Primary school in Italy
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Nicolò Bolla

Primary School in Italy

Primary school is mandatory for every child starting from age 6, and altogether middle school it is included in the primary education cycle.

The main scope of the primary/elementary school is to provide the students with the basic knowledge to develop the individual’s cognitive abilities. This learning path is considered the basic education requirement to let every child acquire the basic and staple constitutional rights. Furthermore, elementary school is the foundation of critical thought and the self realization of the individual.

The primary school system is made of public and private schools (called Paritarie).

Primary school in Italy

Primary school enrolment

The primary school in Italy is mandatory for all the children aged 6 living in Italy, regardless of their citizenship and their immigration status. The school year in Italy runs from September to June, and the exact dates are determined by the local region, therefore some discrepancies arise in different areas of Italy. The age cutoff date is normally december 31 of any given year, however it is also possible to register your child if he/she is 6 years of age by April 30th of any school year; in this case it is advisable to talk to the Asilo to determine if the child is ready to move forward in the class.

How to enroll to elementary school

The school enrolment is normally done online, and the parent (or the legal guardian) needs to access the Department of education portal (link); the first registration date is December 19th, from January 4th to January 20th it is possible to enroll your child at school.

In order to access the portal you need to have SPID, therefore we encourage you to do it; the process is rather seamless, albeit being available in Italian only.

Private schools may adopt the Department of Education enrolment portal; since their adoption is not mandatory, you must check with your education provider in regards to the enrolment route.

Primary school characteristics

The Presidential decree n. 89/2009 administers the primary education rules throughout the country. The minimum size of the classroom is 15 students, and normally classes cannot exceed 30 children.

If there is a special needs student, the class cannot exceed 20 students. Having said so, there are numerous exceptions based on the regional laws, school location etc.

The education hours vary from a minimum of 24 hours up to 30 hours depending on the local school personnel availability. 

Families can also opt for the full time school option (called tempo pieno) extending the school hours to 40 hours per week; this varies depending on the local school and its teachers. In addition, local schools determine the number of school days per week from Monday to Saturday or Monday to Friday, with or without afternoon classes.

Primary school classes and curriculum

Whether the elementary school is private or public, the following classes are mandatory throughout Italy:

  • Italian language;
  • English language;
  • History;
  • Geography;
  • Sciences;
  • Music;
  • Arts;
  • Physical Education;
  • Technology;
  • Civic education.

Students can opt for the Religion class as well where Catholic religion is taught; students not wishing to take part in such a class can opt for individual study hours or additional hours of any other class.

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