18% of Slovenia’s population are children. Three quarters of them live with both parents. Every 17th boy in Slovenia is Luka or Jan and every 19th girl is Nika or Eva. Almost all school children attend school trips and have appropriate space for learning.
At the Children’s Day
63 years ago the United Nations called upon all nations of the world to fix a special day that would remind them of the importance of child well-being. In Slovenia the Children’s Day is celebrated on the first Monday in October at the start of the traditional Child Week, which the Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth has been organising since 1954. The central theme of this year’s Child Week is »Let’s Invite the Sun into the School«.
Children in Slovenia
ntil when can people be considered children is very relative. The United Nations count as children all young people aged up to 18 years. At the beginning of 2017 364,253 residents of Slovenia were children, which is 18% of the population. In the past ten years the number of children grew by 15,144 or by about as much as the population of the Municipality of Litija.
Among children most girls are named Nika, Eva, Sara, Ana and Lara, while the most common boys’ names are Luka, Jan, Žan, Nik and Nejc.
Three quarters of children live together with parents, of whom 52% with married parents and 22% with unmarried parents living in a consensual union. Between 2011 and 2015 the share of children in consensual unions increased by 4 percentage points. One the other hand, the share of children living with married parents decreased by 4 percentage points. In 2015, 24% of children were living with only one parent; most of them were living with mothers (83%). Three quarters of children were living with at least one sibling.
Child care and school attendance
In 2016/17 more than three quarters of children aged 1–5 were included in kindergartens in Slovenia, 5% of them in private kindergartens. In the past ten years the inclusion rate went up by 15 percentage points. In the pre-school period a common form of child care is using grandparents, friends or relatives; in 2016 more than half of children aged up to 5 were in such care (the figure includes children attending kindergartens but also spending a few hours per week in the care of grandparents, friends or relatives).
At the beginning of the school year 2016/17, 97% of children aged 6–14 attended basic school. In 2016, 53% of children aged 6–12 attended after-school facilities. On average, they spent 10.7 hours per week in them.
In the school year 2016/17, 93% of children aged 15–17 attended upper secondary education. Most of them attended technical and vocational programmes or general programmes. In 2016 one in a thousand children aged 15–17 was employed and one in 200 was unemployed.
In 2016 in 97% of households children aged up to 16 years had appropriate space for learning and doing homework. Slightly greater problems with space for learning were observed in families with several children; 5% of households with three or more children aged up to 16 years did not have appropriate space for learning and doing homework.
Parents or guardians were able to provide to almost all of their children school trips and other school activities that have to be paid for. 3% of households could not afford this due to financial reasons. Worse off were households below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, since 9% of such households could not afford such activities for their children.
According to data obtained by the research Health Behavior in School-Aged Children (HBSC) in Slovenia conducted by the Nacional Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), in 2014 30% of adolescents aged 11, 13 and 15 years liked school. 15-year-olds liked school the most. Girls liked school more than boys and they more frequently thought that form teachers assess their school work better but that they are more burdened by school work than boys.
Leisure, holidays and socialising
In 2014 regular participation in leisure activities, such as clubs, sports activities, music school, etc., that have to be paid for (e.g. membership fee, contribution, equipment, etc.) was provided to their children aged up to 16 years by 68% of households in Slovenia. This is less than in the neighbouring Austria (74%) and Hungary (70%) but more than in the neighbouring Croatia (62%) and Italy (64%). Children participated in such activities the most in the Netherlands, Ireland and Switzerland (90% of households) and the least in Romania and Macedonia (15% and 20% of households, respectively).
According to mentioned NIJZ survey, 18% of adolescents spent more than four hours a day sitting during their leisure time. On a school day 53% of adolescents were watching TV, videos and other entertaining content two or more hours per day, and 28% of adolescents were playing computer games two or more hours per day.
One-week annual holiday outside home, including at relatives or in second home, could be afforded by 91% of households. Children from low-income households were the most disadvantaged; 15% of such households could not enable their children to have a week of holidays.
In 2014, children aged up to 16 years from 92% of households in Slovenia were able to invite friends to play and eat time to time. According to the NIJZ survey, adolescents (11-, 13- and 15-year-olds) assess the support of friends well; in 2014 the average mark was 5.3 (on the scale of 1 to 7). One in three adolescents communicated daily via electronic media with friends; girls more frequently than boys. 88% of them were satisfied with their lives.