Free early childhood education for five-year-olds
Espoo provides free early childhood education for 4 hours a day, in total 20 hours per week, for children turning five this year. The right to free early childhood education begins in August, and a place must be applied for at least four months before the desired start date. If your child already participates in early childhood education, you do not need to submit a new application.
Children have the right to participate in free early childhood education for 20 hours per week in the year that they turn five. Free early childhood education is offered from the beginning of August to the end of July the following year. It is provided on weekdays for four hours a day between 8:00 and 13:00. The exact time varies slightly between day-care centres.
Free early childhood education can be provided at a municipal day-care centre, service voucher day-care centre or outsourced day-care centre. Some private day-care centres and family day-care providers also offer free early childhood education for five-year-olds.
Applying for free early childhood education
You can apply for a place for your child in free early childhood education starting in autumn 2023, if the child was born in 2018.
Complete the online application form at www.espoonvarhaiskasvatus.fi(external link) at least four months before the desired start date. Log in at the top right corner of the page. The site requires strong authentication, such as online banking credentials. If you do not have online banking credentials, you can also fill in the application form on paper. In that case, send the application to the Early Childhood Education Service Guidance. You can download the application form here.
If your child is already in early childhood education or you have already submitted an application for next autumn, you do not need to submit a new application. The early childhood education fee takes into account the share of free early childhood education.
In processing applications, we comply with the processing times specified in the Act on Early Childhood Education and Care.
Child home care allowance and free early childhood education
Free early childhood education affects the child home care allowance received by the family. If your child participates in free early childhood education, your family is not entitled to sibling increase of the child home care allowance.
If the child attends a private day-care centre
Some private day-care centres and family day-care providers also offer free early childhood education for 20 hours per week. For this purpose, Espoo has a municipal supplement for five-year-olds. It allows private service providers to offer a discount on the early childhood education fee.
You can enquire about this from the day-care centre or family day-care provider operating with private day-care allowance. If free early childhood education is not available, you can apply for a place for your child elsewhere.
Private day-care centres and family day-care providers in other municipalities can also provide free early childhood education for five-year-old children living in Espoo. However, Espoo does not receive information about these children and service providers directly from Kela. The service provider must therefore contact the Early Childhood Education Service Guidance (email@example.com) separately.
For more information about free early childhood education for five-year-olds, please contact the Early Childhood Education Service Guidance or the head of your child’s early childhood education unit.
Mondays 9-13 am
Tuesdays 9-13 am
Wednesdays 9-13 am
Thursdays 13-16 pm
Fridays 9-13 am
The service guidance team gives families advice on how to apply for early childhood education and on matters related to childcare allowances.