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Preparatory education

Preparatory education is intended for 6–17-year-old children who do not yet speak Finnish well enough to begin their basic education. In preparatory education, the main focus is on learning Finnish and becoming familiar with the Finnish school system. An individual education plan is created for every pupil.

Preparatory education can take different forms. A child’s age determines the type of instruction they will receive. The children receive 24–26 hours of teaching a week. The aim of preparatory education is for the pupils to learn basic language skills, so that they can manage everyday situations in Finnish.

Pupils may attend preparatory education for a maximum of one calendar year. If a pupil can follow teaching in Finnish, their preparatory education may end sooner. The teacher will assess the child’s skills.

Preparatory education is also available in Swedish. Pupils can register for Swedish preparatory education by contacting a school directly.

Preparatory education for 6-year-olds

All children in Finland attend a year of pre-primary education in the year before starting primary school. Pre-primary education (sometimes called preschool) is provided in daycare centres. Preparatory education is also available in pre-primary education. It is part of the overall education and activities provided.

Learn more about preparatory education in pre-primary education in the Preparatory education in preschool education PDF.

Preparatory education for 7–8-year-olds

Children start school the year they turn seven. During the first and second year, pupils study at their own local school. Preparatory education is part of the overall education provided. When a child’s preparatory education ends, they will continue as a basic education pupil in the same teaching group.

Learn more about preparatory education in the first and second grades in the Preparatory education for children aged 7–8 PDF.


Preparatory education for 9–17-year-olds

Pupils aged 9–17 (comprehensive school grades 3–9) receive preparatory education in their own preparatory education group. Not every school has these groups. Each pupil will be assigned to a group that is either as close to their home as possible or has good transport connections. During preparatory education, the pupils will also attend other classes at their school.

Finnish is the main language of study in the preparatory education groups. In addition to Finnish, the pupils study other subjects.

If a pupil’s preparatory education group is not at their local school, the pupil will transfer to their local school once their preparatory education has ended. Alternatively, the pupil’s guardian may submit an enrolment application to the school that has been providing the preparatory education.

Learn more about preparatory education in the grades 3–9 in the Preparatory education for pupils aged 9–17 PDF.

The planning officer’s contact information

Hannaleena Maarianvaara
telephone: 09 3102 8105
valmistavaopetus@hel.fi
P.O. BOX 51300
FI-00099 City of Helsinki, Finland

Please note: Enrolment forms for preparatory education will not be processed during the summer break from June 23rd to August 1st. You can however submit your form, which will be processed on the first week of August. The new school year starts on August 11th. In urgent matters, please call +358 9 310 44986 (open Monday to Friday 10-12 and 13-15).


Learn more about comprehensive education

Introduction to school  − Information on comprehensive education in Helsinki for families who have moved to Finland

Bekanta dig med skolan − Information om grundskolan i Helsingfors för familjer som flyttat till Finland

О финской школе −Информация о школьном образовании в Хельсинки для семей, переехавших в Финляндию

Baro dugsiga −Macluumaad ku saabsan dugsiga hoose-dhexe ee reer Helsinki oo loogu talagalay qoysaska dalka u soo guuray

التعرف على المدرسة معلومات عن مدرسة مرحلة التعليم األساسي ُ في هلسنكي إلى العائالت المنتقلة إلى فنلندا


Frequently asked questions about preparatory education

Go to the Frequently asked questions about preparatory education page.



23.06.2021 16:35