Daycare and day parents

Nursery schools / Kindergartens

The nursery school is the first level in the schooling system, and is for children under the age of compulsory school attendance, i.e. under the age of 6. It is for all children, irrespective of mental and physical ability, culture or religion.


Parents bear primary responsibility for the raising of their children, while the nursery school is an additional developmental tool.


Parents apply for nursery-school placements for their children in the local community where the child has legal residence. Nursery schools are variously operated by local authorities, private entities, or privately operated with a service agreement with the local authorities.

  • In some municipalities, it is possible to apply for a nursery-school place when a child is born, but in most municipalities, there is an age limit.
  • Nursery-school application forms can be obtained and submitted at all nursery schools, service centres and most municipal offices.
  • Some municipalities offer the possibility of applying for a nursery-school place on their website.
  • Parents apply for a nursery-school place for their child in the municipality in which the child is legally domiciled.
  • Single parents, students and disabled people receive a discount on nursery-school fees. There is also a ‘sibling discount’ if there is more than one child at the same nursery school.
  • Disabled children are legally entitled to a nursery-school place at a mainstream nursery school with the necessary support services or in specialised departments.
  • Nursery schools should lay the foundations of knowledge of the Icelandic language for children with a native language other than Icelandic and teach them about Icelandic society.
  • Many nursery schools have a waiting list, and parents and children may therefore have to wait a certain amount of time for a place. Children are usually ranked by decreasing order of age.
  • Children usually attend nursery school from the age of eighteen months until they start primary school. Children spend 4-9 hours per day every weekday at nursery school.
  • When a child starts nursery school, an agreement is entered into between the school and the parent. The agreement may be terminated with one month’s notice.
  • Nursery schools are run by the municipality, privately run or privately run with a service agreement with a municipality.

Day parents / Daycare in private homes

When maternity/paternity leave ends and the parents return to the labour market or begin studying, they need to find appropriate care for their child.


Most population centres in Iceland have childminders offering their services, and nursery schools are operated by local communities or individuals working in cooperation with those communities.


Day care means childcare between the hours of 7am and 7pm on working days in the private homes of childminders.


See the link below for more information on Daycare in private homes on island.is.

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