Children playing.

The Finnish study path is founded on early childhood education and care

The Kuusikko working group’s publication compares the services and costs of the early childhood education and care in the six largest cities in 2019.

The report analyses the use and cost of early childhood education and care services (ECEC) within the legal framework. The ECEC services consist of the municipal ECEC services as well as the ECEC services acquired by the municipality as purchased services, provided through service vouchers and supported through private day care allowance. The ECEC services also include pre-primary education. From 2017 onwards, the Kuusikko report also includes municipal club activities, which are part of the open ECEC services.

At the end of 2019, the six largest cities had, in total, 116,480 children of the age catered for by ECEC services (10 months–6 years). That is 1.8 per cent less than the prior year. In all six cities, with the exception of Vantaa, the number of children in the ECEC age range decreased compared to the year before. At the end of 2019, the six largest cities had 34.6 per cent of all the children in the ECEC age range in Finland.

The service structure in ECEC has changed very much during the last decade. The share of children participating in early childhood education has increased in line with the national objectives and the objectives set by the EU. At the end of 2019, 77.4 per cent of the children in the ECEC age range participated in the ECEC services and 17.1 per cent received child home care allowance. The participation in ECEC services has increased by almost 10 percentage points since 2009, and, correspondingly, the share of children covered by child home care allowance has decreased by almost 8 percentage points.

The implementation of the change to the composition of staff by 2030, as required in the Act on Early Childhood Education and Care, has gradually raised and continues to raise the level of education and costs of the personnel. The six cities have also clarified the principles for forming groups, and the adoption of them, in compliance with the group-specific staffing ratio established in the Act on Early Childhood Education and Care.

Further reading:

The early childhood education and care services and costs in the six largest cities in 2019  in Finnish

The Act on Early Childhood Education and Care in Finnish

The Kuusikko working group in Finnish

Photo: Kimmo Brandt, City of Helsinki Material Bank.