Wednesday - 30 April 2008
Children in pre-primary schools in December 2007
More children attended pre-primary schools than ever before
In December 2007 17,446 children attended pre-primary schools, more than ever before in Iceland. The number of children increased by 230 (1.3%) since the previous year. The proportion of children attending pre-primary schools is close to 95% among three and four year olds. In December 2007 90.9% of two year olds attended pre-primary school and 30.8% of one year olds.
The duration of stay increases and boys stay longer in school than girls
The daily duration of stay in pre-primary schools increases year by year when looking back to 1998. The proportion of children who stay in school for at least 8 hours per day continues to increase (figure 1). In 1998 more than 40% (40.3%) of children stayed in school for 8 hours or longer. Four years later this proportion had increased to 61.7% and in 2007 77.8% of all children are registered with at least 8 hours daily attendance. A larger proportion of boys than girls stay in school for 8 hours or more. In December 2007 78.3% of all boys in pre-primary schools attended school for at least 8 hours while the corresponding proportion of girls was 77.1%. Three years ago 70.1% of all boys stayed in school for at least 8 hours while the proportion of girls was 68.4%. It should be noted that this is the duration of stay that the children are guaranteed but it is not uncommon for parents to pick their children up before their guaranteed duration of stay has expired.
The proportion of children in private pre-primary schools increased by more than 26%
There were 270 pre-primary schools operating in December 2007, three more than in December 2006. Between 2006 and 2007 the number of private schools increased by five, while the number of public schools decreased by two. A total of 2,316 children attended 36 private pre-primary schools in December 2007, an increase of 485 children from the previous year, or 26.5%. In December 2007 13.3% of pre-school children attended private schools, while in 1998 the proportion was 5.3%.
A continuing increase in the number of children with a foreign mother tongue
The number of children with another mother tongue than Icelandic continues to increase. Now 1,571 children have a foreign mother tongue, or 9.0% of all children attending pre-primary school. Children speaking Polish are most numerous (324 children) and English is the second most spoken language (164 children). In December 2007 there were 367 children who were foreign citizens. Most of these children are from Eastern Europe (59.1%), while 10.6% come from Asia.
More children than ever before receive special support
In December 2007 1,184 children received special support because of a handicap or social or emotional difficulties, a total of 6.8% of all pre-school children. This is an increase of 200 children from the previous year, or an increase of 20.3%.
The statistical series will be published on May 15 2008 with more information on children in pre-primary schools.