Nursery and primary schools work to a set calendar.
The Brussels-Capital Region is home to a large number of basic education schools teaching in French or Dutch.
- In the French Community's educational system (FR), primary education is part of a continuous educational process split into three steps, from the first day of nursery to the second year of secondary education. These steps correspond to the learning goals expressed in the "core skills (FR)".
- In the "Flemish Community (NL), the learning goals (NL) are known as "development goals″ for nursery education and "final qualifications" for primary education.
In Brussels nursery education is open to children aged 2,5 to 6 years old. It is not compulsory, but it does help with socialisation and in some cases it helps identify some disabilities in children before they arrive at primary school.
Primary education is obligatory for children aged 6 to 12 years old. It comprises six years of study and chiefly focuses on reading and arithmetic. The successful conclusion of primary education is marked by the "certificat d'études de base (FR)" (CEB, certificate of basic studies) in the French Community and by the "getuigschrift-basisonderwijs (NL)" (certificate of basic education) in the Flemish Community. Holders of these certificates are permitted to enter secondary education.
Immersion learning in a foreign language
Some nursery and primary schools participate in a language-immersion programme, under which some courses (non-language courses) are taught in another language.
Children start learning by immersion:
- in the third year of nursery education or the first year of primary education, or
- in the third year of primary education. The list of schools offering language-immersion learning (FR) in the French Community is available from www.enseignement.be.