In Finland children must attend pre-primary education in the year preceding the start of compulsory schooling. Pre-primary education is free of charge.
Before pre-primary education, children under school age are entitled to early childhood education and care. Compulsory schooling starts in the year when the child turns seven. Read more about pre-primary education and basic education on the pages Day care in Finland and Basic education in Finland.
Right to pre-primary education
In the year preceding the start of compulsory schooling, children who live in Finland permanently must attend one year of pre-primary education or other activities that meet the objectives of pre-primary education. The objective of pre-primary education is to improve the child’s learning ability and development. The guardian is responsible for ensuring that the child attends pre-primary education or other activities that meet the objectives of pre-primary education.
Under the law, children are entitled to receive basic education free of charge even if they do not live permanently in the municipality or the municipality is not their municipality of residence. In other words, children staying in Finland temporarily are also entitled to pre-primary education free of charge.
Read more about pre-primary education on the website of the Finnish National Agency for Education.
What language is pre-primary education provided in?
Pre-primary education can be in Finnish or Swedish, but pre-primary education in Swedish is not available in all locations. Some municipalities may also provide pre-primary education in other languages too. You can get more information on what languages are available from your municipality of residence. You can find contact details for the municipalities in Finland on the website of the Association of Finnish Municipalities.
You can read more about pre-primary education in Swedish on the website svenskskola.fi.
School meals and school transport
Children are entitled to free transport if they have to travel over five kilometres to pre-primary education or if the journey is too difficult or dangerous for the child. Read more about free transport in the Finnish National Agency for Education’s school transport guide.
All children in pre-primary education are entitled to a warm meal free of charge. If a pupil has a special diet, the pupil's diet plan, a list of prohibited foods or a doctor's certificate must be submitted to the school. If the diet is linked to a medical condition, a statement from a doctor, nutritionist or nurse is necessary. Read more about school meals on the Finnish National Agency for Education’s website.
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