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Frequently asked questions about early childhood education


Before applying for early childhood education 

I have recently been employed or received a study place, and the need for early childhood education for my child is urgent. Is submitting an online application the best option for me?
If your child has an urgent need for care, you must first submit an online application and then contact the manager of the daycare unit or the family daycare supervisor directly. For Finnish and North Sami (daycare Susanna) early childhood education, applications must be submitted on the City of Helsinki E-Services. For Swedish early childhood education, applications are submitted on the City of Helsinki’s Online Service for Education and Learning (ASTI) from 12.8.2020 onwards.

The minimum time required to arrange a place is two weeks. Please note that in urgent cases, the distance between your home and the daycare unit might be longer. Generally, the processing time for an application is four months.

I am planning to find employment/start studies, but I do not know the exact start date yet. What should I do to secure a place for my child in the early childhood education?
The family should prepare for any future employments or studies well in advance, and apply for a daycare place as early as possible, e.g. when planning to start working or studying (four months before the need for care). An early childhood education application can be cancelled or edited before receiving a place.

I would like to know whether there are places available in a certain early childhood education district. Should I call the Early Childhood Education Customer Service?
Service advisors can tell you about the application process at a general level. The managers of daycare units are responsible for the application processes’ schedule and can tell you more about the available places.

What date should I enter on the application to maximise my chances of receiving a place?
You must enter the exact date your child’s need for care begins. There is a peak in available places in August when an older age group starts comprehensive school.

What are the child groups at daycare centres like? How many children are there in a group?
The groups are formed on a pedagogical basis for each activity period. There are 7 children over the age of three, and 4 children under the age of three per one employee.

What are the opening hours of daycare centres?
All daycare centres of the City of Helsinki are open from 6.15 am to 5.30 pm. Additionally, there are daycare 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, you can. Please remember to cancel the other application as soon as possible once you have received a decision and have decided to accept it.

I wish to make an appointment for an interview to meet with the municipality’s approval for a private caregiver for the family. Who should I contact?
We recommend that the caregiver books the appointment. An appointment can be made by contacting the Education Division’s customer service between 10 am and 12 noon or between 1 pm and 3 pm by phone on +358 (0)9 3104 4986. A Finnish-speaking caregiver can attend the interview unaccompanied. If necessary, the family hiring the caregiver can join the interview as interpreters. The caregiver must present a contract of employment, a filled-out copy of the WH2 form from Kela and a personal ID.

On what basis are places allocated? Who decides who gets which place?
All applications are processed at a regional allocation meeting, and the decisions are made by the manager of the daycare unit based on criteria set by the committee.

If my child has days off on weekdays, can we get a place more easily?
Days off on weekdays do not affect the chances of receiving a place.

My child goes to a private daycare, which is closed in the summer. By what time must I apply for a place at a municipal daycare centre for the summer?
You can apply for temporary care at a municipal daycare centre. A daily rate is charged for the temporary care. Majority of the municipal daycare centres are closed in July, so we recommend you to enquire about a place by the end of April at the latest.

How much does early childhood education cost at a private daycare centre?
The private service provider makes a care agreement with the family, agreeing on the payment and other practicalities. 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 the Swedish language immersion?
Please find more information on Swedish language immersion on the City of Helsinki’s website.

Are there any pedagogical focus points at daycare centres?
The City’s daycare centres follow Helsinki’s early childhood education plan, while preschool education follows the preschool education curriculum and the educational goals set in the City’s strategy. Based on these, early childhood education units create action plans that provide information about any focus points.

How can we apply for both Finnish and Swedish early education?
Families applying for both Finnish and Swedish early childhood education with a Finnish daycare option as their first option, submit an application on the City of Helsinki’s E-Services.

If the first daycare option is a Finnish daycare, a guardian must inform the daycare unit’s manager about the family’s other Swedish daycare options.

If the family’s first daycare option is a Swedish daycare, an application must be submitted on ASTI Online Service for Education and Learning. A guardian should then contact the Swedish daycare unit’s manager about the family’s other Finnish daycare options.

Can children whose native language is any other than Finnish/Swedish/Sami receive teaching in their first language at daycare centres?
There is no foreign language teaching available in preschool and early childhood education.

How can I apply for early childhood education if I am in the process of moving to Helsinki, but I do not know which district my family will move yet?
You must submit an application at least four months before your child needs care, and the preferred early childhood education district is required in the application. You can update your application by contacting the manager of the daycare unit 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 parent’s work, but will not stay as permanent residents?
Yes, if the family’s home address is in Helsinki and the family have applied for a place in good time.

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

Can I receive a decision on early childhood education if I have a Poste restante address?
You cannot receive a decision if you have a Poste restate 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.

I wish to make changes to my child’s early childhood application, such as 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 daycare centre that you entered as your first choice or the family daycare organiser can make the necessary changes in the customer information system. You can contact the manager of the daycare centre or the family daycare organiser by phone or email. There can only be one valid application in the system at a time.

Why was my child allocated a place at a different daycare centre than the one we applied for?
There were not enough places available at the daycare centre you applied for, or the number of applications exceed the capacity of the daycare centre you applied for.

Can I postpone accepting an allocated place in early childhood education?
Accepting an allocated place cannot be postponed. The place must be accepted in accordance with the guidelines. If the family chooses to reject the place, they must submit a new application. The processing time of a new application is four months.

How much does early childhood education in Helsinki cost?
Please read more about Daycare fees on the City of Helsinki website.

At what time should my child arrive at daycare in the morning?
This depends on the daily schedule of the child and the family. We recommend that you discuss the daily schedules with the daycare staff in order to involve the child ’s play group and social activities at the daycare in the planning.

The status of my application is ‘application saved’ in the online service. Is the application submitted?
The application will not be submitted 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 a decision has not been made, you can change the start date by contacting the manager of the daycare centre. After the decision has been made, the start date cannot be changed.

When child is in early childhood education

I want to change the length of my child’s day at early childhood education. Who should I contact?
You can negotiate the changes with the daycare centre manager or the family daycare 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 change comes into effect.

I have questions about my child’s early childhood education invoice. Who should I contact?
You can contact the Education Division unit responsible for the early childhood education fees directly. Please see contact information of the financial secretary responsible for invoicing in the payment decision. The customer service is open from 9am to 11am. You can also get in touch by email at varhaiskasvatus.maksut@hel.fi.

We are moving to Helsinki from Espoo/Vantaa/Kauniainen. Will we our child’s lose their care place in our previous municipality?
Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen have an agreement on arranging early childhood education for a child when the family moves within these municipalities. Early childhood education can be arranged in the previous place of residence of until the end of the autumn semester (ending 31 December) or the spring semester (ending 30 July) following the move and until the beginning of pre-primary education.

How can I suspend or terminate my child’s early childhood education?
Parents can suspend their child's early childhood education after one semester, which is approximately four months in length. After a temporary suspension, a child can go back to the same early childhood education unit if the unit's capacity allows it. All temporary suspensions must be agreed on in advance with the early childhood education unit's manager. Similarly, a child's return to the early childhood education unit must be confirmed no later than two months before the return. Early childhood education fees will not be charged during the temporary suspension period.

The minimum lenght of a suspension is four months, and the maximum is two years + June and July.

If parents or guardians wish to terminate their child's early childhood education, they must notify the unit's manager no later than one month in advance. This way the available place can be offered to another child within the one-month notice period.

Read more about suspension and termination on our website (in Finnish).

How can I cancel my child’s place in early childhood education?
The parents must notify the care unit’s manager about their wish to cancel their child’s early childhood education at least one month in advance. This way the care unit can offer the place for another child in good time.

Children can sleep at daycare – but do they have to?
Daycare staff can discuss the daycare routines with the parents or guardians. Naptime routines and little moments of rest help the child calm down and recharge. Napping is, therefore, recommended, but parents or guardians and the staff can agree on the nap and rest routines together based on the child’s needs. See further information on naptimes and rest in Finnish.

How do school holidays affect the operating times of daycare centres?
Some of the daycare centres and family daycare 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 a family has accepted a child’s place. You cannot apply for a transfer yourself in the system, but the manager of the daycare centre can do it for you.



10.09.2020 14:38