Are you moving to Spain with less than 5 years old children? How to find child care services there? Here is an overview of the Spanish child care system.
If you are about to move to Spain with your family, you will probably have queries on your children's education, especially if they are less than 5 years old. They will be eligible to the Spanish child care system. In fact, you are likely to find nurseries, kindergartens and child care centers in all Spanish cities. But above all, you have to be aware of your parenting responsibilities and inquire on the country's education system.
The Spanish education system is governed by the Ministry of Education and Culture. But schools are generally managed at regional levels. Thus, schooling hours, as well as curricular and extra-curricular activities are determined locally.
The Spanish education system is divided into different sections. In general, 0-3 years old children are assigned to a nurseries while 3 to 6 years old children attend kindergarten. They are enrolled in primary school only at the age of 6. Note that the first six years of education are not compulsory in Spain, but they are recommended for the child's development and well-being.
Moreover, pre-primary education, known as "Educación infantil" is in turn divided into three different cycles. 0-3 years old children are entrusted to day care centers or nurseries called "guardería". You will find public and private day care centers almost all around the country. Note that working moms may be eligible to financial assistance if they opt for a public child care center or nursery.
Three years old children are then enrolled in "escuela infantil", that is kindergartens or pre-primary schools. There, they start to learn through social, emotional, physical and intellectual development. Many Spanish primary schools have a pre-primary section. This should facilitate your child's enrollment in primary school.
Good to know:
In general, children are enrolled in pre-primary school in September of the year they turn three.
The pre-primary school registration period generally begins in early May. It can however vary from one region to another. The application form can be obtained at the school of your choice or with the regional education department. Documents to be produced are:
- a duly filled and signed application form
- your child's birth certificate
- your child's health card and proof of necessary vaccination
- a registration certificate from the nearest municipality to your place of residence (certificado of empadronamiento).
Good to know:
Child care centers are generally open from 7am to 9pm, but school activities take place from 10am to 5pm. Some preprimary schools offer transport facilities for children. You are required to inquire with the chosen school before proceeding with registration.
You can also opt for an alternative child care service: nannies. You can easily find nannies in Spain, whether students looking for a part-time job or trained and competent nannies proposed by specialized agencies. You can also search on the internet and in classified ads in local newspapers.
Ministry of Education and Culture www.mecd.gob.es