Preschools and kindergartens in Budapest

by Réka Morvay on September 3, 2023

Preschool and Kindergarten Options in Budapest

By Lorna Kralik

My son’s class was on the top floor, a solid season hotter than the bigger students’ rooms on the ground floor.   It was September, and I was there for my first parent-teacher meeting since our move to Budapest. Thirty-some adults were pinched into miniature seats facing forward, and the rest of us, the late-comers, lined the borders. The yelling didn’t start until the principal came in. These were early days, and my Hungarian wasn’t good enough to know (a) what everyone was so worked up about, (b) why we were there or (c) whether I was at fault for any of this.

We had made the decision, this move around, to go with the public schools. Between my husband, the kids and myself, we had directly experienced just about every type of schooling option available to international families: public, private, international, private/religious, international bilingual…the whole lot except for home schooling (not to knock it, but I know my limits well enough to not consider this). Sitting there, with sympathetic looks being shot my way, I seriously doubted we had made the right choice.

For expat families, schooling can be one of the most critical factors in determining whether your experience abroad will ultimately be considered a success, both in the moment and twenty years down the line. If kids don’t feel comfortable in their surroundings, it is difficult for parents to feel much better.  David Pollock and Ruth Van Reken, authors of Third Culture Kids, and gurus of all things expat, acknowledge that “there is no perfect schooling formula that guarantees a happy outcome for all [third culture kids].” I agree.  My own children have sometimes struggled despite having every resource we thought they needed, or conversely, thrived in spite of our decision flops.  Not having a stake in promoting any one choice, I would urge families to consider the whole spectrum of options available.

Fortunately, expats moving to Budapest have a ton of preschool and kindergartens to choose from. Many, if not most families who are here for a limited stay go with one of the bigger, international schools.  These institutions provide understanding of the expat experience, a familiar curriculum, ease of communication, and an instant community. Often overlooked, however, are smaller schools that can provide a similar quality of education with low cost and a local feel.

It was precisely that neighborly connection that we felt was missing from our latest, pre-Budapest, experience, and that’s why we went local.  It took me six months to fully appreciate the story behind that first class conference (the argument ran deep and predated our arrival), and then another year before I felt we hadn’t totally bungled the future of our child. Of course there’s plenty I would change about the school, but it helps to remember that there was plenty I would change about every class in every place we’ve ever lived.  All said, I’m satisfied that this was the right choice for us, and would encourage other expat families to consider the whole range of options when looking for the best preschool setting for their child.

Finally, somewhere else

How Hungarian preschools and kindergartens might differ from what you expect

One of the reasons that I am lumping preschool and kindergarten together is because that’s the way the system is organized.  Elementary school begins with the first grade.  Kindergarten, rather than being the first year of the primary school career, is the last year of the preschool journey. A best-guess reason that I’ve heard for this structure is that schools would like students to be ready to sit for hours on-end in elementary, and the under-seven set are simply not ready to do that.

It follows, then, that one of the biggest complaints on the playground bench revolves around low academic expectations during the preschool years.  One mom wondered why no one seemed to worry that her six-year old was not yet sounding out sentences.  Whereas parents and teachers in an American context might be calling in the reading specialist, the atmosphere here is more low-key and in-due-time-ish. Not to worry, though.  Hungarian students, as well as expat students in Hungary, do fine by international standards; it’s just that the race isn’t considered on until elementary begins.

The schools themselves

Following is a directory for those interested in considering small, local, multilingual preschools and kindergartens. If you would like to look at national schools, some of which also have bilingual classrooms, your district office should be able to provide you with a list of what’s available according to your address.

Mother Goose
Address: 1121 Budapest, Széchenyi emlékút 22
Language of instruction: English
Cost: 129000HUF/month (food included),50000HUF registration fee
Contact: 3613917227
Term: 1st September-30th June (8am-4pm)
Extras: swimming lessons, ski-lessons, dance, pre-gym, crafts
Bus service? no

Mary Poppins
Address: 1063 Budapest, Munkácsy street 34.
Language of instruction: English, Hungarian or Russian
Cost: 93000HUF/month    10000HUF catering/month
Contact: 36303832291
Term: September-30th June (7.30am-4.30pm)
Extras: swimming, drama class, music lessons
Bus service? available

Mary Poppins DayCare Centre is about to move, but will take children from the autumn again.

Address: 1214 Budapest, Akácfa street 20.
Language of instruction:  English and Hungarian
Cost:    75000HUF/month, 610HUF catering/day
Contact:  36303724502,
Term: 1st September-31th August (7.30am-5pm)
Extras: chess school, piano, drawing, aikido, Irish step dance
Bus service? no

Address: 1022 Budapest, Csopaki street 8.
Language of instruction: English
Cost: 143100HUF/month (food included)
Contact: 3613943858,,
Term: 1st September-19th June
Extras: (mostly included in tuition) arts, crafts, music, swimming, judo, dance, ESL, tennis, gym, ice-skating, drama
Bus service? available

Planet Kids
Address: 1125 Budapest, Zirzen Janka street 12.
Language of instruction: English
Cost: 145000HUF/month (food included), 25000HUF registration fee
Contact: 3612006537,,
Term: 1st September-31th July (7am-5pm)
Extras: gym, guitar and music classes, computer lab, yoga, judo, dance, swimming
Bus service? available

A-Z International Centre of Children
Address: 1125 Budapest, Zsolna street 2.
Language of instruction: English
Cost: please contact school
Contact: 3612120133,,
Term: 1st September-31th July (8am-5pm)
Extras: gym, swimming, judo, piano, dance, skiing
Bus service? available

Happy Kids
Address: 1124 Budapest, Fodor street 36.
Language of instruction: English
Cost: 216000HUF (food included)
Contact: 3613562440,,
Time: 8am-5pm
Extras: gym, horse riding, ski camp, swimming, music
Bus service? available

Plum Pudding
Address: 1026 Budapest, Gyergyó street 6.
Language of instruction: English
Contact: 36309915481,,
Time: 8am-5pm
Extras: swimming, karate, ballet, folk dance, arts and crafts, ice skating, skiing
Bus service? no

Picoti Day Care
Address: 1029 Budapest Zsolt fejedelem street 50.
Language of instruction: French and Hungarian
Contact: 3612746785,,

Address: 1026 Budapest, Bimbó street 194-200.
Language of instruction: English and Hungarian
Cost: 117000HUF/month, 60000HUF registration fee
Contact: 3613914445,,
Term: 1st September-31th July
Extras: swimming, skiing, football, ice skating
Bus service? no

Address: 2084 Pilisszentiván Szabadság street 219.
Language of instruction: English, German, Hungarian
Cost: 85000HUF (food included)
Contact: 3626367369,,
Extras: swimming, horseback riding available for the ones who live in Hidegkút (+10000HUF)

Kids Kiosk (language school and funhouse)
Address: 1023 Budapest, Bogár street 26/b.
Language of instruction: English
Cost: 125000HUF/month +25000HUF food/month
Contact: 36706677655,,
Extras: swimming, dancing, gym, yoga

Address: 1026 Budapest Harangvirág street 4.
Language of instruction: Hungarian
Contact: 36303437754,,
Extras: swimming, horseback riding, judo, skiing, fitness, ice skating, gym, skating, tennis
Bus service? available

Rainbow Hills
Address: 2045 Törökbálint, Csiri street 3.
Language of instruction: English
Cost: 150000HUF/month (food included), 35000hUF registration fee
Contact: 3623332496,    ,
Extras: swimming, gym, ballett, music
Bus service? no

English Garden Pre-School
Address: 1089 Budapest, Villám street 25.
Language of instruction: English
Cost: 170000HUF/month (food included), 25000HUF registration fee
Contact: 36202245070,,
Term: Sept-Jun.

Under the Rainbow
Address: 1029 Budapest, Fekete Rigó u. 20.
Language of instruction: English
Contact: 36302318181,,
Term: Sept-June (7.30 am – 5.00 pm)
Extras (included within tuition fee): ESL  classes, dance, aikido, music, tennis, yoga, piano, movement development
Bus service? available upon request

Habakukk (Horváth Anna)
Address: 1022 Budapest, Marczibányi square 12.
Language of instruction: English and Hungarian/German and Hungarian
Cost: 96000HUF/month (food included
Contact: 36309588629,,
Term: Sept-July
Extras: swimming, skiing, judo, ice skating, music

Address: 1121 Budapest, Művészi street 5-7.
Language of instruction: Hungarian and English 2 times a week
Cost: 105000HUF (food included)
Contact: 36303343661,,
Extras: swimming, ballett, football, karate

Busy Bee
Address: 1121 Budapest, Távcső street 12.
Language of instruction: English and Hungarian
Cost: 115000HUF (food included), 30000HUF registration fee
Contact: 36309527553,,
Extras: swimming, judo, ballet, ice skating, piano

Additional information and other resources

Services, such as School Choice International, can help you in your search.
Nothing can replace a personal school visit, however, to check out facilities and staff.
A starting point for Third Culture Kids’ issues can be found at

Article originally posted on MoveOne’s Expat Echo blog.

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