Pre-school and Primary Education in Italy

Find out about provision for the early years in the Italian education system...

Kindergarten/pre-school (Scuola materna)

For ages three to five, the scuola materna provides optional education for children and every child is entitled to a place. It is not obligatory for a child to attend preschool but most parents enrol their children in a scuola materna. Preschool in Italy is free except in private schools.

Primary school (Scuola primaria/elementare)

School in Italy is compulsory from the age of six onwards. Recent legislation changes means that children may start scuola primaria from the age of five and a half onwards (this is to bring Italian schools in line with European schools regarding school leaving ages). All children who will be six years old by 31 December following the start of the school year can register for primary school.

At primary school children learn to read and write and study mathematics, geography, Italian, English, science, music, computer studies, religion (optional) and social studies.

Primary school lasts five years. Classes have between 10 and 25 pupils each. Until recently pupils had to pass an exam at the end of year five before they could progress to secondary school, but this is no longer the case.