1. Basic Information about Kindergarten Schools: Pre-primary education has been mandatory in Slovakia since September 2021. It is provided in kindergarten schools, which integrate care and upbringing with education. Kindergarten schools fall under the Ministry of Education, Science, Research, and Sport of the Slovak Republic.
Kindergarten supports the personal development of children in the socio-emotional, intellectual, physical, moral, and aesthetic domains. It nurtures abilities, skills, and lays the foundation for further education. It prepares children for life in society in accordance with individual and age-specific characteristics. Kindergarten ensures education and upbringing through its educational program.
Upon completing the last year of the educational program in the pre-primary education branch of kindergarten, children obtain pre-primary education. The proof of the acquired degree of education is a certificate of pre-primary education.
Kindergarten schools are established by:
- Municipalities, towns, regional offices of school administration, self-governing regions – state kindergartens
- Natural and legal persons – private kindergartens
- Churches or religious societies registered by the state – church kindergartens
Kindergartens are established either independently or as an organizational unit of a consolidated school. Education is conducted in the state language (Slovak) and in the language of the respective national minority.
- Admission of Children to Kindergarten: The admission of children to pre-primary education in kindergarten schools is regulated by the School Act. Kindergartens usually admit children from 3 to 6 years old. If the capacities of the kindergarten allow, they may exceptionally admit children who have turned 2 years old. However, priority is given to 5-year-old children for whom pre-primary education will be mandatory in the following school year, and to children continuing in compulsory pre-primary education.
Conditions for admission are determined by the kindergarten director in agreement with the founder and are publicly displayed. Other admission conditions must not conflict with generally binding legal regulations and must not restrict the rights of children or their parents.
Admission decisions are made by the director in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Code. If there are vacancies in the kindergarten, children can be admitted during the school year.
- Enrollment in Kindergarten: Kindergartens admit a child based on a written application for the child’s admission to pre-primary education. The legal representative must submit, along with the application, a health suitability certificate from a general practitioner for children and adolescents, which includes information about the child’s mandatory vaccinations.
The health suitability certificate does not indicate the current health condition of the child but confirms their health suitability to undergo pre-primary education:
- In a regular kindergarten
- In a special class of a regular kindergarten
- In a kindergarten for children with special educational needs
Failure to undergo mandatory vaccinations is not a reason for not admitting a child to kindergarten.
4. Children with Special Educational Needs (SEN): Regular kindergartens can admit children with Special Educational Needs (SEN), placing them either in classes with other children or in separate classes designed for SEN children (special classes).
Children with health disabilities are integrated into classes with other children or placed in separate classes for children with health disabilities. SEN children who do not have health disabilities are integrated into classes with other children. A child cannot be placed in a separate class for SEN solely due to coming from a socially disadvantaged environment. If a separate class consists only of children from a socially disadvantaged environment, it can have a maximum of 16 children. Separate classes can also be created for children learning a foreign language, with a maximum of 12 children.
Children with health disabilities include those with mental, hearing, visual, or physical impairments, impaired communication abilities, autism or other pervasive developmental disorders, multiple disabilities, sick or health-impaired children, or children with behavioral disorders.
The decision to include a child with health disabilities is made by the kindergarten director based on recommendations from a general practitioner for children and adolescents and counseling and prevention facilities. Admission of a gifted child is decided by the kindergarten director based on recommendations from counseling and prevention facilities.
- Content of the Application: Many kindergartens have their own application forms, including a health suitability certificate with information about mandatory vaccinations.
The application includes:
Personal information about the child:
- First name, last name, and maiden name
- Date and place of birth
- Permanent address or the address where the child usually stays
- Personal identification number
- Mother tongue
Personal information about the child’s legal representatives:
- Title, name, and surname, maiden name
- Address and type of residence
- Contact information for communication
The legal representative can submit the application in person, by mail, courier, or by sending a scanned form via email.
CTA: Electronic Submission.
- Education and Training: Kindergartens provide pre-primary education through full-day or half-day care and education, organized into classes. The maximum number of children per kindergarten class complies with the School Act:
- 18 in classes for children aged 2 to 3
- 20 in classes for children aged 3 to 4
- 21 in classes for children aged 4 to 5
- 22 in classes for children aged 5 to 6
- 21 in classes for children aged 2 to 6
Children can attend kindergarten for one to four consecutive years. Kindergartens do not follow an hourly or subject-based system. Educational activities occur as a continuous sequence of morning and afternoon activities with varying content, focus, and organization.
The schedule of daily activities is developed in the form of a daily routine, ensuring a calm, safe, and meaningful environment for the child in kindergarten.
Foreign children with a legal residence permit in Slovakia, children of asylum seekers, and Slovaks living abroad receive pre-primary education under the same conditions as Slovak citizens.
- Fulfillment of Mandatory Pre-Primary Education: Child without health disabilities:
Mandatory pre-primary education is fulfilled by the child through regular daily attendance on working days for at least four hours per day, excluding school holidays. This does not affect the child’s right to participate in pre-primary education during school holidays.
Child with health disabilities:
A child with health disabilities can fulfill mandatory pre-primary education for less than four hours per day based on a request from the legal representative or the representative of the facility. The legal representative or facility representative must attach a consent statement from the counseling and prevention facility to the request.
Special forms of fulfilling mandatory pre-primary education include: individual education without regular attendance at school, education in schools outside the territory of the Slovak Republic, education in schools established by another state on the territory of the Slovak Republic with the consent of the diplomatic mission of another state, education in schools implementing international programs with the consent of the Ministry of Education, individual education abroad, and education in European schools according to the Convention defining the statute of European schools.
A child exempted from the obligation to attend kindergarten until the resolution of issues does not attend kindergarten.
A child with health disabilities exempted from the obligation to attend kindergarten, whose health condition prevents them from learning, does not receive pre-primary education until the resolution of problems.
Legal entitlement to admission to pre-primary education:
Effective from September 1, 2023, the right to admission to pre-primary education in kindergarten is introduced in Slovakia from the school year following the one in which the child turns three years old.
The right to admission to pre-primary education according to regulations effective from September 1, 2023, applies to the school year 2024/2025 for a child who turns four years old by August 31, 2024.
The right to admission to pre-primary education according to regulations effective from September 1, 2023, for the school year 2024/2025 is exercised by submitting an application for the admission of a child to pre-primary education from May 1, 2024, to May 31, 2024.
- Frequently Asked Questions: When is a child admitted to kindergarten?
If the kindergarten director issues a decision on:
- Admission of a child to kindergarten
- Admission of a child to kindergarten with an adaptation or diagnostic stay
- Admission of a child by transfer (effective from September 1, 2023)
If a child is admitted at the beginning of the school year, the kindergarten director decides on the admission of the child to kindergarten by June 30.
If a child is admitted during the school year, the kindergarten director decides on the admission of the child to kindergarten promptly, no later than 30 days from the receipt of the application.
What are the fees for education in kindergarten?
Education in kindergartens is provided for a partial fee, except for kindergartens in healthcare facilities (e.g., children’s hospitals, clinics). The contribution to kindergarten is not charged for a child:
- For whom pre-primary education is mandatory, if it is a state kindergarten
- If the child’s legal representative requests it in writing and is a member of a household receiving assistance in material need according to a special regulation
- Who is placed in a facility based on a court decision
Who should I contact in case of questions?
If you need assistance, you can contact:
- Regional offices of school administration located in each regional capital
- National Institute of Education and Youth in matters related to the content of education
- State School Inspection if you want to file a complaint regarding education, management, and conditions of education
- Ministry of Education, Science, Research, and Sport of the Slovak Republic for obtaining opinions on legal regulations governing pre-primary education
Is pre-primary education mandatory in Slovakia?
Yes, as of 2021, it is mandatory for every child who turns five years old by August 31.
Can I submit applications to multiple kindergartens?
Yes, you can. The number of applications is not limited, and the legal representative can submit an application to multiple kindergartens.
If, for capacity reasons, a kindergarten cannot admit all children, the kindergarten director issues a decision of non-admission to kindergarten.