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Early childhood education in Swedish

The City of Helsinki offers early childhood education to all children either in Finnish or Swedish. In addition, Helsinki offers a variety of early childhood education options where the child can learn Swedish as a new language. The City of Helsinki Education Division’s Finnish service department organises Swedish-language early childhood education as Swedish-language immersion, and private daycare centres have a wide range of Swedish options from which to choose.

The Education Division’s Swedish service department (page in Swedish) organises early childhood education entirely in Swedish.

Swedish-language immersion organised by the City of Helsinki

The daycare centres run by the City of Helsinki offer early childhood education as Swedish-language immersion. It is a method, in which the child learns a new language by listening and using it in daycare and later at school. The aim of the Swedish-language immersion programme is that by the end of basic education, the child has achieved strong language skills both in Swedish and in Finnish.

Language immersion path starts in the early childhood education or in pre-primary education at the age of six at the latest. It continues through comprehensive school and ends when the child finishes the basic education in the ninth grade.

In Swedish-language immersion daycare centres, staff members use only Swedish with the children. All staff members understand Finnish and use it with the guardians in everyday interactions. Children can use their mother tongue freely until they have the necessary skills to start using Swedish. Children are encouraged to start using more Swedish as their learning paths and language skills develop.

In language immersion, the child learns Swedish as part of the daily daycare centre activities through fairy tales, stories, songs, music, play and theme activities. The early childhood education staff help children understand new expressions by using gestures and images. The development of a child’s language skills is guided and supported systematically with individual early childhood education plans.

Swedish-language immersion paths

Helsinki has seven different language-immersion paths available around the city. The child follows the same path from early childhood or pre-primary education until the end of basic education. What this means in practice is that once the child finishes pre-primary education in the Swedish-language immersion daycare centre, the child starts school in the Swedish-language immersion comprehensive school of that particular language immersion path.

Swedish-language immersion daycare centres and language-immersion paths in Helsinki

Learn more about the language immersion daycare centres on their websites:

  • Daycare Linnunlaulu → Kallio Primary School  → Pasila Comprehensive School
  • Daycare Myllytonttu → Puotila Primary School → Vartiokylä Lower Secondary School
  • Daycare Elias →  Taivallahti Comprehensive School → Taivallahti Comprehensive School
  • Daycare Lokki →  Lauttasaari Primary School → Lauttasaari Comprehensive School
  • Daycare Nuotti →  Hiidenkivi Comprehensive School → Hiidenkivi Comprehensive School
  • Daycare Pihlaja →  Meilahti Primary School → Meilahti Lower Secondary School
  • Daycare Roihuvuori →  Roihuvuori Primary School → Vartiokylä Lower Secondary School
  • Daycare Ruskeasuo → Meilahti Primary School → Meilahti Lower Secondary School
  • Daycare Veräjämäki → Oulunkylä Primary School (starting in August 2022) → Lower Secondary School: To be announced later
  • Daycare Vihtori → Hiidenkivi Comprehensive School → Hiidenkivi Comprehensive School
  • Språkbadet Sälen (a private language immersion daycare centre that is part of the language immersion path network)

For example, if a child goes to Daycare Myllytonttu, the child will continue to Puotila Primary School for grades 1–6 and to Vartiokylä Lower Secondary School for grades 7–9, as illustrated in the image below.

Swedish-language immersion paths in Helsinki start from daycare and continue up to grade 9 in basic education.

In early childhood education, the daycare staff members use Swedish only. In grades 1 and 2 in basic education, 90% of the instruction is in Swedish and the children learn to read and write in Swedish. In grades 3 and 4, about 70% of the instruction is in Swedish, and in grades 5 to 9 about half of the instruction is in Swedish.

How to apply to Swedish-language immersion

It is not yet possible to apply for the Swedish-language immersion on Asti, so please fill in the paper application and send it to us according to the instructions on the form.

Find the application form here: Early childhood education application form (PDF)

  • In section 4. Need for early childhood education on the application form, choose ‘Swedish-language immersion’.

  • In section 5, list the language immersion daycare centres you wish to apply to. You can apply to up to three different daycare centres. The municipal Swedish-language immersion daycare centres are:
    • Daycare Linnunlaulu in Kallio
    • Daycare Elias in Kamppi
    • Daycare Lokki in Lauttasaari
    • Daycare Myllytonttu in Vartiokylä
    • Daycare Nuotti in Pukinmäki
    • Daycare Pihlaja in Meilahti
    • Daycare Roihuvuori in Herttoniemi
    • Daycare Ruskeasuo in Ruskeasuo
    • Daycare Veräjämäki in Oulunkylä
    • Daycare Vihtori in Puistola

  • In section 6. Other details about the child’s early childhood education, type in that your child is applying for a place in a Swedish-language immersion group.

  • Application period closes on 31 March annually, and the decisions are sent to families by the end of April.
  • You can apply to Swedish-language immersion outside the official application period. In this case, your child can get a place if there are free places in the group.
  • If the child is already in early childhood education, you can apply for a transfer to a Swedish-language immersion daycare centre.

The child can start the language immersion in the age of 4 at the earliest, and by the age of 6 at the latest. Swedish should be a new language to the child and one of the home languages should be Finnish. What is more, it is important that the family is willing to commit to the language immersion for the duration of the language immersion path, which continues until the end of the ninth grade in basic education.

If a child has siblings in Swedish-language immersion in grades 1 or 2, they are given priority in the admissions to the Swedish-language immersion. If the number of applicants exceeds the number of available places, the places are decided by drawing lots.

Options in private daycare centres

Private daycare centres in Helsinki offer many different kinds of options for Swedish-language early childhood education. Learn more about the options in the links below. Apply to a private daycare centre by contacting the daycare centre directly.

01.10.2021 17:46