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Bringing Up Toddlers in Italy

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1Bringing Up Toddlers in Italy Empty Bringing Up Toddlers in Italy on 8th November 2009, 12:04 pm

Found some more info on children!

Answers to questions parents in Italy with young children might have, including information on health matters, preschool, child care and parental benefits.

As time is in short supply for most parents of very young children, below is some information to help guide the way through life in Italy with a toddler.

Nurseries and Schooling
There are three stages in the education system in Italy:

Pre-compulsory pre-school (ages 3-6)
Primary school (ages 6-14)
Secondary school (ages 14-20)
Italian pre-schools are considered among the best in the world and the vast majority of Italian parents opt to enroll their children.

Nursery
Children may attend day nurseries (asilo nido) fairly soon after birth, or pre-school (scuola maternal/scuola dell'infanzia) from the age of three.

Day nurseries accept children as young as three months of age and are generally used by working parents. Costs are based on the nursery and number of hours children attend, but generally state-run nurseries are less expensive than private ones. Places in these nurseries are therefore more in demand and often have waiting lists. Priority is usually given to working mothers, low-income parents and parents of handicapped children.

Nursery schools generally operate from 08:30 to 12:30, though parents may leave their children for extended hours.

Pre-School
After turning three years old, all children may attend a pre-school which, though not required, is the first stage of their schooling. Though it's not mandatory, nearly all children in Italy attend pre-school, though there are lower attendance rates in the South of Italy. Pre-schools are either state-run, state-subsidised or private. State pre-schools are free of charge and offer a full-time education until a child begins primary school. Most state schools expect families to make financial contributions toward the cost of meals and transportation.

Pre-schools are generally open from around 08:00 to 17:00, though after-school programs are usually available for children with parents who work later.

The government may subsidise pre-schools if there are not enough state-run facilities to accommodate children in a locality. Pre-schools in Italy accept all children between the ages of three and six, including those with learning disabilities and behavioural difficulties.

In order to be eligible to begin pre-school, a child must have had their third birthday by the beginning of the school year (generally the beginning of September). Occasionally schools will accept a child who turns three before 31 December of that year.

The Ministry of Public Education (Ministero della Pubblica Istruzione, MPI) manages the pre-school system, while the administration of most pre-schools lies with local education authorities. There is no mandated curriculum for pre-schools.

Which pre-school to attend
Children are automatically sent to a school in their locality unless there are no vacancies. It is possible to attend a school outside of a student's local area if the preferred school has space available.

Primary school
Contact the local town hall for information regarding when and where to enroll in primary school. Generally the documents required for enrolment are:

the child's birth certificate (certificato di nascita)
the child's vaccination records (libretto individuale)
Certificate of Family Status (Certificato di Stato di Famiglia)
a photograph of the child and the parent's residence permit (Permesso di Soggiorno) or residence certificate (Certificato di Residenza)
If residency has not yet been attained, an attestation of intention to move permanently to Italy may be acceptable.

For further details see AngloINFO INFOrmation Page Italian Education and Schooling in Italy
Toddler Health and Vaccinations
Italy follows the recommendations provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) regarding infant vaccinations, and advises that they should be inoculated against various diseases.

Some of the vaccinations are compulsory:

At 11 to 15 months, the baby must be vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella (German Measles)
At 11 to 12 months: diphtheria, tetanus, polio, Haemophilus influenza b, Hepatitis B
At 3 years: polio
At 5 to 6 years: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis
For children between 12 and 24 months of age, the PN7V (Pneumococcal heptavalent conjugate), MenC (meningococcal C conjugate) and Var (varicella) vaccines are recommended for some children only. Check with the child's doctor for guidance.

For the official vaccination schedule (calendario vaccinale) for children in Italy, see the Ministerio della Salute website: Click here
Facilities and Allowances for Parents
Maternity Indemnity
An amount equivalent to 80 percent of the average daily wage is allocated to mothers who are away from work, during their maternity leave, in place of their salary. The compulsory maternity leave in Italy covers a period of five months maximum; usually the mother leaves work two months before the birth of her child and returns within three months after the birth. It is also possible to leave work one month before the birth and then take up to four months once the baby is born.

Maternity leave can be extended up to 11 months between the two parents, and can be taken within the first eight years of the child's life. This indemnity also applies to parents adopting a child (for three months from the date of adoption for children under six years) and also applies to the father.

Parental leave
Within the first eight years of the child's life, either of the parents may take parental leave, up to a maximum of 11 months altogether for both parents. In the case of adoption, the parents also have the right to take parental leave (the conditions then depend on the age of the child adopted). The salary paid for parental leave corresponds to 30 percent of the average daily wage.

Child sickness
On presentation of a medical certificate, the parents have the right to take leave from work when a child is sick for:

up to five working days per year for a child aged between three and eight years old
an unlimited number of days if the child is under three
Disabled children
Parents of a severely handicapped child may benefit from an extension of parental leave or, alternatively, may take one or two paid hours off work per day, until the child is three years old. For children above three years of age, they are entitled to three days per month off work.

From January 2001, the law states that parents who need to look after their handicapped child can take up to a maximum of two years leave. This can be taken at various times.

Specific financial help
The Ministry of Work and Social Affairs (Ministero del Lavoro e delle Politiche Sociali) may provide financial help (Assegno di Maternità) to families in financial difficulties, jobless parents, and families with more than three children aged under 18 years. Income limits apply.

Further Information
Italian Government: Italia.gov.it (in Italian)

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2Bringing Up Toddlers in Italy Empty Re: Bringing Up Toddlers in Italy on 8th November 2009, 3:56 pm

some discrepancies:
1. Strange about the way the article divides the schooling system
At Matteo's school, and others I know about, it works like this:

3-6 La Materna (infant school). Virtually no one get a place at 3 yrs old, but I think the state is oblidged to give u a place from 5yrs.
6yrs u start primary school. You are not obliged to start school before 6 years old.It has 5 year groups.
Then there are 3 yrs of the 'media' (middle school)
Then there is Liceo (college) 3 years until u r 18/19. You need to complete Liceo in order to get a school leaving certificate.

2. When I enrolled Matteo into local primary school I was not asked for any documents/proof. I think only a copy of his vaccinations. And I didn't even have residency at the time!
3. My 2 little ones have not had the MMR and no one has commented
on this.
4. Maternity pay has recently changed...I think it is 100% for the 5 months and then you can take some aspettativa, but the amount u get paid has changed. You'll have to find the details, I reckon the INPS website will have the updated info.

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3Bringing Up Toddlers in Italy Empty Re: Bringing Up Toddlers in Italy on 8th November 2009, 10:27 pm

Maternity leave when I did it in 2008-2009 was 5 months of compulsory leave at 80% pay and 6 months of non-compulsory leave at 30% pay. You could take the non-compulsory leave at any time before the child turned 3. I chose to take it in one big block for various reasons.

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4Bringing Up Toddlers in Italy Empty Re: Bringing Up Toddlers in Italy on 8th November 2009, 10:39 pm

It was the same for me Piccolina, but my just pregnant friend says things have changed just very recently.

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