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Frequently asked questions

Early childhood education

Before applying for early childhood education 

I have found work or have been accepted into an educational institution, and I have an urgent need for a place in early childhood education. Should I submit an electronic early childhood education application? 
If you have an urgent need for care, you must first submit an electronic application and then contact the manager of the day care centre or the family day care organiser. The minimum time required to arrange a place is two weeks. You should prepare for a longer transport distance than usual. As a general rule, the processing time for an application is four months.

What should I do to receive a place in early childhood education when I am planning to find employment/begin studies, but I do not know the exact starting date?
The family must prepare for the possibility of receiving a job or a study place, i.e. apply for a place in early childhood education when planning for work or studies (four months before the need arises). The place can be cancelled and the application can be modified before receiving a place.

I would like to know whether there are places available in a certain early childhood education region. Should I call the service advice department?
Service advisors can tell you about the application process in general terms. The managers of day care centres are responsible for the application processing schedule and can tell you about the situation regarding available places.

What date should I enter on the application to maximise my chances of receiving a place?
You must enter a date corresponding with your need for early childhood education. The largest increase in available places occurs in August as one age group begins comprehensive school.
What are the child groups at day care centres like? How many children are in one group? 
The child groups are formed for each activity period on a pedagogical basis. The ratios used are seven children over the age of three and four children under the age of three per one employee.
What are the opening hours of day care centres? 
All day care centres of the City of Helsinki provide care from 6.15 to 17.30. Additionally, there are day care centres providing care in the evening and round-the-clock in Helsinki. You can find information about the units providing evening and round-the-clock care on the website of the City of Helsinki.
I work shifts. How can I arrange early childhood education for my child in the evening and at weekends? 
Your family can receive a place at an evening and round-the-clock care centre, if both parents present a certificate of their shift work or evening studies.
Can I apply for municipal and private early childhood education at the same time?
Yes. Please remember to cancel the other application as soon as possible when you receive the place of your choosing.

I wish to make an appointment for an interview to obtain the municipality’s approval for a private carer for the family. Who should I contact? 
The carer should make the appointment. The appointment can be made through the service advice department from 10.00 to 12.00 and 13.00 to 15.00 by calling +358 (0)9 3104 4986. A Finnish-speaking carer can come for the interview alone. If necessary, the family hiring the carer can come along to act as interpreters. The carer must present an employment agreement, a filled out copy of the WH2 form from Kela and personal ID.
On what basis are places assigned? Who decides who gets which place?
All applications are processed at a regional placement meeting, and the decisions are made by the manager of the day care centre based on criteria set by the committee.
If my child has days off on weekdays, can I get a place more easily?
Days off on weekdays do not affect the chances of receiving a place.

My child goes to a private day care centre that is closed in summer. By what time must I apply for a place at a day care centre operated by the City for the summer? 
You can apply for temporary care at a municipal day care centre for the daily rate for a temporary place. A large proportion of the municipal day care centres are also closed in July, and you should enquire about a place by the end of April at the latest.

How much does early childhood education cost at a private day care centre?
The private service producer makes a care agreement with the family, agreeing on the payment and other practices. The municipality supports the payment with support for private care. Private early childhood education is often more expensive than a municipal service.
On what basis are children selected for language immersion?
See Language immersion

Are there any pedagogical focus points at day care centres?
The City’s day care centres follow Helsinki’s early childhood education plan, while preschool education follows the preschool education curriculum and the goals arising from the City’s strategy. Based on these, early childhood education units create action plans that provide information about any focus points.
Can children whose native language is not Finnish/Swedish/Sami receive teaching of their own language at day care centres?  
There is no foreign language teaching in preschool and early childhood education.

How can I apply for early childhood education if I am going to move to Helsinki but do not yet know what my residential area will be? 
You must submit an application at least four months before the need for care in one of the early childhood education regions arises. You can update your application by contacting the manager of the day care centre once your new address has been confirmed.
Can a family not residing in Helsinki receive a place for a few months when the family is staying in Helsinki due to the father’s work, but will not stay as permanent residents? 
Yes, if the living address is in Helsinki and the family have applied for a place in good time.

Can day care centres be visited before applying for one? 
You can agree on a visit with the manager of each day care centre.

Can I receive a decision on early childhood education if I have a Poste restante address? 

After submitting an application 

When will I receive the decision on early childhood education? 
Approximately one month before the beginning of the early childhood education.

Can I ensure that my child receives a place in early childhood education by submitting several applications for all of the places in the region?
No. Submitting several application forms creates additional paperwork and slows down the processing of the application. One application is enough.

I wish to make changes to my child’s early childhood application, e.g. change the care time from seven to five hours. What should I do? 
You cannot make changes to an electronically submitted application yourself. The manager of the day care centre that you entered as your first choice or the family day care organiser can make the necessary changes in the customer information system. You can contact the manager of the day care centre or the family day care organiser by telephone or e-mail. There can only be one valid application in the system at a time.
Why was my child assigned a place at a different day care centre to the one we applied for?
There were more applications than available places at the day care centre of your choosing.

Where can I receive information about postponing the receipt of a place in early childhood education? 
Receipt of a decision cannot be postponed. The place must be accepted in accordance with the application. If the family chooses to reject the place, they must submit a new application, the processing time of which is four months.
How much does early childhood education cost? 
The client fee information can be found on the website of the City of Helsinki.

At what time should my child arrive at the day care centre in the morning? 
In accordance with the daily schedule of the child and the family. You should assess the situation together with the group staff from the perspective of the child’s play community.
The status of my application is ‘application saved’ in the electronic service. Has the application been sent? 
The application will not be sent until you click on the send button. You will receive a confirmation message when the application has been sent successfully.

Can I change the start date of early childhood education?
If no decision has been made, you can change the start date by contacting the manager of the day care centre. After the decision has been made, the start date cannot be changed.

When your child is already receiving early childhood education 

I want to change the duration of my child’s early childhood education days. Who should I contact?
You can negotiate on the changes with the manager of the day care centre or the family day care organiser, who can make the necessary changes in the customer information system. You should discuss the changes in good time, at least one month before the desired change.
I have questions about my child’s early childhood education invoice. Who should I contact?
You can contact the division unit responsible for the early childhood education fees directly. The contact information of the financial secretary responsible for invoicing is given in the payment decision. The service hours are from 9.00 to 11.00. You can also send an e-mail to
We are about to move to Helsinki from Espoo/Vantaa/Kauniainen. Will we lose our child’s care place in our old place of residence?
Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen have agreed on arranging early childhood education when the family of a child receiving early childhood education moves to another municipality covered by the agreement. Early childhood education can be arranged in the former place of residence until the end of the autumn semester (ending on 31 December) or the spring semester (ending on 30 July) following the move and until the beginning of preschool education.
How can I interrupt my child’s early childhood education?
See the website (in Finnish)

How can I terminate my child’s place in early childhood education?
The parents must notify the supervisor of the unit that they wish to terminate early childhood education at least one month in advance. This makes it possible to provide a place for the next child one month before the need for early childhood education.

Children can sleep at day care centres – but do they have to?
See napping the rest (in Finnish)

How do school holidays affect the operating times of day care centres?  
Some of the day care centres and family day care units are closed for school holidays, as a large proportion of the children and staff members are on holiday. Early childhood education can be arranged in accordance with families’ needs.
When can I submit a transfer application?
You can submit a transfer application after your family have accepted a place. You cannot apply for a transfer yourself through the service file, but the manager of the day care centre can do it for you.

Preschool education

Before applying for preschool education 

Can I apply for a place in preschool education for my child in areas that are not close to my home? 
Children are primarily assigned a place in preschool education in the preschool education admission area of their own residential area. If there are available places at a preschool after all local applicants have been placed, applicants from other admission areas can be accepted as well.
Can a child who has moved to Finland receive teaching of the Finnish language before the beginning of preschool education? 
Children learn the Finnish language when playing and interacting with other children. The staff will support the child’s language learning in many ways.
Can a child attend preparatory preschool education if the mother speaks a foreign language and the father is Finnish? 
Preparatory preschool education is intended for children in preschool education to whom Finnish is a new language. Preparatory preschool education reinforces the child’s Finnish skills before school begins. In practice, the child is registered for preschool education and a place in preparatory preschool education is applied for at the same time.  

After submitting an application 

When will I receive information about the preschool education place? 
Families will receive an electronic decision in the service file in late March or early April. 

When your child is already receiving preschool education

Is my child given breakfast in preschool education?

What are the free-of-charge preschool education times at day care centres? 
Usually from 8.30 to 12.30 or from 9.00 to 13.00.

03.04.2020 13:08