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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisational variations and alternative structures in ECEC


4.Early childhood education and care

4.5Organisational variations and alternative structures in ECEC

Last update: 27 November 2023

In Finland, ECEC is provided in early education centres and family daycare premises, or as open ECEC services. Open ECEC services usually refer to activities organised by a municipality or the private or third sector, including club and play activities, playground activities and open ECEC centres. The goals of the ECEC Act and the national core curriculum guide all three forms of ECEC.

ECEC is provided by municipalities and private service providers. Parishes and various organisations and communities play an important role in providing open ECEC services.

ECEC settings, particularly private ones, may follow different pedagogies (for instance Montessori or Steiner), be carried out in a foreign language or have emphasis on e.g. physical activity or science. Some municipalities and private service providers offer so-called forest early education centres that operate outdoors in nature environment throughout the year.

Also pre-primary education can be based on particular worldview or pedagogical system. These forms of pre-primary education include, for example, Steiner and Montessori pedagogies. According to these methodologies, it is essential that the guardian is sufficiently informed about the underlying principles and specific objectives. 

Some ECEC and pre-primary settings offer bilingual education where children are provided with opportunities for acquiring language skills and using languages functionally and through play. In large-scale bilingual education at least 25 % of ECEC or pre-primary education is provided in another language. In language-enriched ECEC or pre-primary education less than 25% of activities are regularly and systematically provided in a language other than the language of instruction.

ECEC and pre-primary education are also organised in hospitals.