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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Early childhood education and care


4.Early childhood education and care

Last update: 9 June 2022

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) (for children from birth to the age of 6 years) is part of school education and includes, according to the National Education Law, Article 23a:  

  • ante-preschool education (for children aged 0-3 years)

  • preschool education (for children aged 3-6 years). 

Ante-preschool education is delivered in: 

  • crèches,

  • kindergartens, 

  • day-care centres (daycare centers are the responsability of the Ministry of Labor and Social Justice and are overseen by town halls and child protection departments; they offer care and protection services for children from birth to the age of 18 years). 

Preschool education is organised in kindergartens (grădiniţă). Kindergartens may be autonomous and have legal person status or they may be part of a school that also provides other levels of education. 

The Ministry of Education is entirely responsible for the ECEC of children aged 3 and over. However, for children under the age of 3 years, it shares responsibility with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labour and Social Justice and public local authorities. 

ECEC is provided in three types of programmes, namely:

  • regular hours (5 hours)  

  • long hours (10 hours)  

  • weekly (boarding Monday to Friday).  

The regular-hours programme is often provided in rural areas as it meets the educational needs of children living in these areas. It may also be found in urban areas, sometimes in combination with a long hours programme. The regular-hours programme may be organised either within an autonomous kindergarten or in a kindergarten that is integrated with a school.

The long-hours programme prevails in urban areas and is provided within an autonomous setting with a legal person status (crèche/kindergarten) or as a combination of regular- and long-hours programmes within the same setting or in separated settings. 

Most crèches (the ante-preschool level) provide a long-hours programme and are located in urban areas. 

Weekly programmes are usually provided within an autonomous setting. Some kindergartens provides only a weekly programme whereas others provide a long-hours programme for some children and a weekly programme for others. 

ECEC is free of charge, even when children attend full time. 

A new ECEC Curriculum was adopted by the Ministerial Order no. 4694/02.08.2019. It covers the entire ECEC phase.