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


14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.1National reforms in early childhood education and care

Last update: 12 September 2023

Pre-primary education is the stage of education that caters to children aged 0-5. It is non-compulsory and organised into two cycles: the first one for children up to 2 years of age, and the second one for children aged 3-5.


Increase in public places in early childhood education 2023/24 school year

Following the objective established in LOMLOE on the universalization of schooling for children between the ages of 0 to 2 years, the financing programme for the creation of places in public institutions in the first cycle of early childhood education will continue during the 2023/24 school year with a financial envelope of more than 200 million euros.

This gradual process of increasing public places in early childhood education is already showing in educational statistics. The number of children aged 0 to 3 years enrolled in schools has increased by 6.8% in the 2022/23 school year compared to the previous year (29,919 more schoolchildren). With this, the schooling rate in the first cycle of early childhood education, considered key for equity in the educational system, reaches 45.6%, its highest level since data exists. The statistics '2022-2023 data progress”, issued by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, with data from the autonomous communities, show this increase.

Reform of the degree plan of the Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education

The Ministry of Universities has published a draft ministerial order with the changes it proposes for the curriculum of the Early Childhood Education Bachelor´s degree. Among these modifications, the order includes the organisation of the courses and the distribution of the credits to pass it. The order proposed by Universities adds more credits to subjects such as Fundamentals of Educational Inclusion and Attention to Diversity. In addition, there are subjects that were not mandatory and now become so as the Attention to Diversity. Similarly, this reform focuses on general issues such as “the digitalisation of education, personal skills or sustainability”. As for the subject called Digitalisation, 12 university credits are dedicated.

Implementation of Early Childhood Education Curricula of the different Autonomous Communities

After the reform carried out in 2020 with the publication of Organic Law 3/2020 amending Organic Law 2/2006 on Education, a reform process began that culminated with the publication, among others, of Royal Decree 95/2022 establishing the ordination and minimum education of early childhood education from 0 to 5 years (ISCED 0). From this Royal Decree, each Autonomous Community and the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, in its field of competence, has made a specific provision in its own Decree/Order of Curriculum. They can be consulted at the link of educagob. These curricula have been implemented throughout the Early Childhood Education stage in the 2022/23 academic year.


School Code Plan 4.0

This plan will be structured as a Territorial Cooperation Programme between the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MEFP) and the educational administrations of the autonomous communities. Its purpose is to help develop the digital skills of students in early childhood, primary and secondary education with a special focus on computational thinking, programming and robotics.

Over the next two years, an investment of 356 million euros is planned for the incorporation of programming assistants in classrooms to help teachers implement robotics, programming and computational thinking in their lessons.

Likewise, this plan does not imply the modification of the new curricula which begin implementation in September, but rather their development. During the 2022/2023 school year, it will be implemented in child and primary education and, the following year, in secondary education.

Similarly, the plan includes the provision of equipment and teaching materials, specific educational resources and guides that will be prepared by the National Institute of Educational Technologies and Teacher Training (INTEF).

New steering document for ECEC

Royal Decree 95/2022 was approved in February which establishes the organization and minimum contents of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) from 0 and 5 years (ISCED 0). For the first time, the new legislation regulates and provides an educational character to the education stage from 0 to 2 years. Pre-primary school is not mandatory, and it is divided in two cycles: 0 to 2 years (ISCED 01) and 3 to 5 years (ISCED 02).

One of the objectives, within the framework of the new Organic Law 3/2020 (LOMLOE) which modifies the Organic Law 2/2006 (LOE), is the progressive implementation of the first cycle through public offer and the extension of its gratuity. It also focuses on the prioritization of access of the students in danger of poverty and social exclusion, and to palliate the situation of low rate of schooling.

The purpose of pre-primary education is to contribute to the physical, affective, and social development of children. In order to do so, the new Royal Decree defines the objectives, aims, general and pedagogic principles, and key competences for this period, as well as the specific competences, evaluation criteria and basic knowledge. The educative contents of pre-primary education are organized in areas related to fields part of the experience and infants’ development and will be treated by global propositions of learning which has interest and significance for the kids in each area they will be integrated:

  • growth in harmony;
  • discovery and exploration of the surroundings;
  • communication and representation of reality.

The specific competences in each area include the abilities students must master in activities or situations, whose approach require basic knowledge of each area. These specific competences represent a connecting element between the basic knowledge of the areas and the evaluation criteria.


Cooperation programme to finance the creation of public places of the first cycle of Early Childhood Education

In order to achieve greater equity in the educational system, one of the fundamental objectives set by the LOMLOE (Law on Education 3/2020) is the universalization of schooling from 0 to 2 years. To achieve this objective, a cooperative work between the MEFP and the autonomous communities is necessary. This semester the cooperation programme  to finance the creation of public places of the first cycle of Early Childhood Education, endowed in 2021 with 200 million euros, was presented to the General Education Commission. The first annuity will allow the creation of more than 21 000 places.

Prevention, hygiene and health promotion measures against COVID-19 for educational centres in the 2021/2022 school year

The prevention and protection measures adopted have meant a reconsideration of the organization of multiple activities so that they are carried out safely, including activities in educational centres. The current situation makes it necessary to maintain the measures against COVID19 for the academic year 2021/22 in order to protect the right to education of children and adolescents, adapting them to the possible scenarios that may arise in the pandemic context in the coming months. The measures are collected in the following document: HEALTH PREVENTION, HYGIENE AND PROMOTION MEASURES AGAINST COVID-19 FOR EDUCATIONAL CENTERS IN THE COURSE 2021/2022. This document is being updated periodically. The latest version was approved by the Public Health Commission on June 29, 2021.

New Organic Law on Education LOMLOE

On January 19, 2021, the Law on Education 3/2020 which amends the Law 2/2006 became effective (LOMLOE). Its coming into force has repealed Law 8/2013, of December 9, for the improvement of educational quality.

The main changes this new law introduces in Early Childhood Education are the following:

  • Educational provision:
    • The Administrations will gradually increase the offer of public places in the first cycle in order to meet all requests from ages 0 to 2.
    • All centres from 0 to 5 years will require authorization by the educational administration for their operation.
    • The Government will regulate the curriculum and the minimum requirements of the two cycles of this stage, that is, the qualifications of all professionals, the student-teacher ratio, the facilities, and the number of school positions.
  • Objectives and principles:
    • At this stage, emotion-management, education for responsible and sustainable consumerism, and health promotion and education are pedagogical principles.
    • The promotion of gender equality is a new objective in Early Childhood Education.
    • At this stage, the effects of cultural, social and economic inequalities on children's learning and development will be compensated for.
  • Evaluation and orientation:
    • Early detection and early attention to specific educational support needs will be a priority.
    • At the end of the stage, a report will be issued on the development and needs of each student.

Since the coming into force of this law, an implementation process has begun that will conclude in the 2023/2024 academic year.