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Every child in Finland has the same educational starting point

Ministry of Education and Culture
Publication date 12.1.2015 11.02
News item

Finnish children are now obliged by law to be taught before entering primary school . The new preschool education law came into effect on 1 January. Previously, preschool education was the child’s prerogative in Finland.

In Finland a majority (98%) of young children already attend preschool. Only some 1,500 children skip preschool and begin their formal education in primary school. The most common reason for not attending preschool are that the daycare centre does not provide teaching or that the family of the young child has lived abroad.

It is up to local authorities to decide if pre-primary education takes place in a school or in a day-care center, a family day care place or other appropriate place. Pre-primary education may also be offered by private basic education providers.

Pre-primary education is available free of charge. Pre-primary pupils who live over five kilometres from school or or the route is otherwise dangerous are entitled to free school transportation. Children are entitled also to a day-care place. In day care, there is an income-based fee.

Curriculum for pre-primary education

Pre-primary education lays emphasis on the preparation for school. The national core curriculum for pre-primary education is determined by the Finnish National Board of Education.

The minimum requirements for the organisation of time in pre-primary education are provided by the Basic Education Decree. Each pre-primary education provider decides on the timetables of pre-primary education and other practical arrangements.

Pre-primary instructors have either a kindergarten teacher or class teacher qualification.