Preparatory education is intended for 6–16-year-old children who do not yet speak Finnish well enough to begin their basic education. In preparatory education, the main focus is on learning Finnish and becoming familiar with the Finnish school system. An individual education plan is created for every pupil.
Preparatory education can take different forms. A child’s age determines the type of instruction they will receive. The children receive 24–26 hours of teaching a week. The aim of preparatory education is for the pupils to learn basic language skills, so that they can manage everyday situations in Finnish.
Pupils may attend preparatory education for a maximum of one calendar year. If a pupil can follow teaching in Finnish, their preparatory education may end sooner. The teacher will assess the child’s skills.
All children in Finland attend a year of pre-primary education in the year before starting primary school. Pre-primary education (sometimes called preschool) is provided in daycare centres. Preparatory education is also available in pre-primary education. It is part of the overall education and activities provided.
Children start school the year they turn seven. During the first and second year, pupils study at their own local school. Preparatory education is part of the overall education provided. When a child’s preparatory education ends, they will continue as a basic education pupil in the same teaching group.
Learn more in the PDF guide:
Guide in different languages: Preparatory education for 7 and 8-year-olds
Pupils aged 9–16 (comprehensive school grades 3–9) receive preparatory education in their own preparatory education group. Not every school has these groups. Each pupil will be assigned to a group that is either as close to their home as possible or has good transport connections. During preparatory education, the pupils will also attend other classes at their school.
Finnish is the main language of study in the preparatory education groups. In addition to Finnish, the pupils study other subjects.
If a pupil’s preparatory education group is not at their local school, the pupil will transfer to their local school once their preparatory education has ended. Alternatively, the pupil’s guardian may submit an enrolment application to the school that has been providing the preparatory education.
Learn in the PDF guide:
Guide in different languages: Prepratory education for 9 to 17-year olds