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:
- Types of kindergartens in Croatia
- How to enroll your child in kindergarten
- How to find a kindergarten
Let’s get started…
There are several types of kindergartens in Croatia. The types of vrtić include:
- Public kindergartens (city and municipality kindergartens)
- Private kindergartens
- Alternative kindergartens
- Montessori pedagogy
- Waldorf pedagogy
- Agazzi pedagogy
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.
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
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.
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.
Have you enrolled a child in vrtić? What was your experience? Tell us in the comments.
Please note: All information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal advice in any form. For legal advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. We can recommend one if you contact us.