In addition to public and private pre-schools, several alternative education programs also exist in Romania. The Step by Step program is a program that was established in 1994 and was originally called Head Start. The Ministry of National education accredited Head Start as an alternative to public education. The program is currently run by the Step by Step Centre for Vocational Education and Development and is addressed to children ages 1 to 13 or 14 years of age and their parents. In the United States, head start allows children in low income families to attend preschool.
In the mid 1950’s, there were only about 18.6% of children enrolled in preschool. By the mid 1970’s that number had doubled but still space was limited. In the early 1980’s, about 75& of children age 3 to 4 were enrolled while 90% of children age 5 to 6 were enrolled in kindergarten. The enrollment rate for preschool continues to rise because nursery schools are considered to provide poor care by a majority of people. Therefore, kindergarten is the best alternative as far as enrolling in a program at such an early age.
The Romanian preschool system really is designed to provide an education at a very young age, rather than simply giving them a place to play. Educators, the government and parents alike have a vested interest in the education of all children.