Background and policy
Comprehensive information in the field of care for children aged from 20 weeks old to 3 years is available on the Ministry of Family and Social Policy website. The public nursery can be attended by a child between 20 weeks old and 3 years old although not every nursery has infant wards – and due to that some nurseries might accept only children above 12 months old. This should be checked in the statute of the nursery to which one wants to enroll their child. In exceptional situations, for example, due to the lack of space in preschool, the nursery may also accept a child over 3 years old.
Types of facilities
Facilities for children under the age of 3:
- nurseries (żłobek),
- children’s clubs (klub dziecięcy).
Public early education facilities can have tuition fees or be free of charge depending on the Municipality. The limit on the monthly fee for a child’s stay in a public nursery, is (as of the second half of 2023) PLN 1512. The limit may change in November 2023. The monthly fee limit is set for the entire country, based on data from the Nursery Register and changes twice a year.
Nurseries in Warsaw are free of charge but limited in number. In other municipalities you can apply for a monthly subsidy from Social Insurance Institution to reduce the fee by up to 400 PLN (Zakład Ubezpieczeń Społecznych – ZUS) https://www.zus.pl/-/dofinansowanie-pobytu-w-zlobku
There are private nurseries in Poland that are not required by law to maintain a limited amount in tuition fees.
Nursery enrolment is optional. Nurseries are not part of the education system but are subject to the Ministry of Family and Social Policy.
- Any parent can find a list of current facilities in the register of nurseries on the website of the Ministry of Family Affairs, Labor and Social Policy or in the Public Information Bulletin of their municipality or city office
- The conditions for admitting a child to a public nursery are determined depending on the institution and can be found on the website of the nursery in question, the city or municipal office, or directly at the institution It is important to familiarize oneself with the list of required documents, that certain municipality requires.
- Each city in Poland determines its own criteria for admission to nurseries and give points for meeting the criteria they set. Points might be given to families in which:
- both parents work,
- the parents pay income tax in the city where the nursery is located,
- the child is raised by a single parent,
- the child is raised in a large family (more than two children),
- the child has siblings – especially those with a certified disability or already attending the nursery in question,
- the child is raised in a foster family,
- the parents are disabled,
- the parents are in full-time education.
- In the case of nurseries, there is no regionalization, so the child can be sent to any institution chosen by the parents. However, it is worth knowing that some public nurseries may award additional points just for registration in the region.
- Number of cities introducing the principle of admitting only children with mandatory immunizations to nurseries is rising, it already applies to Warsaw, Wroclaw, Bialystok, among others. The exceptions are children who have not been vaccinated for health reasons.
- Admission time – as a rule admission period takes place in the spring, from April to June, and applies to places that will be vacant from September. If a place in the nursery becomes vacant after September, it is possible to accept another child. Such a situation can happen in any month. Nurseries then inform parents of children who did not get into the facility in the first intake about the possibility of admitting their child to the nursery for the vacant place.
- Nursery enrollment consists of several stages:
– Submission of an application for admission of a child to the institution,
– Announcement of the list of accepted children,
– Confirmation of the will to enroll the child in the selected facility (if parents fail to do so, the application will be rejected and will not participate in the recruitment process to any facility) and submission of additional documents,
– Supplementary recruitment – enrollment in nurseries where there are still vacancies (June-July).