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Guardians give praise to early childhood and pre-primary education in the capital region

In October and November, the cities of Espoo, Helsinki, Kauniainen and Vantaa organised a joint client survey for the guardians of children in municipal and private early childhood education and pre-primary education.
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The guardians of children attending early childhood education and pre-primary education are mainly very satisfied with the education services provided in the capital region. This is shown by the results of the joint municipal survey.

Espoo, Helsinki, Kauniainen and Vantaa organised the survey for the guardians of children in municipal and private early childhood education and pre-primary education between 26 October and 9 November 2022. The survey was aimed at all guardians of children attending early childhood education or pre-primary education in Finnish or Swedish. The survey also collected children’s views on early childhood education and pre-primary education.

The survey was available in seven languages: Finnish, Swedish, English, Estonian, Russian, Arabic and Somali. Innolink Oy was responsible for the technical implementation of the survey. A total of 17,374 respondents took part in the survey. 

-The response rate and the number of respondents increased from the previous survey in all municipalities, which makes me very happy. I want to thank all children and guardians who took the time to take the survey. It provides us with valuable information, says Virpi Mattila, the City of Espoo’s Director of Early Childhood Education.

 

Guardians value quality and diversity

In the survey, guardians assessed statements concerning early childhood education on a scale of 1 to 7, in which scores 1–3 are negative, 4 is neutral and 5–7 are positive.

Guardians gave the best scores to the way in which they have been treated (average score 6.4). Most guardians feel that they are treated in a respectful and friendly manner at their child’s early childhood education or pre-primary education unit (95% of the respondents somewhat, mostly or fully agreed with the statement). Almost as many respondents stated that their child enjoys attending early childhood education or pre-primary education (94% gave a positive assessment). 92% of the guardians stated that their child can take part in varied activities and play as part of early childhood education or pre-primary education, and 90% said that their child has friends at their early childhood education or pre-primary education unit.

Among the guardians who responded to the survey, 92% feel that their child’s safety and wellbeing are well looked after at the early childhood education or pre-primary education unit.

Based on the survey results, capital region guardians are almost as satisfied with early childhood education and pre-primary education as they were at the time of the previous survey in 2020.

Guardians were also asked to give an overall grade to early childhood education and pre-primary education using the school grading scale of 4 to 10. The respondents gave an overall grade of 8.8 (8.9 in 2020).

Based on the results, guardians are still very satisfied with their children’s early childhood education and pre-primary education. There was a slight decline in the results regarding individual statements (change in the average –0.1) in comparison with the previous survey in 2020, but the overall results have remained very good.

Despite the challenges related to staff availability, the capital region municipalities have managed to maintain the quality of early childhood education and client satisfaction at a high level. A big thank you goes to early childhood education staff and supervisors.

According to Miia Kemppi, Head of Early Childhood Education at the City of Helsinki, good work and successes in the sector do not always gain public visibility.

-It is important that we discuss the development needs, but we should also keep in mind that the big picture is more varied. In the future, we need to communicate more actively about the long-term development and successes in the sector, also externally, to give people a wider understanding of early childhood education, Miia Kemppi says.

Children’s inclusion must be developed

This was the second survey in which some of the questions were also aimed at children. For example, children were asked what they like and dislike about early childhood education. Children’s favourite things are friends and play, while they do not like bullying, hitting, pushing or naptime.

According to guardians, the area that needs to be developed the most is children’s opportunities to influence early childhood education activities (average score 5.3 on a scale of 1–7).

-A person’s growth into an active citizen starts at an early age. When a child’s opinion is considered, they feel that they can influence their own life and environment. Listening to children requires sensitivity and professional skills from us adults, says Katjamaria Halme, Development Manager of Early Childhood Education at the City of Vantaa.

The four municipalities will now go through their city-specific results, and each early childhood education unit will also receive a report of their results. The results will be used to develop early childhood education activities.

The plan is to conduct the next client survey in 2024.

Guardians in Helsinki value quality and diversity 

According to a Helsinki client survey, most guardians think that their child’s wellbeing, comfort and safety are well looked after in Finnish and Swedish-language early childhood education and pre-primary education. Guardians also find that they are being treated with respect and kindness (95%). The majority (92%) of the guardians stated that they think their child can engage in varied activities and play, and 90% of the respondents said that their child has friends at the early childhood education or pre-primary education place. 

Based on the survey, Helsinki guardians are almost as satisfied with early childhood education and pre-primary education as they were at the time of the previous survey in 2020. The guardians were also asked to give an overall grade to early childhood education and pre-primary education using the school grading scale of 4 to 10. The respondents gave an overall grade of 8.8 (8.9 in 2020). 

Based on the results, guardians are still very satisfied with their children’s early childhood education and pre-primary education. On average, the changes compared to the 2020 survey are minor (–0.1 to –0.2). According to the guardians, the area that needs to be developed the most is children’s opportunities to influence early childhood education activities (average score of 5.3 on a scale of 1 to 7, compared to 5.5 in 2020). 

The survey also included questions aimed only at Helsinki residents about starting early childhood education and pre-primary education and their experiences of the two-year pre-primary education. Consideration of the needs of a child starting education and the first impression were rated good (71% and 83%, respectively). Guardians are very satisfied with the introduction to the early childhood and pre-primary education place (76%) and the associated interaction and access to information (75%), but fewer (55%) were satisfied with access to information when applying the place. 

-We are pleased with the good results, especially the fact that the guardians find they are being treated with respect and kindness and that their children have friends and the opportunity to engage in diverse activities. Going forward, we will pay attention to ensuring that children can have more influence on early childhood education activities and that guardians have better access to information when applying for a place. We must continue ensuring high quality and safety in early childhood and pre-primary education. We value the wellbeing, comfort and safety of the children and want to do everything we can to that end, says Miia Kemppi, Head of Early Childhood Education in Helsinki.

Enquiries and further information:

Further information on client survey’s city-specific results can be found in municipalities’ own websites.

Helsinki:
Miia Kemppi, Head of Early Childhood Education, miia.kemppi@hel.fi , tel. 09 310 43368 
Jenni Tirronen, Head of Swedish Early Childhood Education, jenni.tirronen@hel.fi , tel. 09 310 73014 

Espoo:
Virpi Mattila, Director of Early Childhood Education, virpi.mattila@espoo.fi , tel. 09 8162 3300 
Barbro Högström, Director of Swedish Education and Cultural Services, barbro.hogstrom@espoo.fi , tel. 050 351 1497

Vantaa:
Mikko Mäkelä, Head of Early Childhood Education, mikko.makela@vantaa.fi , tel. 050 341 7386
Mia Ahlskog, Development Manager, Swedish Service Area, mia.ahlskog@vantaa.fi , tel. 040 615 2072 

Kauniainen:
Annika Hiitola, Head of Early Childhood Education, annika.hiitola@kauniainen.fi , tel. 050 341 6269 
Paula Somila, Early Childhood Education Unit Director, paula.somila@kauniainen.fi , tel. 050 341 5313

See the results of the survey in Finnish (PDF)