In all the countries studied, pre-school education, while remaining optional, is today systematically organised before the beginning of elementary schooling. Attendance at these establishments is generally from the age of 3 up to compulsory school age, i.e. three or four years. In addition to their social role (care of young children) these establishments have officially defined educational aims, which are regarded as increasingly important for the children’s development. Table 6 shows the present duration of pre-school attendance.