There were 5,826 staff members working 5,099 full-time equivalent jobs in 256 pre-primary schools in December 2013, an increase of 2.8% from the previous year. At the same time 19,713 children attended pre-primary schools, more than ever before in Iceland. The number of pre-school children increased by 98 from December 2012, by 0.5%. More than 83% of 1-5 year old children attended pre-primary education, the highest proportion ever.

The number of children of foreign origin continues to increase
Statistics Iceland has collected data on pre-school children’s citizenship since 2001. In 2001 159 children had foreign citizenship, 1.0% of children in pre-primary schools. In December 2013, there were 1,147 children with foreign citizenship attending pre-primary schools in Iceland; 5.8%. The composition of the group of foreign children has changed considerably during this period. The number of children from the Baltic countries and from Eastern Europe has increased greatly while the proportion of children coming from other countries is smaller proportionally.

Children with foreign citizenship
  Number Percent
  2001 2013 2001 2013
Total 159 1,147 100.0 100.0
The Nordic countries 23 25 14.5 2.2
Western Europe 21 69 13.2 6.0
The Baltic countries 5 142 3.1 12.4
Eastern Europe 62 813 39.0 70.9
North America 4 12 2.5 1.0
South America 3 11 1.9 1.0
Africa 0 11 0.0 1.0
Asia 31 55 19.5 4.8
Oceania 0 2 0.0 0.2
Unknown 10 7 6.3 0.6

In December 2013 a total of 2,181 children had a foreign mother tongue (11.1% of pre-school children), more than ever before. Of these children 881 speak Polish, the most common foreign language of pre-primary school children in recent years.

A steady increase in personnel over the age of fifty
The number of staff has increased in recent years. At the same time the age composition has been changing, as the number of staff in the youngest and oldest age groups has been increasing in recent years. There has been a steady increase in staff numbers in the oldest age group (50 and older) since Statistics Iceland started collecting data on staff in pre-primary schools in 1998. In 1998 staff members who were 50 years old and older were 568, 15.5% of staff, while in 2013 their number had increased to 1,490, 25.6% of staff. The number of staff aged 30-49 years old has decreased since 2009 and were 46.5% of staff in 2013. Staff members under the age of thirty were 27.9% in December 2013, an increase from just under a quarter of all staff in 2011.

There were 1,960 licenced pre-primary school teachers working in December 2013, 36.8% of staff working in education and childcare.

Fewer pre-primary schools
There were 256 pre-primary schools operating in December 2013, six fewer than in the previous year. The number of pre-primary schools was greatest in 2009, when there were 282 schools operating.