All toddlers in Rotterdam are to be offered places at school from the age of two for eight hours a week, but will not begin formal education until they are four.
City education alderman Hugo de Jonge hopes the move will improve the opportunities open to children in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Children who are considered to be at risk will be offered 10 to 12.5 hours of pre-school care a week.
The new set-up will replace the current plethora of council run daycare for the under-4s, including playgroups. Responsibility for the schemes will be transferred to primary schools but these will not necessarily be housed in the same buildings because of financial constraints, news agency ANP says.
The ANP report does not say when the new set-up will be introduced. Primary school is compulsory in the Netherlands from the age of five although most children start formal schooling when they turn four.
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