In December 2022 there were almost 20 thousand children attending pre-primary schools in Iceland, an increase of 635 (3.3%) from the previous year. One out of four children have a foreign background. A total of 11% of preschool children were born in Iceland but have one parent born abroad, 9% were born in Iceland but both parents were born abroad, over 3% are immigrants and more than 3% have other foreign background.
More children have a foreign mother tongue and foreign citizenship
There were 3,335 children with a foreign mother tongue in December 2022, 16.8% of all pre-school children, which is more than ever before. Polish was the most common foreign language as in recent years, with 1.063 children speaking Polish. The second most common mother tongue was English (356 children), followed by Spanish (166 children). The greatest increase was in the number of children speaking Ukrainian, from 16 to 58. At the same time, the number of children with foreign citizenship had increased to 1,973 children, 9.9% of children in pre-primary schools, which is more than ever before. The largest increase was in the number of children from Asia and South America.
More than half of one year old children attend pre-primary schools
The proportion of 1-5 year old children attending pre-primary schools decreased by one percentage point from the previous year, from 88% to 87%, as the number of children in pre-primary schools didn’t increase at the same rate as the number of children in this age group in the country.
The proportion of one year olds in pre-primary schools varies greatly by region. Overall, 54% of one year old children attended pre-primary schools. In the East, 82% of one year old children attended pre-primary school and 74% in the Westfjords. The proportion of one year old children attending was by far the lowest in the Southwest, at 19%.
The number of preschool children under the age of one decreased by one-half, from 31 child in 2021 to 15 in 2022.
More children receive special support
In December 2022, 2,320 children received special support because of a handicap, social or emotional difficulties, a total of 11.7% of all pre-school children, more than ever before. As in previous years boys were more numerous among children receiving support; 1,491 boys and 829 girls received support in 2022.