A free early childhood education for 5-year-olds

Espoo wants to encourage children to participate in early childhood education, and that is why we are involved in the free early childhood education pilot for 5-year-olds. The pilot is organised in municipal and outsourced early childhood education between 1 August 2019 and 31 July 2020.

In the free early childhood education pilot of 20 hours per week, the activities are based on the National Core Curriculum for Early Childhood Education and Care and the Espoo early childhood education plan.

  • Free early childhood education is offered for 4 hours a day from Monday to Friday between 8 and 13. The units determine the exact time themselves.
  • If the child is already in municipal or outsourced early childhood education, free early childhood education does not need to be separately applied for. The pilot concerns all children who were born in 2014.
  • The child does not need to switch to another unit, because the pilot is implemented at all municipal early childhood education units.
  • The unit provides you with a new “Agreement on hours of child’s early childhood education” form with which you can indicate your service need.

New fee decisions are made for the families for the pilot year. In the fee decision, the service need is indicated as free early childhood education for 5-year-olds. If the child participates in other early childhood education besides the 20 free weekly hours, their additional service need is one of the following, in accordance with your notification:

  • free for 5-year-olds + early childhood education 25 h/week or more
  • free for 5-year-olds + early childhood education 15–25 h/week
  • free for 5-year-olds + early childhood education up to 15 h/week.

Round-the-clock care:

Based on the presence of the children, the share of free early childhood education is placed between 8 and 16 for four hours a day on five days a week.

Free early childhood education is also organised on weekends for children for whom care has been scheduled for the day in question.

Private service providers:

If the service provider functioning with the help of the private early childhood education allowance does not participate in the free early childhood education pilot, the family may apply for a place for their child in a municipal or outsourced unit. Processing times under the Act on Early Childhood Education and Care are followed in processing the application.

If you need more information on the pilot, please contact the head of your child’s early childhood education unit.