Finnish municipalities are obliged to provide all children with pre-school education during the year preceding the start of their compulsory education. Pre-school education is voluntary. The child’s participation is decided by the parents. Pre-school education is free of charge and can be provided at schools and day care centres.
The purpose of pre-school education is to prepare children for school in various ways. The content and aims of pre-school education are laid down in the National Core Curriculum. A child retains his or her subjective right to day-care while participating in pre-school education.
Pre-school education aims to enhance the child’s potential for development and learning in cooperation with his or her parents/custodians. This will also enhance the child’s social skills and develop healthy self-esteem through play and positive learning experiences. The minimum extent of pre-school education is 700 hours per year, with an average of four hours per day. The Ministry recommends that a pre-school teaching group in the care of a single teacher may contain at maximum 13 children, while a group with two qualified teachers may have 20 children.