low fertility trap and come closer to a birth level that guarantees the replacement of generations. The document emphasises that in order to enable Poles to realise their plans to have children, it is necessary to take action in specific areas.

Strengthening the family through, among other things, financial security and support in meeting housing needs were listed among them. Removal of barriers for those wishing to have children, e.g. through the development of a family-friendly labour market, development of health care, improvement of the quality and organisation of education, and development of childcare facilities are also included together with improving the quality of management and implementation of policies at central and local government level.

In the materials made available on the Chancellery of the Prime Minister's website, the Demographic Strategy 2040 is described as a comprehensive document which aims to reverse unfavourable trends in Polish demography.

Subsidising provision for children below 3. PLN 95 million has already been allocated to ECEC settings

9 June 2022

Another new support instrument for families with young children - in addition to the Family Care Capital - is a subsidy for the child's stay at a crèche, children's club or day-care provider - up to PLN 400 per month. It applies to those children who do not qualify for the Family Care Capital because, for example, they do not meet the age criterion.

Lower fees for a child's stay in, for example, a day-care centre, means in practice more affordable care and easing the burden on household budgets. To date, more than PLN 95 million for 78,500 children has already been directed to care institutions as part of subsidising the stay of children in a crèche, a children's club or with a day carer.

Applications for this additional funding, can only be submitted electronically.

Family Care Capital

January 2022

The Family Care Capital is a new benefit for parents to receive for the second and subsequent child in a family. The benefit is payable from the month in which that child turns 12 months old until the end of the month in which the child turns 35 months old. The maximum capital entitlement is as much as PLN 12,000 per child.

Family care capital is an additional support instrument to facilitate the combination of parenthood and work. 

The family care capital came into effect on 1 January 2022.

Family care capital is available in the amount of PLN 500 or PLN 1,000 per month. The parents themselves can indicate whether they want to receive the capital in the amount of PLN 500 for 24 months or in the amount of PLN 1,000 for 12 months.

The benefit is available regardless of family income.

Changes in childcare for children under 3 years

  • The provisions of the Family Care Capital Act also provide for amendments to the Childcare Act for children up to the age of three, which will, among other things, introduce a subsidy for stays in a crèche, a children's club or with a day-care provider for children not covered by the Family Care Capital.
  • The subsidy will be available - upon request - to parents, legal guardians and other persons entrusted by the court with the care of the child. It will be linked to the stay of a child not covered by the Family Care Capital in a childcare institution for children up to the age of three and will result in a reduction of the monthly fee paid for the stay (excluding meals, but taking into account discounts provided by the institution supervising the ECEC setting).

Subsidies will be available:

  • for the first and only child in a family,
  • for the first child in families where another child is covered by the family care capital,
  • for a child before the age of 12 months and after the age of 35 months.

The subsidy will amount to a maximum of PLN 400 per month per child in a crèche, children's club or day-care centre, but no more than the fee paid by parents for the stay of their children in the crèche, children's club or day-care centre.

It is estimated that around 110,000 children will be covered by this support.

2021

Piloting the standards for organising early childhood development support and family support

26 October 2021

Maria Grzegorzewska Academy of Special Education, within the framework of cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science, starts piloting the standards within the scope of organizing early support services for child development and family support.

Within the framework of an agreement with the Ministry of Education and Science, a team of specialists in early support of child development at the APS has developed standards for the organisation of early support of child development and family support, which will undergo practical verification and evaluation by persons and entities involved in the implementation of early support of child development in districts.

The invitation to participate in the pilot project is directed to districts and public psychological-educational counselling centres that provide early support for child development or the tasks of a leading coordination and rehabilitation centre.

Care in nurseries (ECEC for children aged 0 to 3) has been suspended

8 April 2021

A regulation has been published which suspends all care activities in nurseries, children clubs and by day carers up to 18 April 2021. Care to children of medical workers and security forces will be still provided.

Classes in pre-school institutions have been suspended up to 11 April (prolonged to 18 April)

26 March 2021

In class activities in all types of pre-school institutions have been suspended up to the 11 April (later prolonged to 18 April). Classes will be conducted with the use of online methods or any other methods recommended by the heads of institutions. Exceptions are offered to children with special education statements and to children of medical staff involved in direct prevention and combating of  Covid-19 pandemic.

The results of "MALUCH+" (Toddler+) 2021 competition

Reform status: programme, January 2021

Nearly 19 thousand care places for children under 3 years of age will be created in 2021 by entities other than local government units thanks to "MALUCH+" (Toddler+) 2021 programme. The beneficiaries of the programme will receive funding for the current operation of places for about 112.7 thousand children, including 1.15 thousand children with disabilities or requiring special care

The Ministry of Family and Social Policy has allocated up to PLN 450 million for the "MALUCH+" 2021 edition.

The average monthly subsidy per 1 care place is PLN 80 and in the case of places for disabled children or children requiring special care - PLN 500, however in modules 3 and 4 for reducing parents' fees, the amount of subsidy granted may not be higher than the fees the parents pay for the child's stay in the institution, taking into account the available reductions.