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Estonia:Early Childhood Education and Care

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Overview Estonia

Contents

Estonia:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Estonia:Historical Development

Estonia:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Estonia:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Estonia:Political and Economic Situation

Estonia:Organisation and Governance

Estonia:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Estonia:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Estonia:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Estonia:Organisation of Private Education

Estonia:National Qualifications Framework

Estonia:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Estonia:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Estonia:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Estonia:Funding in Education

Estonia:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Estonia:Higher Education Funding

Estonia:Adult Education and Training Funding

Estonia:Early Childhood Education and Care

Estonia:Organisation

Estonia:Teaching and Learning

Estonia:Assessment

Estonia:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Estonia:Single Structure Education (Integrated Primary and Lower Secondary Education)

Estonia:Organisation of Single Structure Education

Estonia:Teaching and Learning in Single Structure Education

Estonia:Assessment in Single Structure Education

Estonia:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Single Structure Education

Estonia:Upper Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Estonia:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Estonia:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Estonia:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Estonia:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Estonia:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Estonia:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Estonia:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Estonia:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Estonia:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Estonia:Higher Education

Estonia:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Estonia:First Cycle Programmes

Estonia:Bachelor

Estonia:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Estonia:Second Cycle Programmes

Estonia:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Estonia:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Estonia:Adult Education and Training

Estonia:Distribution of Responsibilities

Estonia:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Estonia:Main Providers

Estonia:Main Types of Provision

Estonia:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Estonia:Teachers and Education Staff

Estonia:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Estonia:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Estonia:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Estonia:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Estonia:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Estonia:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Estonia:Management and Other Education Staff

Estonia:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Estonia:Management Staff for Higher Education

Estonia:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Estonia:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Estonia:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Estonia:Quality Assurance

Estonia:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Estonia:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Estonia:Educational Support and Guidance

Estonia:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Estonia:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Estonia:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Estonia:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Estonia:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Estonia:Mobility and Internationalisation

Estonia:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Mobility in Higher Education

Estonia:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Estonia:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Estonia:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Estonia:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Estonia:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Estonia:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Estonia:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Estonia:National Reforms in School Education

Estonia:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Estonia:National Reforms in Higher Education

Estonia:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Estonia:European Perspective

Estonia:Legislation

Estonia:Glossary

According to the Education Act, preschool education is a system of knowledge, skills, experience and behavioural norms which creates the prerequisites for succeeding in everyday life and at school. According to the Preschool Child Care Institutions Act, preschool child care institutions are educational institutions for preschool children offering day care as well as possibilities to acquire preschool education. A child care institution supports the family of a child and promotes the growth and development of the child and his or her individuality. It is not obligatory to attend a preschool child care institution. Local governments are obliged to provide all children aged from 1.5 to 7 years permanently residing in their catchment area with the opportunity to attend a preschool child care institution in the catchment area if the parents so wish. This obligation includes children with physical, speech, sensual or intellectual disabilities or those who need special help or special care (children with special educational needs). For children with special needs, conditions will be created for learning in integration groups together with other children. If there are no possibilities to establish an integration group in a local children's institution, the local municipality or city government creates special groups or establishes special preschools.

The basis of organisation of teaching and learning  is the curriculum of the preschool child care institution, which is in accordance with the national curriculum for preschool child care institutions approved with a decree of the Government of the Republic.

The general objectives of the ECEC are presented in the Child Protection Act, the Preschool Child Care Institutions Act and the national curriculum for preschool child care institutions; specific objectives and activities are laid down in the Lifelong learning strategy 2020.

The Child Protection Act of the Republic of Estonia establishes that every child has the right for education, which develops the child's mental and physical abilities and forms an integrated personality. Instruction must not involve physical violence or mental abuse, be ideologically biased or promote hate or violence. Instruction must focus on the individual, take into consideration the differences between sexes and be based on the recognition of students' achievements.

The Preschool Child Care Institutions Act establishes the two main functions of a preschool child care institution:

  • to create possibilities and conditions for the formation of a healthy personality who is socially and mentally alert, self-confident and considerate of others and who values the environment;
  • to maintain and strengthen the health of the child, and to promote his or her emotional, moral, social, mental and physical development.

At the same time, the age, sex and individual needs and characteristics of each child should be taken into consideration.

According to the national curriculum for preschool child care institutions, the common objective of teaching and learning is versatile and consistent development of children in cooperation between home and preschool child care institutions. Based on the common objective, teaching and learning fosters the physical, mental, social and emotional development of children as a result of which the children develop a comprehensive and positive self-image, understanding of the surrounding environment, ethical behaviour and initiative, basic working habits, physical activity and understanding of the importance of taking care of one’s health, and play, learning, social and self-management skills develop.

Deriving from the Estonian Lifelong Learning Strategy 2020, flexible opportunities need to be developed for all children to participate in preschool education at least one year before starting school, so that parents could be confident of the child’s readiness for school. In order to achieve this, the local governments will create an appropriate number of child care and preschool places to ensure fulfilment of the objectives of preschool curricula. At the preschool education level, each learner’s individual and social development, learning skills, creativity and entrepreneurship are supported. The assessment and remuneration of teachers and directors of preschools are consistent with the qualification requirements for these jobs and the work-related performance. Modern learning resources, including digital technology, are used for teaching and learning in preschools.   

The Preschool Child Care Institutions Act regulates issues related to the organisation of preschool education but some aspects of the latter are regulated also by the Child Protection Act of the Republic of Estonia and the Education Act of the Republic of Estonia. There are also links with the Private Schools Act.

The national curriculum for pre-school child care institutions establishes the principles of preparation of a children’s institution’s own curriculum, the objectives, principles and organisation of teaching and learning, the presumed general skills of children aged 6–7, the objectives and content of teaching and learning of different fields, the presumed results of a child’s development at the age 6–7 and the principles of evaluation of a child’s development.

Proceeding from the Government Regulation “Health protection requirements for the buildings, premises, furnishings, internal climate and maintenance of preschool child care institutions”, a child care institution is required to have safe and secured buildings, premises, furnishings and land which are suitable for providing preschool education and care for children.   Requirements for health promotion activities and daily schedules of preschool child care institutions are established by a decree of the Minister of Social Affairs “Health protection requirements for the health promotion activities and daily schedules of preschool child care institutions”. Requirements for catering of children in preschool child care institutions have been established by the regulation of the Minister of Social Affairs “Health Protection Requirements for catering at preschool child care institutions and schools”.


Legislative References

Education Act

National curriculum for preschool child care institutions

Child Protection Act

Preschool Child Care Institutions Act

Private Schools Act

Estonian Lifelong Learning Strategy 2020

Health protection requirements for the buildings, premises, furnishings, internal climate and maintenance of preschool child care institutions

Health protection requirements for the health promotion activities and daily schedules of preschool child care institutions

Health protection requirements for catering at pre-school child care institutions and schools

Minimum required staff of pre-school child care institutions