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Preschool education starts at the playgroup level (peuterspeelzaal) or at daycare (kinderopvang) from the age of two years.
For parents whose children do not speak Dutch or are being raised bilingually, and who plan to stay in the Netherlands long term, the Early Childhood Education programs (Voor-en Vroegschoolse Educatie, VVE) might be of interest. These programs are intended for all children, but they are especially suitable for children who do not speak Dutch (well) or who need extra support.
The VVE programs are given by trained pedagogical staff and are focused on language skills, thinking, physical development, and social-emotional development. The pedagogical staff members keep regularly in touch with the child’s responsible nurse (jeugdverpleegkundige) at the consultatiebureau.
A playgroup with a VVE program is also called a pre-school (voorschool); this program normally starts from the age of two-and-a-half or three years old.
If the child goes to primary school, the programs continue in groups one and two. It is then called Early Childhood Education (vroegschoolse educatie).
If you are not eligible for childcare benefit (kinderopvangtoeslag), you might be eligible for a municipal playgroup subsidy (peuteropvang subsidie).
If your child has an Early Childhood Education (VVE) indication from the consultatiebureau, and you receive childcare benefit, you might still be eligible for a supplementary subsidy (VVE subsidie).
For more information on these subsidies, please contact your daycare organization and/or Municipality directly.
More information can be found (in Dutch) on the following websites:
Gemeente Groningen (Voorscholse educatie)
Gemeente Leeuwarden (Aanvullende bijdrage kinderopvang)