Background and policy
Pre-school education covers children from the beginning of the school year in the calendar year in which the child turns 3 until the end of the school year in the calendar year in which the child turns 7. In particularly justified cases, preschool education may also be extended to a child who has completed 2.5 years. Pre-school education is carried out in kindergartens, kindergarten units in primary schools and other forms of pre-school education.
In the case of children with an evaluation on the need for special education, preschool education may be extended to a child over the age of 7, but no longer than until the end of the school year in the calendar year in which the child turns 9. The compulsory education of these children may be postponed until the end of the school year in the calendar year in which the child turns 9.
A child at the age of 6 is obliged to undergo one year of kindergarten preparation (“zerówka”).
Types of facilities
There are different types of facilities for children aged 3-6:
- Preschool (przedszkole)
- pre-school branches in primary schools (oddział przedszkolny w szkole podstawowej),
- preschool education teams (zespół wychowania przedszkolnego),
- pre-school points (punkt przedszkolny).
- According to the provisions of the educational law, a public kindergarten may not charge parents any fees other than those established by the leading authority for the use of preschool education in excess of the established time of free education, upbringing and care of not less than 5 hours a day. This should be in the amount of no more than PLN 1.14 for each additional hour and for food.
- In order to determine the terms of payment for your child’s meals in the public kindergarten, one needs to contact the director of the kindergarten or the authority that runs the kindergarten (the municipality/city office where one lives).
Preschool education is optional for children aged 3-5 years.
However, despite it being optional, every 3-, 4- and 5-year-old has the right to a place in a kindergarten and early learning supports the cognitive and emotional development of children and their readiness for primary education.
Preschool education is compulsory for 6-year-olds. All 6-year-olds have to attend a pre-primary class for one year in order to acquire basic skills before they start school (“zerówka”). Pre-primary classes can be organized either inside of pre-school or primary school.
Children are admitted to kindergartens and schools on an ongoing basis, during the school year, depending on the availability of places. A child’s lack of knowledge of the Polish language is not an obstacle to admission to kindergarten.
1) Rules of admission of children to Polish public kindergartens:
- Entities entitled to enroll a child in a public kindergarten are the child’s parents or legal guardians.
- A child’s legal guardian is a person entrusted by the court with the custody of the child.
- In order to enroll a child in a kindergarten, you need to select the institution and submit an application for admission of a child to a kindergarten, together with documents and statements, must be submitted to the director of the institution.
- The first priority for admission to the kindergarten is:
– children from a large family (from three children);
– children with disabilities;
– children whose parents or siblings are persons with disabilities;
– children who are raised by only one parent,
– children who grew up in foster care.
- In addition, each municipality may set additional criteria that may be based on local social needs.
- The decision to admit a child to a public kindergarten (or to refuse admission) is made by the director of the kindergarten.
- Information about public kindergartens in the municipality and vacant places in kindergartens is held by the respective municipality or the department for education of the municipal office.
- If there are no free places in a kindergarten, you should apply to the municipal office with a request to identify a kindergarten that your child will be able to attend.
2) How to enroll into public kindergarten
Official registration period differs between municipalities (February to April).
- Choose a public kindergarten to which you want to enroll your child.
- Contact the public kindergarten of your choice and find out when it starts recruitment and whether it conducts recruitment online. Choose one out of two options:
a) if the kindergarten does not recruit online:
– visit the selected kindergarten,
– take an application for admission to the kindergarten,
– fill in the application,
– submit the completed application to that kindergarten,
b) if the kindergarten conducts recruitment via the Internet:
– go to the website of the city or municipality,
– register on the recruitment platform,
– fill in the form and indicate the kindergartens to which you want to enroll your child. You will see all the kindergartens that take part in the electronic recruitment in your municipality or city. You can select up to three kindergartens. Remember to mark them in the right order based on preferences: as first one, indicate the one you care most about. If your child doesn’t get into the first one, it’s possible that he or she will get into the second or third one.
Click the button that confirms the completion of registration. The office may ask you to print out the documents and take to the kindergarten.
- Wait for the announcement of the list of qualified and unqualified children.
- When your child is qualified for kindergarten – confirm your application and bring additional
- documents (if needed).
- Wait for the announcement of the list of accepted and unaccepted children.
- If your child has been accepted, sign a contract with the kindergarten.
- If your child has not been admitted, you can appeal the decision of the selection committee or you can go to the municipality (city) office and ask them to designate a kindergarten for your child.
3) Additional documents
- If the child is from a large family, an affidavit of large family size must be submitted.
- If there is a person with a disability in the child’s family, the application for admission of the child to kindergarten must be accompanied by a certificate of need for special education issued due to the disability or a certificate of disability or degree of disability.
- In all cases, the municipality may verify the veracity of documents and statements contained in the application for admission of a child to kindergarten.