Role of Regional State Administrative Agencies in early education 

The responsibilities of Regional State Administrative Agencies in early education are  

The well-being at work of early education professionals is overseen by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

Frequently asked questions

Early education refers to a systematic and target-oriented system for raising, teaching and caring for children with emphasis on pedagogy. 

Early education services are provided in nurseries, home daycares and open early education. 

In addition to pre-school, children are also entitled to complementary early education. 

Early education is governed by Act on Early Childhood Education and Care and the curriculum of early education is governed by The curriculum for early childhood education and care

More information is available on the websites of the Finnish National Agency for Education and the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Before the child's compulsory education begins, the child is entitled to early childhood education and care (considering the prerequisites mentioned in the Act) which complements early childhood education and care or pre-primary education.

Act on Early Childhood Education and Care 540/2018, section 12
 
Find more information on the website of the Ministry of Education and Culture:  
https://okm.fi/varhaiskasvatus-ukk 

Local authorities must provide early education services in the extent and formats suitable for the area’s needs.  

A local authority or a joint authority may provide early education services by itself or buy services from another service provider. The services can be purchased with a service voucher.  

Private service providers must register their early education centre.

Private early education refers to commercial early education services provided for a fee. The service provider can be a company founded by an individual, organisation, foundation or a public entity. 

Private service providers must register as an early education service provider in writing before they can start operating or before any significant changes are made. The registration must be submitted to the body or official designated by the local authority.

Nurseries employ teachers in early childhood education and care, social pedagogues in early childhood education and care, childcarers in early childhood education and care, special education teachers in early childhood education and care and the head of early education centre.  

There are also personnel with no job titles or qualifications governed by legislation who work in nurseries, such as assistants and kitchen staff members. Family daycare childminder is also a legally defined ob title.

The day-care centre has staff in upbringing, education and care tasks. They have the vocational qualifications of a teacher of early childhood education and care, a Bachelor of social services in early childhood education and care or a childcarer in early childhood education and care. 

Considering the age of the children and the time they spend in early childhood education and care, one employee may be responsible for the following number of children: 

  • 7 children over 3 years of age for more than 5 hours per day OR 
  • 13 children over 3 years of age up to 5 hours per day OR 
  • 4 children under 3 years old.

If the group includes children both over and under 3, it is taken into account in the number of employees. 

You can find more information on the number of staff members in the monitoring programme for early childhood education and care.

Monitoring programme for early childhood education and care (in Finnish) 
 

 

One group of a day-care centre is allowed to only include the number of children present at the same time that corresponds to maximum of three staff members working in education, teaching and care tasks in early childhood education and care.
 
Example: If all children are under 3 years of age, their group can be a maximum of 12 children (see section Number of staff members).  

Monitoring programme for early childhood education and care (in Finnish)
 
Act on Early Childhood Education and Care, section 35
 

 

When the child is in a day-care centre or home day-care, a personal early childhood education and care plan must be drawn up for the child. It records how the child's upbringing, education and care are carried out.
 
The child's early childhood education and care plan must include objectives on how the child's early childhood education and care supports the child's development, learning and well-being. The actions used to achieve the objectives are recorded in the early childhood education and care plan. The child’s need for support and the support measures are also included in the plan.
 
The staff prepare an early childhood education and care plan together with the child's parent or other guardian. The persons responsible for the child's education, upbringing and care participate in the preparation of the plan. In day-care centres, the responsibility for preparing the plan is on the person with pedagogical qualifications in early childhood education and care. The child's opinion must be found out and taken into account when preparing the early childhood education and care plan.
 
The child's early childhood education and care plan must be reviewed at least once a year: The child's need for support, and the adequacy and appropriateness of support must be assessed. In addition, it must be assessed how the early childhood education and care plan is being implemented. The plan must be reviewed more frequently if the child’s needs require this.

Act on Early Childhood Education and Care 540/2018, section 23

The best interests of the child must be taken into account as the primary criteria when planning, organising or producing early childhood education and care and when it is decided on. Under the Act on Early Childhood Education and Care, children have the right to receive social welfare and health care support measures and services to support their development and well-being.

The child's early childhood education and care plan must include objectives on how the child's early childhood education and care supports the child's development, learning and well-being. The actions used to achieve the objectives are recorded in the early childhood education and care plan. The child’s need for support and the support measures are also included in the plan.

The special education teacher of early childhood education and care participates in the assessment of the child's need for support, support measures or their implementation as necessary. Other authorities, experts and other parties supporting the child's development and learning can participate in the preparation of the child's early childhood education and care plan. 

The municipality, joint municipal authority and private service provider must ensure that there are sufficient personnel in early childhood education and care that meet the different criteria. This way, the objectives laid down for early childhood education and care can be achieved and the support needs of disabled children and other children can also be met. The municipality must have access to the services of special education teachers in early childhood education and care in accordance with the needs of early childhood education and care.
In addition, early childhood education and care may employ other staff according to the children's needs and the objectives of early childhood education and care. 

The organiser and provider of early education services must assess the quality of the early education services provided and participate in the assessments conducted by third parties. 

The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) conducts national external evaluations of early education services. FINEEC also provides guidance on statutory self-assessments to public and private early education service providers. 

A parent or guardian dissatisfied with the quality of early education or the treatment of their child are entitled to submit an objection. The objection is submitted to the acting head of the early education centre, the person responsible for the centre or the executive early education official. 

The municipality must organise early childhood education and care to the extent and in the format that is required in the municipality. The municipality must ensure that the child can receive early childhood education and care in their mother tongue in Finnish, Swedish, Inari Sámi, Skolt Sámi or Northern Sámi.
 
In a bilingual municipality or joint municipal authority, early childhood education and care is organised in both languages so that the service user can choose early childhood education and care in Finnish or Swedish. 

When a child is in a day-care centre or in home day-care, they must be offered food that meets their nutritional needs and is healthy and necessary. Meals must be arranged under supervision for all children present. 
 
Read more on the meal recommendations for early childhood education and care (in Finnish).https://www.julkari.fi/handle/10024/135907 
 
For information on the nutrition recommendations for preschool-aged children, see the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare website. https://thl.fi/fi/web/elintavat-ja-ravitsemus/ravitsemus/ravitsemussuositukset/leikki-ikaiset 

 

World-view education is part of general pedagogical activities in early childhood education and care and pre-primary education. The aim of world-view education is to promote mutual respect and understanding of different world views and to support the development of children's cultural and world view-related identity. View-based early childhood education and care and pre-primary education identify and recognise different world views and cultural traditions, identities, beliefs and values. Children learn to examine them together. 
 
Finnish National Board of Education guidelines on the implementation of world-view education in early childhood education and care and religious events in early childhood education and care

The National Board of Education's support material for the implementation of world-view education

 

Nurseries, home daycares and open early education centres must shall foster development and learning and be healthy and safe having regard to the children’s age, development and other abilities. 

Early education service providers must draw up a safety plan as well as fire safety and evacuation plans. 

More information on safety on the websites of Regional State Administrative Agencies and  the Finnish National Agency for Education.

If the child's parent or other guardian is dissatisfied with the quality of early childhood education and care or the treatment associated with it, they have the right to file an objection. The objection is submitted to the acting head of the early education centre, the person responsible for the centre or the executive early education official. The objection must usually be made in writing. It has to be properly recorded and processed, and the care provider must respond to it in writing within a reasonable period of time from when the objection was filed. The reply to the objection may not be appealed. 
 
A complaint is a report submitted to a supervisory authority, such as a regional state administrative agency, concerning a suspected erroneous action or negligence.  
 
More information on filing a complaint can be found here: 
https://avi.fi/en/services/individuals/enforcement-and-reporting-violations 

When a teacher of early childhood education and care, a Bachelor of social services, a childcarer, a special education teacher or a home day-care carer is in an employment or public service relationship, and notices in their duties a risk of a defect or manifest defect that the child's early childhood education and care cannot be implemented in accordance with the legislation, they shall immediately inform the head of the day-care centre or the head of family day-care in writing.

Act on Early Childhood Education and Care, section 57a
 
More information on the obligation to notify on the website of the Ministry of Education and Culture: https://okm.fi/varhaiskasvatuksesta-kysyttya 

The Regional State Administrative Agency organises brief courses of in-service training for early childhood education and care staff.    

The content of our in-service training has to do with current issues in early childhood education and care. The training offering is based on national and regional needs, and the topics are different each year.  

The training we organise is free of charge. Training courses are held the year round, and we announce them on the Regional State Administrative Agency website.

 

The client fees charged for early education services provided by public nurseries and home daycares are governed by the Act on Client Charges in Healthcare and Social Welfare

The amount of the fee depends on family size, income and whether the child is in full- or part-time early education. 

Purchased early education services are charged the same way as services provided by local authorities. 

Local authorities do not charge a fee for early education services bought with a service voucher. The local authority determines the value of the service voucher based on the Act on Service Vouchers for Social Welfare and Health Care and the fee is charged by the private nursery.  

If you have questions about the client fees of your child’s early education services, contact your local early education services or officer for social affairs.

Grants for the training of early education professionals and different development projects are applied for directly through the websites of the Finnish National Agency for Education and the Ministry of Education and Culture during the application periods, which can also be found on the websites.