Eight-year elementary education in the Republic of Croatia is compulsory and free for all children at the age of six to fifteen. This refers to all children with permanent residence in the Republic of Croatia, irrespective of their citizenship.
There are three segments of elementary education. Compulsory elementary education conducted in regular elementary schools and special institutions for students with developmental difficulties, art education in elementary music and dance schools, and elementary education of adults conducted in regular schools and specialized institutions. Elementary music education is also conducted in certain regular elementary schools, as a separate educational program.
Regular schools were mostly founded by the units of local self-government and the towns (828), while some were established by other physical and legal persons (10). In private elementary schools alternative elementary education is available according to special pedagogical principles (Waldorf, Montessori). Education of children with more significant developmental difficulties is conducted in 21 special institutions. Art education is conducted in 56 institutions, 3 of which are private. Education of the representatives of national minorities is carried out in 24 elementary schools, where the program is conducted in the language and writing of a relevant national minority, while 61 elementary schools have classes with program conducted in the language and writing of a relevant national minority.
In addition to 838 elementary schools in the elementary education system we also have the following:
1. SPECIAL SCHOOLS, the total of 21 (3 special schools founded by the counties, 16 special schools founded by the towns and municipalities, and 2 special schools founded by other physical and legal persons).
2. ART SCHOOLS, the total of 56 (13 art schools founded by the counties, 38 art schools founded by the towns and municipalities, and 5 art schools founded by other physical and legal persons.