Preschool – 0 to 5 years

The CLB (Flemish) or PMS (French language) are social services that follow children from age 2,5-18, their medical examinations are obligatory and take place at certain points in a child’s life. They follow up where Kind & Gezin (Flemish) or ONE (French language) stops. 

Education in Belgium is compulsory from the age of 5. Children don’t usually start primary school until they are 6, but it is possible to start at 5. The education and preschool system in Belgium is very complicated and we will only offer a brief outline on our Schools and Education page.

Most young children attend a crèche, approved childcare services, or communal childcare centres – many begin in their 1st year as their mother returns to work. Early care is usually subsidised and so there are rules and procedures the carers must follow.

Gross motor skills

Most children like to be active and enjoy the movement of the larger muscle groups, like the arms and legs. This starts with babies sitting up, turning over, crawling, and walking. For children over a year, they move on to:

  • Running, jumping, balancing on one leg, hopping on one leg.
  • Using a swing, a slide, a climbing frame.
  • Pushing a pram or a wheelbarrow, learning to ride a trike or a scooter.
  • Climbing in and out of their pram, their bed, a car, a high-chair.
  • Walking up and down stairs.
  • Playing on a bouncy castle or in a ball-park.
  • Walking on a line on the ground or along a low wall.
  • Kicking a ball; throwing a ball and catching a ball.
  • Everything is developing muscles and coordination.

Fine motor skills

These are activities that use movement of the smaller muscle groups in your child’s hands, fingers, and wrists.  Some of the ways to practice and develop fine motor skills are:

  • Clapping hands to music and songs.
  • Building a tower of blocks.
  • Pasting things onto paper.
  • Working buttons and zippers.
  • Completing jigsaws of ever-increasing difficulty.
  • Holding and using crayons and paintbrushes; eventually colouring inside the lines.
  • Starting to cut paper, and eventually to be able to cut out a shape drawn on paper.
  • Use play-doh to make shapes like sausages and balls, and use play-doh shape cutters.
  • Using spoons, & forks to feed themselves and learning to use a knife to spread butter and cut food.

Preschool (2 years 6 months to 5-6 years)

(Dutch: kleuterschool; French: enseignement maternel; German: Kindergarten) 

This is free and most children attend, although it is not compulsory until the calendar year in which a child becomes 5 years old.  Compulsory education lasts for a maximum of twelve entire school years. 

Everything is taught through play and there is no formal curriculum.  

Most preschools are attached to a particular primary school. Preschools and primary schools often share buildings and other facilities. Some schools offer special pre-primary education for children with disabilities or other special needs.  

If you opt for a local school, children will need to have attended a certain number of half-days in a Dutch or French-language pre-school before they can enroll in primary school. Without this, children must undergo a basic language test to assess their proficiency. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What age is education compulsory?

A child becomes subject to compulsory education on 1 September of the calendar year in which they become 5 years old.  Compulsory education lasts for a maximum of twelve entire school years. 

Can we homeschool?

Compulsory education does not mean compulsory school attendance. To comply with compulsory education, you have 2 options:  


Bhu Venkatesan
OT – Paediatric Occupational Therapist) Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia.

Giuliana Wheater
Rainbow Kids Touch Therapy.

Aiste Grubliauskiene
Psychologist, helping parenting with positive discipline


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