Pre-school / Nursery
Pre-school care and education
Under the title of pre-school in this section we have included crèches, playgroups, and Education Préscolaire (Kindergarten – Elementary, Early Years – Reception, Maternelle).
We have also included some information on Daycare Centres who provide professional supervision of children who are in Education Préscolaire or Primary school outside school hours and during holidays.
Under the age of 4 years old it is not obligatory for your child to attend any form of care outside the family home. However, in general children who have at least attended a regular playgroup are better prepared for beginning school. This is because children learn through interaction with other children. This process of socialization can start very young and helps children learn to communicate, share, and eventually play together. It also gives the main caregiver some ‘time out’ and a chance to socialize with other caregivers and parents.
Daycare or Nurseries are generally called Crèches in Luxembourg. Depending on the establishment crèches will take babies from 3 months to 4 years. For parents going back to work and needing full or part – time childcare it is a good idea to explore options some time in advance because places are limited. This is especially for true for babies under 2 years old. It is advisable to visit crèche facilities near your home or place of work and register your child before the birth if possible. Generally crèches have waiting lists for this purpose. Some crèche facilities are also attached to Préscolaire establishments and will provide childcare over the lunch period and after school. There are also limited government approved facilities that combine crèche and Préscolaire Education.
A multi-lingual crèche can provide a good beginning to your child’s introduction to non mother tongue languages especially if you intend to send your child to a local public school.
Preparing your child for crèche
When making the decision about which crèche to send your child to it is a good idea to organize a visit and have a standard list of questions for each establishment. You may want to ask them about their daily routines, what you need to provide (nappies, bottles, change of clothing etc.), whether the babies are taken out in pushchairs or children have an outside area to play in, how do they discipline children, and what their procedure is if your child becomes ill whilst in their care. It is also important to ask them what their procedure is for welcoming new babies or children into the crèche. With older children who may have some ‘separation anxiety’ generally crèches and pre-schools will invite parents to visit with their child in advance of their start date, and may insist on the child attending for shorter periods until they are adjusted to their new environment. This is generally called an‘adaptation period’. For further information see our factsheet on Your Child’s First Day at Crèche or Pre-School in our Resources section.
Lists of Crèches
You can find the list of crèches in the city on the official website.
For lists of local crèche facilities outside the city you will need to contact your local commune. There is generally a mix of public and private crèche spaces available although depending on the locality they might be limited. The state run municiple crèche facilities welcome children of all nationalities. The language spoken in these facilities is Luxembourgish, this is to encourage integration of children and prepare them for Education Préscolaire.
Playgroups are generally set up for caregivers and children to meet and socialize. They may include some craft activities, music and singing, or story telling. They usually take place at a fixed time and place once or twice a week. These groups are a good way for babies, toddlers and children to start venturing out into the big world with mum or other caregiver close by.
Lists of Playgroups
St Georges International School Playgroup – St Georges School runs a twice weekly play group for pre-school children and their caregivers (mums or dads) during term time.
BLC (British Ladies Club) – The BLC provides a social network for the English speaking community. Members can attend special groups for pre-school children and events for all the family including an Easter egg hunt and Christmas parties.
AWCL (American Woman’s Club of Luxembourg) – The AWCL provides a club for the English speaking community. Members can attend groups for parents and young children as well as events for all the family including Halloween.
Il etait une fois – Il etait une fois is a children’s library in Gasperich that offers arts, crafts, story time and music sessions for pre –school and early years children in different languages. Children can also sit and read books or take them out like a traditional library.
Early state childhood education is aimed at children aged 3 and above. It is designed to improve children’s social skills and to teach them Luxembourgish (Letzbuergesch) to help them communicate with children in their local commune (neighborhood). All children who have reached their 4th birthday by 1st September are obliged to attend some kind of approved Pre-school education. Although under certain circumstances it is possible with permission to home school.
Education in Luxembourg is organized in cycles, the first cycle including the optional year of early childhood education from age 3 years (‘Précoce’) and the two compulsory Education Préscolaire years (or ‘Spillschoul’ in Luxembourgish). The language of instruction is Luxembourgish. You will need to register your child in your local commune and you will be allocated a place at the school nearest to your home address.
Preparing your Child for Pre-School
Depending on where you intend to send your child for their Education Préscolaire you may be able to organize a visit with your child in advance. Even if this isn’t possible most of the state school buildings have playgrounds, which are open to the public outside school hours. It is a good idea to familiarize your child with the school building. You can do this by adding a regular trip to the playground and talking about the ‘big school’ they are going to go to. If you are not sure where to send your child it is advisable to contact and visit as many schools as possible in advance and enquire about the registration process. Some schools have limited places and you will need to apply to even be considered. This process can be very confusing for young children so if you can possibly make it into a game your child can feel more involved. It is best to never say that they will definitely be going to any particular school in advance of an offer.
Like crèches many schools offer an opportunity for your child to go through adaptation period, attending for fewer hours at the beginning and building up to full time (school hours) over a period days or weeks. Other things you can do that might help are reading books together about starting school, starting a scrap book (or life book) including pictures of all the things they have done so far, taking time to talk about how they feel about starting school, and where possible meeting up with children already attending their school. Find out as much as possible about their daily routines, so you can be specific when engaging with them at the end of the day. But remember simply asking ‘what did you do today?’ is beyond most children’s capacity to answer. If possible take some time out of your work schedule in the first few weeks at school, so that you can be there to take them and pick them up at the end of the day. And don’t be surprised if it’s you who is shedding a tear when they finally let go of your hand and venture off into their new beginning.
Information & Advice about the Luxembourgish School System
The Luxembourgish Schools Support Group (or “LSSG”) aims to provide information in English on the Luxembourgish education system as well as practical help for parents of any nationality with children in the state schools. The group is run by parents for parents, with the objective to educate parents and children about the Luxembourgish education system and to support families in getting the maximum benefit from their schooling in Luxembourg. LSSG organise and host annual information evenings, alternating between the Primary and Secondary (Lycée) School systems, where they invite local experts to speak. They also produce and maintain information packs on the Primary and Secondary School systems in Luxembourg. These are updated and can be found under ‘resources’ on their website. Their volunteers can also provide specific information, advice and support.
Maison Relais (Foyer scolaire)
Most communes are now served by a ‘maison relais’ or ‘foyer scolaire’. These services offer pre and post school care and canteen services. However, not all schools/communes currently offer these services to Préscolaire children, or if parents are not in full time employment. Generally they will offer supervision of children from 7:30 to 19:00 but these times will vary from commune to commune. These associations often provide help with homework as well as organising a range of extra-curricular activities. For children who do not yet speak Luxembourgish, they are often encouraged to use the canteen service even if there is a stay-at-home parent as it offers an opportunity to mix with their peers and absorb the Luxembourg language in a more relaxed, less formal atmosphere than the classroom. A fee is charged for this pre and post-school service but the charges are relatively low and Luxembourg resident parents can also benefit from the government childcare subsidy often referred to as ‘Cheque Service’. Further details can be obtained from your Commune or at www.cheque-service.lu.
What if my child has problems or challenges in crèche or Pre-School?
If you, or your school, think that your child may have some problems or additional educational needs it is important to arrange a meeting with their crèche or pre-school carers by appointment and take time to discuss your concerns. For more information about where to get information and support in Luxembourg see our Special Needs section.
Last updated: Wednesday 18th March, 2015