Understanding the Role of Kindergartens in Poland’s Education System

The Polish education system is structured to provide a comprehensive and holistic approach to the development and education of children and young adults. Understanding this system, especially the role of kindergartens, is crucial for parents and educators alike.

Overview of the Polish Education System:

The education system in Poland is divided into several stages: early childhood education (kindergarten), primary education (szkoła podstawowa), lower secondary education (gimnazjum, phased out after the reform in 2017), upper secondary education (liceum or technikum), and higher education (universities and colleges).

The Role of Kindergartens in Poland:

Kindergartens in Poland, known as ‘przedszkole,’ are reserved for children aged 3 to 6 and play a pivotal role in the early development of children. They are the first step in the Polish educational ladder and are considered crucial for the social, emotional, and cognitive development of young children.

The primary goal of kindergartens in Poland is to provide a safe, nurturing environment where children can learn through play. The curriculum is designed to stimulate children’s natural curiosity and desire to learn, focusing on activities that promote physical, social, emotional, and intellectual growth. These activities include art, music, movement, and basic literacy and numeracy skills. The curriculum is aimed at preparing children for the more structured learning environment of primary school.

Integration with the National Education System:

Polish kindergartens are closely integrated with the national education system. They follow a curriculum set by the Ministry of National Education, which ensures that the activities and educational content align with national educational standards. This integration helps to provide a cohesive educational experience for children, preparing them for the transition to primary education.

Attendance in kindergarten is not mandatory in Poland, but it is highly encouraged. From the age of five, children are entitled to one year of “zero grade” (zerówka) education, which serves as a preparatory year for primary school. This year is crucial for children, as it focuses on developing the skills needed for formal schooling.

Challenges and Reforms:

Despite the high value placed on early childhood education, the Polish kindergarten system faces challenges, such as varying quality levels among institutions and limited access in some areas. In response to these challenges, the Polish government has implemented reforms aimed at improving the quality and accessibility of kindergarten education. These reforms include increasing funding for early childhood education, expanding the availability of kindergarten places, and enhancing teacher training.


Kindergartens play an essential role in the Polish education system, laying the foundation for children’s future learning and development. They provide a supportive environment where children can explore, learn, and grow in preparation for their educational journey ahead. As such, kindergartens are not merely preparatory institutions but are integral to the holistic development of children, shaping their future academic and social success.

Polish Kindergartens