The Nurseries Department of the Government of Lower Austria is responsible for 1052 regional nurseries (1 to 8-group facilities), 2895 nursery classes (as at Jan. 2016) with c. 50,550 nursery children and c. 10,000 people employed in nurseries. Employees (nursery teachers, special nursery teachers, intercultural staff, carers and support staff), 213 daycare facilities with 310 groups and 3721 children, 182 after-school care facilities with 438 groups and 9169 children (as at Jan. 2016).
The Nurseries Department of the Office of the Government of Lower Austria is the education advisory and supervisory body for nursery staff, and is responsible for producing the professional development programme for teaching personnel. The department has expertise in promoting language development in early childhood and in multilingualism in nurseries.
The Nurseries Department has been involved in cross-border projects since 1998:
- Intercultural teaching in practice and theory 1998-2000; programme: Socrates – Comenius 2
- Different origins – A shared future 2003-2005; programme: EU Equal project
- Intercultural education for children – learning Slovak and Czech through play at nursery in the border region 2004-2005 and Intercultural education for children – learning Slovak and Czech through play taking account of multilingualism 2005-2007 as part of the Interreg IIIA-SK programme.
- Intercultural education for children and adults 2009-2012 and Intercultural education for (school)children and teachers 2012-2014 as part of the ETZ AT-CZ, ETZ SK-AT programme.
The department also participated in the ETZ AT-HU projects Educorb and Educorb extended.