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Esiopetus
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Preschool education

According to the law, children must attend preschool education or other similar activities for one year before compulsory education begins. Preschool education (esiopetus) prepares children for comprehensive school. Children normally enter preschool education at the age of six and comprehensive school at the age of seven.

Parents normally enrol their children in preschool education in January or February. Check the time well in advance with your local school services (koulutoimi) or education services (sivistystoimi).

Municipalities organise preschool education. Municipalities can also purchase preschool education services from private day care centres, for example.

Preschool education is free-of-charge. During the day, the child will receive a free meal. If the child lives far away (over 5 km) or the route is difficult, he or she will receive free transport.

If your child is in day care, the day care position will be retained, even if he or she attends preschool education.

Preschool day

Preschool days last about four hours. Children often attend preschool on the premises of a day care centre or school.

In preschool, children learn mathematics, environmental and natural awareness as well as art and culture. They pick up new things through play.

Parents have an important role in preschool education. They support their child’s learning. The teachers prepare an individual curriculum for each child. Parents can assist the instructors in the preparation of the plan.

Languages and cultures in preschool education

Children whose native language is something other than Finnish or Swedish will study Finnish or Swedish as a foreign language. In addition, they can study their own native language if the municipality organises such education.

In preschool, children can receive education in their own religion or in ethics.

Preschool education teaches children to value their native language and culture. They also learn to respect the languages and cultures of other people.

linkkiFinnish National Board of Education:
Information on preschool educationFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiPeda.net:
Preschool exercises onlineFinnish

linkkiMinistry of Education and Culture:
Information about preschool educationFinnish | Swedish | English