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Obligation to enrol in early childhood education and care services

In some Member States, parents have to enrol their children in early childhood educational and care services (ECEC) for one or more years before school.

The data explorer also provides information on the minimum age for compulsory schooling. Please note that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) provides data on the starting and ending age for compulsory education. For more information, visit OECDiLibrary.

Age at which a child must enrol in early childhood education and care services


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Key aspects

  • A certain period of compulsory early childhood education is provided for in eleven Member States (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Greece, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland).
  • Among the eleven Member States where a certain period of compulsory early childhood education is provided for, the age requirement is set at 5 years in seven Member States (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Greece and Latvia), and at 6 years in three others (Finland, Lithuania, Poland).
  • In Hungary, children are to attend early childhood education from the age of 3 years. In Austria, early childhood education and care is compulsory only on a part-time basis.

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Publication date: 19 October 2018

Minimum age requirements concerning children's rights in the EU - Specific data on social rights, employment, education, alternative care, LGBTI and mobility (406.5 KB)