Pre-school education ('Spillschoul' – play school) is for children aged 4-6. It is a 2-year period where attendance is compulsory and free of charge.
Schooling is compulsory for all children who will be 4 years of age on 1 September of the current year, and therefore old enough to attend pre-school education.
To be accepted for pre-school education, children must be listed in the census register in the commune of residence, together with their parents/carers (with some possible exceptions).
Pre-school education objectives
Early learning and pre-school education are part of the 1st level of basic education. Basic education consists of 9 years of school, divided into 4 levels. The 1st level comprises one year of early learning where attendance is optional and 2 years of pre-school education which is part of the period of compulsory schooling. The 3 levels below correspond to primary education and each lasts for 2 years. As a general rule, the 1st level lasts for 3 years and is for children aged between 3 and 6.
The 1st level of basic education comprises the following areas of development and learning:
- logical thinking and mathematics;
- speech, the Luxembourgish language and language awareness;
- discovering the world through all the senses;
- psycho-sensory motor development, physical expression and health;
- creative expression, cultural and aesthetic awareness;
- living together and common values.
In Level 1, particular emphasis is placed on learning Luxembourgish, which is the classroom language for this level.
How pre-school education operates
Pre-school education is organised by the communes. It prepares children for real-life situations and for collective learning, targeting their development as a whole, as well as educational and social integration. Teaching activities stimulate mental, cognitive, linguistic, creative and motor development. One of the main priorities is the learning of Luxembourgish.
Throughout the school year preceding the move to primary education, pre-school education gradually incorporates specific activities laying the groundwork for literacy in German and learning mathematics.
Core skills and school pathway
In principle, all pupils subject to compulsory schooling go through a 2-year basic education cycle (the standard duration of an education cycle). Over these 2 years, learning, in terms of skills to be acquired, is defined by a study plan. Core skills (general skills as well as specific skills in mathematics and languages) are defined as the knowledge, abilities and competencies that all pupils must possess and be capable of applying at the end of each learning level.
At the end of each level, the knowledge and skills that the pupil needs to have acquired in order to advance to the next level are assessed.
In exceptional circumstances, levels may be shortened or extended by one year. If it becomes clear that a student is unable to acquire the basic skills needed within 2 years, an adapted programme spread over 3 years is established by the teaching staff. In these cases, children are not merely held back a year, but receive education adapted to their learning needs.
Similarly, the educational team may decide that pupils who, after one year of education, reach the targets set for the end of the level, can be admitted to the next level. These types of decision must, however, only be taken under extraordinary circumstances by teachers and parents working in close consultation.
For pupils with severe learning difficulties who are at risk of not acquiring the core skills at the end of the level, an individualised educational plan is compiled by the school inclusion commission (commission d’inclusion scolaire).
Support measures for pupils with learning difficulties range from adapting the instruction and support provided by classroom teachers to being taught in a special education class, which is an integral part of basic education.
End-of-level assessment and interim assessment
At the end of each level, the degree of skill the child has reached is assessed: this is referred to as the end-of-level assessment.
During the 1st level, parents are given an interim assessment, on a quarterly basis, showing their child's progress in terms of skills development. The assessment is made without giving a grade.
This timetable may vary slightly from one commune to another: some communes have adopted a staggered timetable for reasons of transport to and from school.
Without exception, the start time is between 08:00 and 09:00. Unlike early learning, the child's attendance at school is compulsory during class hours.
Generally speaking, school transport is provided free of charge by the communal administration.
Each commune offers extra-curricular activities – notably learning, cultural and sporting activities – with the aim of supporting pupils in their learning and contributing to their social development.
Extracurricular activities are provided by the school and/or by State-approved organisations offering socio-educational activities (social centres – maison relais). In that case, enrolment is managed by the social centre directly.
Communes may amend the timetable in one or more schools to incorporate extracurricular activities within one continuous school day, alternating between school learning and extracurricular activities.
Enrolling a child in a school within the school catchment area for their place of residence
Fathers, mothers, guardians or any other person caring for children who will be 4 years old on 1 September of the current school year must register their child on the list of children eligible for the 1st year of pre-school at least 3 months before the start of the new school year. Children are, in principle, enrolled in schools according to the catchment area for where they live.
Parents receive a letter from the commune's education/administration department, advising them on how to proceed, along with an enrolment form.
Documents to be provided
Parents can formally enrol with the commune's administration department (or with the education/schooling department directly), bringing the following:
- the family record book;
- the child's birth certificate;
- a duly completed enrolment form.
Admission and allocation
From May onwards, the communal administration allocates children to different groups and available sites, attempting to place children in the schools closest to where they live.
Before the start of the new school year, the administration department notifies parents of the school that their child has been allocated.
Enrolment in a school outside the commune of residence
Parents of children in basic education may ask for their child to be admitted to a school in another commune by sending a written request, listing their reasons, to the board of the mayor and aldermen of the commune where they intend to enrol their child. The board honours the request if the educational organisation of the host commune is in agreement, once the reasons for the application have been verified by the relevant departments.
The following are considered valid reasons:
- children being cared for by a family member, up to and including a 3rd-degree relative;
- children being cared for by a third party acting as a State-approved childminder;
- children being cared for by a State-approved organisation in the socio-educational field;
- the location of the parents' place of work.
If the host commune agrees to the request, the commune of origin pays for the cost of educating the child in the host commune.
Change of school or place of residence during the school year
Parents, or those with parental responsibility for the child, must notify class teachers, as well as the commune's schooling department, of any change of school or residence during the school year. They must also be notified of the new contact details of the establishment where the child will continue their schooling.
To enrol a child in a school outside the catchment area for their place of residence/outside the commune where they live, see 'Enrolling a child in a school outside the catchment area for their place of residence'.
Registering a child in the 'Eis Schoul' alternative education structure.
Situated in Luxembourg-City, the Eis Schoul structure is based on the principles of inclusive education and develops new teaching and assessment methods, in close collaboration with the University of Luxembourg. Inclusive education consists of the full participation of all pupils in all aspects of school life, irrespective of their individual socio-cultural, physical, sensory and social and emotional characteristics.
Placing the emphasis on the appreciation of linguistic and cultural diversity, Eis Schoul is organised in full-day sessions. Its aim is to prepare its pupils for the transition between pre-school education and 'traditional' post-primary education and for the challenges posed by the society of the future.
At least 10 % of Eis Schoul pupils have special needs (impairments/disabilities).
For information on pre-registration, please contact the school establishment directly. As the school is in Luxembourg City, priority is given to children living in the commune.
L-1118 - Luxembourg
Postal box L-2926 Luxembourg
Fax: (+352) 247-85123
L-2124 - Luxembourg Kirchberg
Fax: (+352) 2643 1658
D-66706 - Perl
Fax: (+49) 68 67 91 11-27