Public kindergartens open for refugees in Greece

To read this post in Greek, click here.

Greek kindergartens are now open for refugee children who are 5 years old!

Public kindergarten in Greece is free and required for 5-year-olds, and every child is welcome.

All children who were born in 2012 are expected to enroll in their nearest kindergarten.

There won’t be any special reception classes — your child will attend regular classes alongside Greek children.

The Greek Ministry of Education encourages all families to register their kindergarten-aged children in schools near where they live.

What if I'm not planning to stay in Greece?

Your child should attend even if you are waiting for Relocation or Family Reunification to another country. Enrolling won't affect if and when you can leave Greece.

How do I enroll my child?

You should go to the nearest public kindergarten to where you live and say you want to enroll.

The Greek Ministry of Education is urging families to enroll children in kindergarten before the end of October.

The earlier you enroll, the easier it will be for your child to integrate into their new kindergarten class. It will also help teachers design the right activities for their classrooms this year.

If you can, ask an NGO worker to help you.

If you're going to a school alone and you don't speak Greek or English, you can take along this letter (in Greek, English, Arabic, Farsi and Urdu). It asks the school to help you enroll your child.

Make sure you get a number for your application.

This application number is called a “protokolo" number in Greek, and you will need it if you want to report a problem — for example, if there are not enough spaces in your nearest kindergarten, if the school principal refuses to enroll your child, or if you have been treated unfairly.

Keep in mind that, in certain densely populated urban areas, places in public kindergartens are limited and you might not be able to enroll your children.

Some Greek families are also having trouble finding a place for their children in a kindergarten.

What documents do I need?

  • Proof of vaccination. Find out how to get your kids vaccinated here.
  • Proof of address. If you live in a private apartment, you can take an electricity bill in your name as proof of address. Otherwise, find out how to get proof of your address here.
  • Your child’s Pre-Registration card, Full Registration card or Residence Permit. The school will make a copy.

If you are missing documents, school principals should enroll your child anyway.

During enrollment, your school will give you a form you must take to a public health center or clinic. A doctor will examine your child for free and give you a health certificate to bring back to your school. You can also see and print this form in advance here.

Can my child go to kindergarten if I live in a camp?

You can either enroll your child in a nearby public kindergarten or wait for a kindergarten to open in your camp.

The Greek Ministry of Education plans to open kindergartens in 30 camps around Greece this year.

These kindergartens won’t be ready until at least November because administrative procedures and construction are behind schedule.

You can ask an NGO worker or find the Refugee Education Coordinator, who is a Ministry of Education official, whether your camp will have a kindergarten.

If you experience any problems

If you have any problems registering your kids in kindergarten, you can send an email in your own language to eswg.greece@gmail.com.

You should include your enrollment application number (in Greek: “protokolo" number) in the email.

This email will go to the team that works on refugee education at the Greek Ministry of Education. We can't promise that emailing will help you resolve your situation.

You can also send us a message, and we will try to help.

Will my child get a certificate at the end of the year?

Yes, your child will get a certificate of attendance.

Having the certificate will make it easier to enroll your child in primary school next year.