Early childhood education and care (ECEC) is important in addressing issues of social inclusion and inclusive citizenry, especially the poverty and marginalization of migrant communities.

Some of the benefits from ECEC include:

  •  Early childhood is the stage at which education can most effectively influence children’s development
  •  Contributes to better child well-being and learning outcomes
  • Addresses school readiness and language acquisition
  • Helps children overcome educational disadvantage
  • Enables children to enter kindergarten and primary school with more advanced skills
  • Facilitates the integration of immigrant families into the host society.
  • Supports parents and boost female employment
  • Contributes to better social and economic development of the society

The education system in the Netherlands is divided over schools for different age groups (primary and secondary) and according to different levels of education (general education, vocational and university education). Secondary education and vocational training is arranged in a way that students can relatively easily flow through. Schools in the Netherlands are also either public or particular based on ideological, religious or educational background. There is special education, which offers specialized and / or intensive counseling to students, for example because they have a disability, chronic illness or disorder.

  • Elementary education
  • Secondary education
    • Pre-vocational secondary education (VMBO)
    • Senior general secondary education (HAVO)
    • Pre-university education (VWO)
  • Secondary vocational education (MBO)
  • Higher education
    • Higher education (HBO)
    • Higher education (University)

In the Netherlands, pupils and their parents canchoose a school that suits their views on education and / or belief. There are special schools, public schools and private schools. The first two are financed by the government, but also may still ask for a parental contribution. Private schools are funded entirely by the parents of the students.

Child care

  • Nursery; a nursery provides day care for children aged 0 to 4 years. The children are divided into groups of up to 16 children, depending on the age.
  • Playgroup; a playgroup is a much looser form of child care. The playgroup is for 1 to 4 sessions per week and has less purpose to educate the children in a group. It is a place where children can play together. There will be children between 2 and 4 years. Then they go to primary school.
  • Childcarer; a childcarer is a parent that takes care of children of other parents and receives a fee for carrying the responsibility for the children (it is not a salary).
  • After-school care; after-school care is taking care of children after school. The children are picked up at the school and then are offered a program of activities, usually till about 6 hours, when parents come and pick up their children.
  • School care is a collective name for all professional childcare arranged for school children outside school hours.
  • Pre-school care; pre-school care is the care of children before school starts. Especially parents who go to work early in the day use this type of care.
  • School care between the afternoon; school care is the care of children between the afternoon.

Primary school
From their 4th year until about the age of 12 children go to primary school. The school has 8 groups. Groups 1 and 2 are also referred to the kindergarten classrooms. From group 3 children learn to read and write and have arithmetic classes. Since April of school year 2014-2015 all pupils of group 8 in the regular primary school are obligated to make the Cito test. The school, however, provides before March 1st  a school advice; herein the recommendation for further education is given. After primary school, pupils can choose between four types of schools:

  • practical training;
  • VMBO (pre-vocational);
  • HAVO (senior general secondary education);
  • VWO (pre-university education).

Compulsory education
Children from 5 to 16 years are obliged to attend school so they can prepare well for participation in  society and the labor market. Youths who have no basic qualification after their 16th should attend school until their 18th. A basic qualification is a HAVO, VWO or MBO (level 2 or higher).