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If you're moving to Spain with your young family, the education and care of your little ones are going to be at the top of your agenda. In this article, we'll focus on the options you'll have in your new country, which include nurseries, kindergartens and childcare centres, which can be found in all major towns and cities. 

The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training is the department of the government of Spain responsible for the Spanish education system. Schools set their own hours, which can vary from place to place, but they tend to run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a two-hour lunch break or 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with no lunch break.

Preschool in Spain

Education is not compulsory for children under six years of age, although it is recommended for their wellbeing and development. In general, many children start going to nurseries (guarderias) when they are a few months old. 

Preschool education is divided into two cycles. The first cycle (primer ciclo) covers children up to the age of three in nurseries. You will find a good choice of public and private nurseries and daycare centres right across the country. Note that working parents may be eligible for financial assistance if they opt for a public childcare centre or nursery.  

From the age of three, children enter the second cycle (segundo ciclo) and are enrolled in kindergartens. There they are taught the basics in some subjects, learn through play, music and dance and are encouraged with their social development. Many primary schools have kindergartens attached to them. 

 Good to know:

The minimum statutory maternity leave in Spain is 16 weeks and is one of the reasons why some babies attend nurseries when they are four months old. However, canguros or day nannies who care for several children at a time are popular alternatives.

Obviously, being in Spain, children will be taught in Spanish in nurseries and kindergartens. 

Registering for preschool in Spain

The pre-primary school registration period differs from one region to another. In some, it can be during May, others in April, for example. You will need to complete an application form which can be obtained from the primary school of your choice or the regional education department. The documents you will need to produce are:

  • Passport/residence card.
  • Your child's birth certificate.
  • Your child’s health card and proof of required vaccinations for a child of their age.
  • A registration certificate from the nearest municipality to your place of residence (certificado de empadronamiento).

 Good to know:

Attending nursery and kindergarten is a good way for children to start learning the Spanish language and to be introduced to Spanish culture.

Babysitters in Spain

You may decide to leave your children with a nanny (canguro) instead. If so, search for them on the internet, in classified ads in local newspapers and with nanny agencies. You may also pick up recommendations from other parents.

 Useful links:

Ministry of Education and Vocational Training
Guia Infantil

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.