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How to enroll kids in kindergarten (vrtić)

Kindergarten's playground in Starigrad, Hvar
Kindergarten’s playground in Starigrad, Hvar

In Croatia, a kindergarten is called “vrtić”. This can be loosely translated to mean “little garden”. Like most things in Croatia, enrollment in a vrtić can take time. More than seems necessary.

The demand for kindergarten’s services has increased in recent years. Parents are busy and have no other option but to enroll their children in kindergartens or hire a nanny.

Enrolling your children in kindergarten before they start elementary school is not mandatory in Croatia.  However, it’s good for children to socialize and begin their education earlier. Keep in mind that children that have not attended kindergarten before the age of 6, must attend preschool called “predškola” for 1 year before they can start elementary school.

In this post, we will explain:

Let’s get started…

How to enroll kids in kindergarten (vrtić)

Types of kindergartens in Croatia

There are several types of kindergartens in Croatia. The types of vrtić include:

How to enroll kids to the kindergarten (vrtić)

The requests for enrollment to the upcoming school year are submitted during May. Kindergartens will publish a notice of enrollment in advance of May. The school year lasts from September 1 to August 31.

When applying for enrollment at a public kindergarten, you must choose the kindergarten closest to your home address. If a kindergarten has available places during the school year, you can enroll your children to the kindergarten any time.

If spots are not available, your child will be put on a waiting list or you can try checking with the other kindergartens nearest to your residence.

Priorities in enrollment

Some children are given priority during enrollment.

These children are:

  • Children of victims and invalids of the Croatian War of Independence
  • Children of employed parents
  • Children of single parents
  • Children from foster families
  • Children without parents or adequate parental care
  • Children from a family with 3 or more children
  • Children who live in difficult circumstances
  • Children with disabilities if they can be integrated into a regular kindergarten program
  • Children who will enroll in elementary school the following year
  • Children of parents who receive a child allowance

Documentation needed for enrollment

When applying for enrollment, there is required documentation you must provide as part of the application.

The application must include:

  • Izvod iz matice rođenih or rodni list (a birth certificate)
  • Potvrda o mjestu prebivališta (certificate of residence)
  • Potvrda o radnom statusu roditelja (certificate of parents’ employment status)
  • Zahtjev za upis (application for enrollment) and popunjen upitnik (a completed questionnaire) that you get in the kindergarten
  • Vaccination record (knjižica cijepljenja) that shows receipt of all mandatory vaccinations

All application requirements are published together with the formal notice of enrollment that kindergartens publish before applications are open. The notice is usually hung on the kindergarten’s doors.

The results are published no later than the end of June. If you are not happy with the results, you have the right to appeal to the kindergarten within the 15 days.

The application procedure is the same for children who wish to enroll during a school year that is already in progress. If there are available places, you must submit the request. The kindergarten will send you the results within the period of 15 days.

Once your children are accepted, you must sign a contract with the kindergarten in August. Parents of children with disabilities can sign a limited time contract of up to 3 months.

Annual cost for a child to attend kindergarten

The full cost of a kindergarten program is typically between 1.500 and 2.500 kuna per month. The prices are determined by the founder of the kindergarten and can vary depending on whether the kindergarten is public or private.

For public kindergarten, parents pay only a part of the costs and the rest is paid by the city or the municipality as long as the parents meet the residence requirements.

The subsidized price that parents pay is usually up to 550 kuna, but the price varies depending on the city. Some cities will cover the whole amount, but in others you could pay as much as 900 kuna per month. If you have more than one child you’d like to enroll in kindergarten, usually you’ll pay a lower price for each additional child.

EU nationals and non-EU nationals who don’t have a permanent residence in Croatia must pay the full price charged by the kindergarten. Due to this, parents in this situation consider private options instead of public.

How to find a kindergarten in Croatia

A list of all kindergartens in Croatia along with their contact information is available here. The list is also available as an Excel file.

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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