Daycare is available in Finland for small children in daycare centres and family daycare. Children aged six can attend preschool teaching, which is arranged in daycare centres and comprehensive schools. Comprehensive school usually starts in the year children turn seven. After comprehensive school, pupils go to upper secondary school. From there they can continue to vocational or high schools.
Daycare centres and schools include both public and private providers. Public daycare providers generally have lower costs, while fees for private providers are higher. Applying for a place for the child well in advance is recommended. One can get a private daycare allowance from Kela when living in Finland permanently. The public sector cannot provide daycare in certain languages, but there are several private providers that do.
Language-oriented daycare centres
There are several private international schools in the capital area. All the English schools have entrance examinations to make sure children can follow the teaching. The International School of Helsinki is a private school and the costs are approximately 20,000 euros per student per year. The school follows the IB standard and educational plan. It is located in Ruoholahti.
The European School in Helsinki’s city centre is available for English speakers. However, each student must learn French from the third grade onwards. The school follows the Finnish curriculum and Finnish studies are obligatory.
Information on daycare and schools:
• Early childhood education in Finland (InfoFinland.fi)
• Education in Helsinki (InfoFinland.fi)
• Daycare in Helsinki (City of Helsinki, hel.fi)
• Childcare and education in Espoo (City of Espoo, espoo.fi)
Tertiary education is provided by vocational institutes, universities and universities of applied sciences. Admission is based on an application procedure.
Many options for non-degree studies are available. Providers of these studies include open universities or open universities of applied sciences, summer universities, and adult education centres. Studies are usually subject to a fee. Finnish language courses are offered by a range of providers.
Finland offers free prenatal care for families and nearly a year of paid family leave when the child is born. Affordable childcare makes it easier for parents to combine work and family life. In Finland, equality between parents is valued. 80% of fathers take paternity leave. Paid family leave is guaranteed by law – and encouraged. A parent can have parental leave or work part-time until the child is three years old. A parent is also entitled to take a temporary paid leave of absence to care for a child under 10 years of age in case of the child’s sudden illness.
Family life in Helsinki (InfoFinland.fi)