Childcare and Pre-school Education in Panama

Understand the options for daycare and pre-school education for your children in Panama...

Pre-school education

Some of Panama's schools and pre-schools offer classes called "maternales" for toddlers. These daycare facilities accept children from the age of one year and eight months and provide childcare for up to four hours a day.

Kindergarten is compulsory when a child turns five years old. The school year starts in March and the child must be five by May to attend, or wait another year.


Vaccinations are compulsory in order to attend a school in Panama, and those typically required are for Polio, Dyptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, and MMR.

Nurses and nannies

Nurses (practicas), who are sometimes employed to help take care of a new baby, and nannies (nanas), who typically look after older children up to the age of around 10, can be found either through word of mouth or through a recognized agency. Agencies can ask for a commission, a percentage or a flat rate. Their services are usually only in Spanish.

There is a trial period for hiring a worker from an agency and during this time, the employer is encouraged to voice any problems. Should there be a problem, another employee will be proposed at no extra cost.

Registered babysitting services do not exist in Panama.