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Finland:Early Childhood Education and Care

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Overview Finland

Contents

Finland:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Finland:Historical Development

Finland:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Finland:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Finland:Political and Economic Situation

Finland:Organisation and Governance

Finland:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Finland:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Finland:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Finland:Organisation of Private Education

Finland:National Qualifications Framework

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

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

Finland:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Finland:Funding in Education

Finland:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Finland:Higher Education Funding

Finland:Adult Education and Training Funding

Finland:Early Childhood Education and Care

Finland:Organisation of early childhood education and care other than pre-primary education

Finland:Teaching and Learning in early childhood education and care other than pre-primary education

Finland:Assessment in early childhood education and care other than pre-primary education

Finland:Organisation of pre-primary education

Finland:Teaching and Learning in pre-primary education

Finland:Assessment in pre-primary education

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

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

Finland:Organisation of Single Structure Education

Finland:Teaching and Learning in Single Structure Education

Finland:Assessment in Single Structure Education

Finland:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Single Structure Education

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

Finland:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Finland:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Finland:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Finland:Organisation of Vocational and Technical Upper Secondary Education

Finland:Teaching and Learning in Vocational and Technical Upper Secondary Education

Finland:Assessment in Vocational and Technical Upper Secondary Education

Finland:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

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

Finland:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Finland:Higher Education

Finland:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Finland:First Cycle Programmes

Finland:Bachelor

Finland:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Finland:Second Cycle Programmes

Finland:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Finland:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Finland:Adult Education and Training

Finland:Distribution of Responsibilities

Finland:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Finland:Main Providers

Finland:Main Types of Provision

Finland:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Finland:Teachers and Education Staff

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

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

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

Finland:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

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

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

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

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

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

Finland:Management and Other Education Staff

Finland:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

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

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

Finland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Finland:Management Staff for Higher Education

Finland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Finland:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

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

Finland:Quality Assurance

Finland:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Finland:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Finland:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Finland:Educational Support and Guidance

Finland:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

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

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

Finland:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Finland:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Finland:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Finland:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Finland:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Finland:Mobility and Internationalisation

Finland:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Finland:Mobility in Higher Education

Finland:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

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

Finland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Finland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Finland:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Finland:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Finland:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Finland:National Reforms in School Education

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

Finland:National Reforms in Higher Education

Finland:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Finland:European Perspective

Finland:Legislation

Finland:Glossary


Early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Finland is based on an integrated approach to education and care, the so-called “educare” model. The legislation defines ECEC as a planned and goal-oriented entity of education, upbringing and care, with an emphasis on pedagogy.

 
All children under school-age are entitled to early childhood education and care should their parents so decide. Until recently regulations focused on parents’ entitlement to have to have a day care place for their children. The new ECEC Act (2015) approaches the ECEC as a right of the child

 
After the parental leave period, when the child is usually 9 or 10 months, parents have several options to choose from:

  • Municipal ECEC services
  • Private ECEC services or child care with the private child care allowance
  • One parent staying at home on care leave and child home care allowance until the youngest child turns three.


Municipal ECEC centres are the main form of ECEC services. ECEC centres gather for children from the age of 0 to the beginning of school at the age of 7. Other forms of ECEC services include family day care as well as various club and open ECEC activities organised by municipalities, local parishes and non-governmental organisations for children and their families.


Pre-primary education as part of the ECEC is the systematic education and instruction provided in the year preceding the start of compulsory education.  Pre-primary education is organised both in ECEC centres and in schools. The national core curriculum governing pre-primary education is the same regardless of the setting. The majority of children attend pre-primary education in ECEC centres. 


Pre-primary education became mandatory in August 2015. The majority of children in pre-primary education are also enrolled in other early childhood education and care because most parents work full-time and the scope of pre-primary education is approximately 4 hours a day.


Early childhood education and care, pre-primary education and primary education form a continuum supporting a child’s development and learning.


The Ministry of Education and Culture has the overall responsibility for early childhood education and care including pre-primary education. The Finnish National Agency for Education is the national expert agency responsible for the development of ECEC and pre-primary education. It issues the national core curricula on the basis of which municipalities and other providers prepare the local curricula.


Municipalities have a statutory duty to provide ECEC services and pre-primary education according to the local need. Families pay fees for ECEC that in full-day provision vary between 0 – 290 € depending on the size and income of the family. In private ECEC fees are usually higher. Pre-primary education of six-year-olds is provided free of charge. 


The ECEC staff responsible for children is required to have appropriate training. One in three in ECEC centres must have a higher education degree. The minimum requirement for a kindergarten teacher is a Bachelor degree in Education or in Social Science. Other staff in ECEC centres is expected to have at least a vocational upper-secondary qualification in the field of social welfare and health care. Also family child minders working in family day care are expected to have suitable education. The competence based Qualification for Family Child Minders is recommended. Pre-primary education is given either by a kindergarten teacher (Bachelor or Master of Education) or a class teacher (Master of Education).  </div></div> Act on Early Childhood Education and Care (36/1973)

Decree on Children’s Day Care (239/1973)

Basic Education Act (628/1998)

Basic Education Decree (852/1998)

National Curriculum Guidelines on Early Childhood Education and Care in Finland (2003, rev. 2005)

National Core Curriculum for Early Childhood Education and Care (2016, to be implemented from August 2017)

National Core Curriculum for Pre-Primary Education 2014