Preschool enrollment

When applying for a preschool, many questions may arise. Which preschool should I choose? How do I apply? How are places allocated? Applications are made online through Vala, and the City of Reykjavík operates around 70 preschools in the city.


The process of assigning preschool spots for the fall of 2023 began on March 14th. Spots are allocated in order of the children's national identification numbers, with the oldest children receiving offers first for the schools their parents chose in the application.

Which preschool can I apply to?

You can apply online to all city-run preschools. If you plan to apply to a private preschool for your child, you should do so directly with the school itself.

To be eligible for a space in a preschool operated by the City of Reykjavík, the child's legal residence and permanent address must be in Reykjavík. Parents must also not be in arrears with the City's Department of Education and Youth.

Hvaða dvalartíma er hægt að velja?

Þegar þú sækir um leikskóla þarftu að velja dvalartíma. Opnunartími borgarrekinna leikskóla er frá 7.30-16.30. Nokkrir leikskólar eru þó með opið til 17.00 og hægt að sækja um það sérstaklega. 

Hægt er að sækja um mismunandi tíma eftir dögum en þannig að dvalartími barna verði að hámarki 9 klukkustundir daglega og ekki fleiri en 42,5 stundir á viku. Meginþungi faglegs starfs í gegnum leik og viðfangsefni barna með íhlutun leikskólakennara fer fram milli kl. 8:30-14:00.

What makes preschools different?

Each preschool is unique. Some focus on communication, reading, or writing and others focus on mathematics, nature, and environmental issues. Preschools vary in size, and the number of children and groups in each preschool can differ. You can learn about the activities of the city's preschools on their websites before applying.

When can I apply?

You can apply for a preschool as soon as your child is born. The timing of the application does not affect when your child gets in to the preschool.

Children are placed on a waiting list in the schools they apply for when they turn six months old. Spaces are then allocated based on the children's age. We aim to offer children who turn 18 months old by September 1st each year to attend a preschool that same fall. Spaces for the fall are allocated in March, and applications received after that time are processed later.

How does ordering by age (the ID number) work?

Reykjavík City preschool offer admission in order of age. In this, the order of the ID number of children applying for a specific preschool is taken into account and we do not follow “first come, first serve”.

What does it mean to pick a first-choice preschool?

When spaces are allocated, we try to consider parents choices. However, circumstances and demand for preschools may vary. This can affect whether a child gets a space in their first-choice preschool. When allocating spaces, preschools start by offering places to those who selected the school as their first choice. Then, they move on to the second choice, third choice, and so on. The allocation process follows the order of age.

Where can I see the status of my application?

You can view everything about your application on Vala. There you will find an overview of your applications, you can view their status, and where your child is ranked on waiting lists for the preschools you have applied to.

Can I change my application after I apply?

Yes. You can always log in to Vala and change or cancel your application if circumstances change or you change your mind.

How and when are placements allocated?

Most preschool placements are allocated between March and May. By this time, it is usually clear how many spots will become available in the fall due to transfers between preschools and the graduation of the oldest children who are starting primary school. When you are allocated a space, you will receive an email where you can accept or reject the placement.

What happens if I reject a preschool placement?

If you reject a placement at a particular preschool, you are only rejecting that placement at that specific preschool. Rejecting a placement has no effect on your child's waiting list status at other preschools you have applied to.

Will I get priority if I apply to a preschool with a nursery division?

No. Enrollment for preschools with nursery divisions is done in the same way as for other schools, in order of age.

How do waiting lists work?

Children are ranked on waiting lists based on age, not on when the application was submitted. It is important to note that there is not one single large waiting list, each preschool has its own waiting list. Children can therefore be higher on the waiting list at one school than another.

When you apply, your child is registered on the waiting list for the preschools you select. To have a chance of getting a spot in a preschool, your child must be on the waiting list for that specific school.

Vala shows where your child ranks on the waiting list for the preschools you have applied to. The calculation considers the child's age.

Please note that the waiting list can change from day to day as more applications come in.

How does priority work?

In special cases, it is possible to apply for priority in a preschool, such as if a child is turning 5, has a disability, or lives with adverse conditions at home.

If a priority application is approved, the child is moved ahead of the waiting list. In cases where there are multiple priority applications for the same preschool, priority is given based on age.

Children with priority start in preschool no sooner than at 12 months old.

Do you need help with your application?

Stop by one of the City's service centers or the Reykjavík City Service Center in Borgartún 12-14.

Do you have more questions? Send us an email at