Finland has been known to have an excellent reputation in education. The worldwide PISA scores show that the Finnish educational system has been successful. But the country's education success rests not only on excellent academic research and the exceptional work of the teachers but also on the strong foundation of a good early education.
According to Child Development Specialist Eeva Hujala, "Early education is the first and most critical stage of lifelong learning". Daycare services help in promoting the personal well-being of children and foster a well-balanced growth, development, and learning.
Even when parents are still in parental leave and looking after their small children at home, they can still utilize the free daycare centers in Finland. These centers, which are also open to foreigners who just moved to Finland, are beneficial for both parents and children to socialize and to network with other people as well.
There are various types of centers for childcare and learning: daycare centers (päiväkoti) available also such as family daycare (perhepäivähoito), group family daycare (ryhmäperhepäivähoito), clubs (kerhot), temporary childcare service (ilta- ja yöhoito), residential parks and open daycare centers (asukaspuistot ja avoimet päiväkodit).
These daycare centers are managed by municipalities for people who have under school-aged children. In early childhood education, there are qualified and trained teachers working together with childcarers, and they follow pedagogical goals. Parents can apply to any daycare center that suits their needs. This article would focus on the open daycare center concept, which is in Finnish language avoin-päivä-koti.
Open daycare centers
If you have children who are not required to go to school yet, and you stay at home to look after them (or perhaps a childminder), then the open daycares are a suitable place to go. The open daycare centers and all the activities there are free of charge. No registration is needed. These are lovely centers to socialize with others, talk with other parents/child-carers, and spend time with your children.
Open daycares are open for everyone. These are excellent premises where you can meet new people, make friends, discuss various issues about raising children and their development, get some support from each other in daily family life, and get entertained as well.
The open daycare centers provide various services, activities, and entertainment for free, such as providing books and toys, cooking together, celebrations and organizing parties, excursions, and trips, gym, and exercise, singing and playing music, arts, and crafts, dancing, etc. Different organizations are also invited occasionally and they give out useful information to parents related to children’s growth. Daycare clients can pitch ideas of gatherings, discussions, and other requests and concerns. The personnel of the daycare centers is there to serve and help.
Open daycare centers usually have a Facebook page where they inform and publish weekly programs in detail. Sometimes, there are also free clubs organized and offered for small children, and even free Finnish courses for foreign parents. Some foreigners do their practical training and internship in some of these centers as this is a good way for them to practice the Finnish language, to learn more about work, and also to have fun in a happy, multicultural, and warm daycare environment. These centers have an essential role in the foreigners’ social life as these help them to integrate easier and make them feel like part of a supportive community.
These open daycare centers have different programs and services and are usually open every day of the week from 9 or 10 in the morning until 3 or 4 in the afternoon. For more detailed information on their schedules and plans, visit your local municipality web page.
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