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Pre-primary education in Finland

Updated: Sep 29, 2022

Pre-primary, preschool, or esikoulu in the local language is part of the basic education system in Finland. It’s a free education system financed by taxes collected by the government. Primary education is compulsory starting from six (pre-primary) and lasts for ten years. There’s an option to be homeschooled at preschool if accepted and qualified. Most schools are public, and children attend municipal schools near their homes. Everyone has equal opportunities and gets the same treatment in schools.

Free for the participants

School materials such as books, pencils, papers, etc., are given to children as part of the program. Healthy and nutritious meals for lunches and snacks are also complimentary. Sometimes, there is a message from school to bring a small snack for kids, usually when kids are going to a special event or younger kids who have a long day in school. More youthful kids in Finland are used to six meals a day: breakfast, morning snack, lunch, day snack, dinner, and evening snack.

Near your home

Preschool is 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. It is usually the case for mothers who organize 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. Parents can apply for public transportation if they live in a secluded area.

Learning through the play method

The aim is to teach children according to their age and abilities and let them have the basic skills and capabilities. They usually do craft projects to learn about their environment and society and develop their basic skills to become independent students. There are no tests and no ranking policies in the primary school system. The teachers are involved in planning the curriculum for the students.

Short school days

Education usually starts early in the morning and ends at noon. The preschooler has only about four hours in school per day and 20 hours per week. 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. It is a very convenient option for parents who work or study.

Updated 15.4.2022


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