Preschool FAQ

Here you will find frequently asked questions and answers about preschool.

List of questions

How do I apply for preschool?

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.

When should I apply for my child to attend preschool?

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.

When will I know when my child gets a spot?

After applying, you will receive a confirmation email stating that your application has been received. Once a space becomes available, you will receive another email with an offer for enrollment. In the meantime, no notifications about the status of your application will be sent, but you can check the status on Vala. Admission to preschools occurs throughout the year, but most spaces are allocated in the spring.

When is enrollment for preschool?

Enrollment for preschool is open throughout the year as openings occur in our schools. Most spots are allocated during the March-May period. 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.

How old are children when they start preschool?

We aim to offer preschool spots for children that are 18 months old by September 1st of each year. Children with approved priority are permitted to start preschool from 12 months old.

How much does it cost to attend preschool, and what is included in the fee?

Preschool fees are paid according to the fee schedule. You pay based on the time your child spends in preschool and a portion of the meal costs. Fees are collected in advance through an online bank invoice. The due date for preschool fees is the 1st of each month, with a deadline 30 days later.

Are any discounts offered on preschool fees?

Yes, you may be eligible for a discount for your child if:

  • Both parents (married or cohabiting) are in full-time education.
  • You are a single parent.
  • You have a disability or receives a rehabilitation pension from the Social Insurance Administration.
  • You work in a Reykjavík preschool in more than a 50% position.
  • You have two or more children in a preschool within the city. This discount is calculated automatically and does not need to be applied for.
  • Your child cannot attend preschool for an extended period due to illness.

Applications for discounts on preschool fees are processed through Vala when a child starts preschool. Please note that the applicant must have the same legal residence as the child. The discount also applies to private preschools and day parents.

What does my child eat at preschool?

At City preschools, children receive daily breakfast, lunch and snacks. The focus is on healthy foods that meet the health criteria issued by the Directorate of Health.

Who is prioritized for preschool?

  • Children who have turned 5 years old when applying.
  • Disabled children and children with diagnosed developmental delays. A certificate from a recognized diagnostician must accompany the application.
  • Children of parents under the age of 18 (“undir lögaldri).
  • Children of single parents with three or more children where the oldest child is not older than 9 years.
  • Triplets.
  • Children of City of Reykjavík preschool staff. Confirmation from the preschool principal must be provided.
  • Children experiencing difficult home circumstances. This includes:
    (a) Child protection matters. A certificate from social welfare authorities must accompany the application.
    (b) Serious illness, severe disability, or severe social difficulties affecting the child's family members. A certificate from a physician or other public entities must accompany the application.

I do not live in Reykjavík, can I still apply for preschool in Reykjavík?

If you are planning to move to Reykjavík, you can apply for a preschool place in the City's preschools. Children can start preschool once they have been allocated a place and their legal residence has been transferred to Reykjavík.

What preschools are in my district?

A list can be found online of all preschools in the city, categorized by district. This will show which preschools are in your area.

Do I have to choose a preschool in the same district I live in?

No, you can apply for preschool in any district.

Can I transfer my child between preschools?

Once your child is enrolled, you can apply for a transfer to another preschool through Vala. Keep in mind that in order to have the possibility to change preschools in the fall, you must apply for a transfer before the end of February.

If children start attending a private preschool, do they remain on the waiting list for a preschool in Reykjavík?

As soon as children start at a private preschool, they are removed from the City's waiting list. If you want to remain on the City's waiting list, you must apply for a transfer.

What preschools have nursery divisions?

You can see a list of preschools with nursery divisions on Reykjavík City’s website.

What are the hours of operation for preschools?

Most City preschools are open from 8am–4:30pm. Five preschools are open until 5 pm, one in each district. These are Hagaborg Preschool in Vesturbær, Langholt Preschool in Laugardalur, Bakkaborg Preschool in Breiðholt, Klettaborg Preschool in Grafarvogur, and Heiðarborg Preschool in Árbær. You can specifically apply for consideration of circumstances for applications to preschools that are open until 5pm.

What is a preschool placement agreement?

Before your child starts attending preschool, the preschool in question and parents / guardians make a preschool placement agreement. By signing this agreement, parents / guardians confirm they have reviewed the Department of Education & Youth fee schedule and the preschool service rules and agree to follow them as they are at any time.

Is there summer break in preschool?

Children attending City preschools take at least twenty weekdays for summer leave. Fees are waived for this time.

Are there other breaks?

Preschools are closed six days a year for planning days. Three of these should be concurrently with employees' professional development days or student holidays in primary schools but the other three can be either half or whole days. The preschool fees do not decrease due to these days off.

Preschool fees are waived for weekdays between Christmas and New Year's for children who do not attend preschool during this time. At this time, parents apply for cancellation of charges through Vala.

What is the adjustment period?

The first days of a child in preschool are called adaptation. Adaptation processes vary among preschools, but parents usually play a key role in their child's adaptation.

During adjustment, children and their parents, along with staff, take the time to familiarize with each other. From the first day, emphasis is placed on building a good relationship between the preschool and the child's family. Parents receive further information about the adjustment period when the child has been offered a preschool spot.

Are all preschools the same?

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.

My child has special needs, what should I do?

Children can receive special support or special education in preschools based on assessment by a specialist or diagnostic professional. The main goal of special education is to ensure equal rights for children in the preschool environment, regardless of physical and mental abilities.