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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 we have an urgent need for early childhood education for my child. Is submitting an online application the best option for me?
If you have an unforeseen need for care for your child, you must first submit an online application, then provide proof of the unforeseen reason or contact the Service guidance for early childhood education, if necessary. Please note that we do not process applications as urgent, and the need for early childhood education due to an unforeseen reason must be proven.  The minimum time required to arrange a place is two weeks, if your case meets the criteria of an unforeseen reason. In this case, be prepared that the daycare centre might be located further away from your home address.

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?
Education Division’s customer service can tell you about the application process at a general level. Service counsellors 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 pedagogical basis for each activity period. There 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 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: Evening and round-the-clock care.

I work shifts. How can I arrange early childhood education for my child in the evening and at weekends?
Your child can receive a place at an evening and round-the-clock care centre, if the guardians who live with the child provide proof of 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. Whom 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 a service counsellor at the Service guidance unit for early childhood education based on grounds for receiving a place set by the Education committee and its subcommittees.

If my child has days off from early childhood education 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 centre, 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 a private care support. Private early childhood education is often more expensive than the municipal service.

On what basis are children selected for the Swedish-language immersion?
Learn more about the Swedish-language immersion here: Early childhood education in Swedish.

Are there any pedagogical focus points at daycare centres?
The City’s daycare centres follow Helsinki’s early childhood education plan, while pre-primary education follows the national curriculum for pre-primary education and the educational goals set in the City’s strategy. Based on these, daycare centres and other locations of early childhood education create action plans that provide more information about their pedagogical focus points.

Can children get instruction in their mother tongue, if their mother tongue is other than Finnish, Swedish or Sami
There is no mother tongue instruction available in early childhood education or pre-primary education. There are, however some bilingual options in pre-primary education run by the city of Helsinki, and plenty of options in private pre-primary and early childhood education. Learn more about the options: Early childhood education in different languages (0– 5 year olds) and Pre-primary education in different languages (5–6 year olds).

How can I apply for early childhood education if I am in the process of moving to Helsinki soon, but I do not know where my family will move yet?
You should submit an application at least four months before your child needs care, and apply to any location and any form of early childhood education on Asti. You can then edit your application until the stated due date.

Can a family not residing in Helsinki receive a place for a few months when the family is staying in Helsinki due to the guardian'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 we visit a daycare centre before applying?
Unfortunately not. Playgrounds arrange introductory events for new families in February, April and September. See schedules for the events on the Service guidance for early childhood education website.

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 1–2 months before the start of early childhood education.

Will I have better chances of getting a place, if I send several applications to each locations of early childhood education in my district?
No, you will not. You can submit only one application on Asti, and add up to three different locations as your preferences.

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 can edit your application on Asti until the state due date.

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 offered place in early childhood education?
You cannot postpone accepting an offered place. You should accept the place according to the instructions on the decision letter. If you choose to reject the place, you should submit a new application. The processing time of a new application is four months.

How much does early childhood education in Helsinki cost?
Please see the Early childhood education fees page on our website.

At what time should my child arrive at the daycare centre 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 centre’s staff in order to take the child’s play group and social activities into consideration while planning the schedules.

Can I change the start date of early childhood education?
You can edit your application on Asti until the state due date.



When child is in early childhood education

I want to change the length of my child’s day at early childhood education. Whom should I contact?
You should discuss the changes with the daycare centre manager or the family daycare organiser, who can make the necessary changes on the Asti online service. 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. Whom should I contact?
You can contact the Education Division’s early childhood education fees unit directly. Please see contact information of the financial secretary responsible for invoicing in the payment decision. The customer service is open Mon–Fri 9 am–11 am. You can also get in touch by email at varhaiskasvatus.maksut@hel.fi.

We are moving to Helsinki from Espoo/Vantaa/Kauniainen. Will our child lose their early childhood education 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 Capital Region 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. Round-the-clock care in the previous municipality ends when the child moves to another municipality.


How can I suspend or terminate my child’s early childhood education?
See further information on the page Suspending or ending early childhood education.

How can I cancel my child’s place in early childhood education?
Let the early childhood education location's manager know about your wish to cancel the 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 guardians. Naptime routines and little moments of rest help the child calm down and recharge. Napping is, therefore, recommended, but 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 (the page is in Finnish).

How do school holidays affect the operating times of daycare centres?
Some of the daycare centres and family daycare locations are closed for school holidays, as a large proportion of the children and staff members are on holiday. Early childhood education can, however, be arranged in some locations that stay open in accordance with the families’ needs.

When can I submit a transfer application?
You can submit a transfer application in two-week’s time after accepting the offered place.



28.10.2021 14:48