Some parents keep their children at home until they start school. Other parents take their children to daycare (nidi) and kindergarten (asili).
Daycare and kindergarten are places that take care of babies and young children and start their education. This way, babies are taken care of while parents are at work. Nidi and asili also prepare children for school.
In Italy, these places for babies and very young children are called nidi and asili. You do not have to send your children to nidi or asili, but you can if you want to or need to. You will have to pay fees if you send your child to a nido or asilo.
Here is some information about daycare and kindergarten and how to enroll your child.
What are the types of school?
Nidi e micronidi
Nidi and Micronidi are daycares. They take care of babies from 3 months to 3 years old. Nidi can have up to 60 children and Micronidi can only have up to 10 children. In Nidi and Micronidi, babies play, eat, sleep, and are washed and changed.
Primavera class is for children 2 to 3 years old who are coming from nidi or who are starting school for the first time. Almost all of the primavera classes are in the same building as a scuola dell’infanzia (kindergarten). They follow the same schedule (days and hours) as the scuola dell’infanzia.
Scuola dell’infanzia (kindergarten) is often called asilo. It is for children from ages 3 to 6. Most Italian children go to an asilo before they start school. In their asilo, children get used to the school day and start learning to read and write. Asili have between 18 and 29 children in each class.
How do I send my child to nidi and asili?
You will need to apply to enter your child for a nido, micronido, primavera class or asili near your home. In many places you will apply online, following the instructions of your Comune (local government). In other places, you will register in person at the school.
You have to apply by a certain date. If you need to enroll after the regular enrollment date, ask the school directly.
After you have applied, the school will publish a list of names. It will show if your child has been offered a place there. If your child has been offered a place, you will have to say yes or no by a certain date. When you say yes to accept the place, you will also need to make the first payment. If you do not pay, you will lose your child’s place at the school.
How much does it cost?
The costs of schools for children younger than 6 years old is different from place to place. Read about the costs of school and help with expenses from the ISEE
What are the days and hours?
Daycare and kindergarten are open from September until the end of July, from Monday to Friday, from early morning to late afternoon. You can enroll your child for fewer hours than the hours offered. You can also register your child for pre-school and after-school activities if needed. Many schools will allow you to choose your child’s schedule.
What about summer holidays?
Children can go to the July summer session, but you will need to apply for this. It will cost extra. It will usually have the same hours as offered during the regular year. There is no nidi or asili in August.
What do children eat at daycare and kindergarten?
After your child is registered, you will also register your child for lunch service (called refezione scolastica in Italian). If a child is not registered for lunch service, he or she cannot stay at school for the full day.
The costs of school lunch depends on how much you earn. For example, it could be from €0,50 to €2,30 for each lunch. But families who are not residents in the Comune have to pay more.
What about children with special needs?
Parents of babies and children with special needs must show a special health certificate when they enroll their child. Together, the parents and the school create a special education plan for children with special needs or disabilities.
- If you cannot pick up your child ask another person to pick them up, you must tell the school. You will sign a form allowing your child to go with the other person. The person must be specified by name. He or she will need to bring a document of identification with them. This is for the safety of your child.
- If your child is absent You should always let your nido or asilo know if your child is sick or unable to come to school for any reason. Often, you will be asked to explain the reason for the absence. If you do not send your child for a long time and do not explain why, your child may lose their place at that nido.
Do you need more information?
Here are some useful Italian words that could help you if you want to do more research on the internet:
- “servizi nidi-asili”
- “nidi/asili (informazioni, iscrizioni, mesi/anni)”
Remember to add the name of your city!