Preschool (nursery schools) are public by majority and there is no charge to attend. However, some do charge tuition as mentioned previously. Although there are no direct laws in place, there is a policy in place called the “National Strategy for Early Education as part of the ECD Convergent Framework”. This policy was put in place to ensure proper training for the staff at preschools, to provide integrated early education services, provide early intervention for children, create resource centers for parents of special need children, and to improve upon the infrastructure currently in place in kindergarten. This national program specifically targets children from birth to 7 yrs of age and those who are at risk, such as minorities and those with special educational needs.
Most countries in the world do not make it mandatory for children to attend preschool. However, many of them have been able maintain an enrollment rate of between 70%-95% of children attending preschool. The tuition also varies from anywhere between free to as much as $140 a month. Although in most countries, preschool tuition is on the low end of the scale in terms of cost. Those parents that can afford to send their children to preschool often do because it is widely viewed that preschool offers a much better learning environment than in home care.
Most of the education laws in Romania affect children from the age of 3 yrs old to the age of 6 yrs old. There are no education laws in place for children ages 0-3 yrs. The objectives for pre-school education are to ensure that a child has the opportunity to develop normally and reach their full potential. This takes into account that playtime is a very basic activity for children at the preschool level. Therefore, integrating play into regular daily activity is a way to make sure that a child’s psychological needs and physical potential can be reached. Another goal is to ensure that enrich the environment and the ability for a child to interact with others as well as supporting every child in identifying who he or she is as an individual, thereby developing a positive self image at an early age.
Preschool is available in the public and private sectors with free tuition in public schools and varying fees in the private sector. The fees really depend on the program that the school offers and of course, the location of the school. Although public preschools do not charge tuition, they may charge for means and transportation. Preschools are not available in most places so there are waiting lists in those locations where preschools are available. It can take up to six months to gain acceptance to a preschool in Romania and this is more prevalent in public schools where space is limited. Private schools are usually easier to get into if parents can afford the tuition.
It used to be that political education and socialization are closely integrated in the Romanian Education system. The process of political socialization in education starts in preschool and lasts throughout each level of education in Romania. Kindergarteners learn to love their country, the PCP and their president. Children also receive an introduction to the Marxist concept of work by simply imitating the work that is performed in an everyday work environment. Children are also been taught at an early age; obedience to discipline as well as a commitment to building upon socialism over welfare and individual advancement. Most importantly, they learn the importance of being polite and honest.