Preparatory education for basic education is available for children and young people of immigrant backgrounds aged 6–17 years whose Finnish-language skills are not adequate to study in Finnish-speaking groups in early childhood education and comprehensive education.
During preparatory education, pupils learn Finnish and the skills necessary for comprehensive education. Every pupil receives their own education plan, which defines the objectives of preparatory education.
Preparatory education is offered for 24–26 hours a week, depending on the pupil’s age, for a maximum of one year from the start of the preparatory education. This includes the preparatory education in a preschool. The pupil is also entitled to move on to comprehensive education before a year has passed if they are able to follow instruction provided in Finnish.
Preparatory education for children aged 6–8 at the local daycare centre and local school
Preparatory education for children aged 6–8 will be organised at the local daycare centre or the local school in a Finnish-language group. After the preparatory education, the child will continue to comprehensive education in the same group.
Group-form preparatory education in City schools
Pupils in need of preparatory education, aged 9–17, will study in their own groups for preparatory education. At the same time, the pupils will participate in comprehensive education classes in different subjects based on their abilities. Preparatory education groups are not available at every school.
The authorities will attempt to find a group that is as close to the pupil’s home as possible, or that has good transport connections. The pupil will be transferred to their local school after completing preparatory education. The pupil’s guardian may also apply for a school placement for their child at the school where preparatory education was provided.
Registering for preparatory education
The guardian will register their child for preparatory education by filling in and submitting an application form. The form may also be filled at the school or at the guidance services of the Education Division or sent to the Planning Officer for preparatory education by post or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is a specific form for preschool-aged children. This form will be submitted to the daycare centre. A child moving from preparatory preschool education to comprehensive education will be enrolled in the same manner as other pupils in January.
Preparatory education for persons over the age of compulsory education
Young immigrants applying for vocational or general upper secondary education are offered studies that prepare them for secondary education (VALMA and LUVA). Applicants for preparatory studies for general upper secondary education must have a comprehensive school certificate or knowledge corresponding to the content of the comprehensive education.
Young people who are older than the age of compulsory education (17 years) are also encourage to visit the Ohjaamo Service provided by the City of Helsinki where young people not in employment or education are offered individual support and directed to various education, employment and rehabilitation services where necessary.