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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice


4.Early childhood education and care


Last update: 27 November 2023

Place guarantee to ECEC

In Sweden there is a legal entitlement to ECEC. Under the Education Act (Skollagen SFS 2010:800) the municipalities are required to provide preschool activities and childcare for children aged 1–12 years to the extent necessary for their parents to be able to work or study or for the child’s own needs. This requirement also includes preschool for children whose parents are unemployed or on parental leave with another sibling. These children should be offered a place in preschool (förskolan) or home-based pedagogical care (pedagogisk omsorg) for at least three hours per day or 15 hours per week. The municipality shall take reasonable account of the wishes of the parent or guardian as regards provision of childcare, both concerning the type of care and the choice of organiser. The municipality must offer the child preschool within four months when the guardian has notified their wishes for a municipal preschool. Children who for physical, psychological or other reasons need special support in their development in the form of preschool should be offered a place quicker. Since 1995, the Swedish Schools Inspectorate has been able to take action against a municipality that does not offer a place within the time limit, for example by imposing a fine.

In 1998 the preschool class (förskoleklass) was introduced as a voluntary one year school form before enrolling in compulsory school (grundskolan). The preschool class functions as a transition between the preschool (förskolan) and the compulsory school. In 2018-2019, the preschool class became compulsory for all children from the year that they turn six.

Irrespective of where they live, all children must have equal access to the public education system, including the preschool. Each type of school must offer equivalent education irrespective of where it is provided.


Preschool class for 6-year-olds

The compulsory preschool class is free of charge for the pupil. The pupil’s home municipality is obligated to provide transportation free of charge to the preschool class if this is needed. The pupil’s right to transportation is individually based on circumstances such as for example distance to school, traffic conditions and individual factors.


Municipal and grant-aided independent preschools may charge a fee for preschool. The municipalities are not legally obligated to provide transportation to the preschool. All children are entitled to free preschool for at least 525 hours per year (approximately 15 hours per week) from the autumn term when they turn three years old. This policy considerably increases the affordability of ECEC services for children from age 3. 

However, Sweden's maximum fee policy aims to make childcare affordable for all children under 6. The fee that households pay so that the children can attend preschool or pedagogical care is based on a percentage of the households combined income and how many children in the household attend preschool or pedagogical care. The larger income a household has, the higher the fee will be up to a capped limit. Families pay different fees for each child, the highest fee is payed for the oldest child in steps until the fourth child. From the fourth child and further no fee needs to be payed for the care of additional children. Low income families pay nothing. The upper income limit for preschools is 52 410 SEK (approximately 5 200 Euro)/month in 2022 so that families earning more than the limit pay according to 52 410 SEK as their income. It is possible for preschools to exclude children when the parents have failed to pay the fee.

Fees for preschools 2022


Percentage of monthly income 

Maximum monthly cost

Child 1


1 572 SEK

Child 2


1 048 SEK

Child 3


524 SEK

Child 4

no fee


Source: The Swedish National Agence for Education