Pre-primary, preschool, or esikoulu in the local language is part of the basic education system in Finland. The basic education is compulsory starting from the age of six (pre-primary) and lasts for ten years. There's an option to be homeschooled at preschool if accepted and qualified. Most of the schools are public and children attend municipal schools near their homes. It's a free education system financed by taxes collected by the government. Everyone has equal opportunities and gets the same treatment in schools.
Free for the participants
School materials such as books, pencils, papers, etc. used in schools are free. Healthy and nutritious meals for lunches and snacks are also free. Nowadays, children with special dietary requirements are also considered so the parents no longer need to stress out in packing separate meals for their children. The kitchen personnel have a copy of everyone’s special diet.
Near your home
Preschool is usually organized within the daycares or school premises. Some parents can opt for their children to be homeschooled if qualified and accepted by the government or municipality. This is usually the case for mothers who organized a small daycare at home, and their kids are in preschool, or when the school is new and still needs a few years to be certified by the municipality. If you live in a secluded area, parents can apply for public transportation.
Learning through play method
The aim is to teach children in accordance to their age and abilities and let them have the basic skills and capabilities. They usually do craft projects where they learn about their environment and the society, and develop their basic skills to become independent students. This is why there are no tests and no ranking policy in the primary school system. The teachers are involved in planning the curriculum for the students.
Short school days
The preschooler has only about four hours in school per day and 20 hours per week. Education usually starts early in the morning and ends at noon. After the pre-primary education, your child can stay for paid daycare, where you can also choose how many hours of care your child needs. The fees depend on your household income. This is very convenient option for parents who work or study.