Childhood education and care begins in Finland at a very young age.
Assessments start when kids are infants and, if necessary, are given remediation assistance until the age of seven (7), when they enter school.
From the age of eight months, all children have access to free full day care. Children can attend various centers, smaller family day care groups, or at private homes—all of which charge fees related to income of the family. The cost of day care is at most a few hundred dollars a month.
Although preschool is optional, most parents choose to send their children there because many parents work outside the home.
Finland believes that it is the child’s right to have day care and preschool. These are not places where children are left when a parent is working. These are places for children to play and learn how to make friends.
In kindergarten, the focus is on how to learn. Instead of formal instruction in reading and math, there are lessons on nature, animals, and “the circle of life.”
The adult–child ratio in day care centers is 1-4 for children under 3 years and 1-7 for 3 to 6 year olds.
All day-care staff have at least a secondary level degree and 1 in 3 holds a post-secondary level degree. Primary school teachers all have master’s degrees.
Finish primary school teachers have an unusual level of autonomy over the curriculum. They may choose their own materials as long they adhere to the core national curriculum.