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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Educational guidelines


4.Early childhood education and care

4.3Educational guidelines

Last update: 27 November 2023

Steering documents

ECEC settings are mainly regulated in the Education Act (Skollag SFS 2010:800).

Preschool is also regulated in the curriculum for the preschool (Läroplan för förskolan Lpfö 18) (an English translation). This document is binding. 

Preschool class is regulated also in the curriculum for the compulsory school, preschool class and the leisure-time centre (Läroplan för grundskolan, förskoleklassen och fritidshemmet 2011, revised 2019), (an English translation, revised 2018). This document is binding.

A list of these and other steering documents (e.g. UN Child convention, national digitalisation strategy, information on work with multilingual children; some of them more like recommendations and advice) for preschool can be found at Forum for preschool (Förskoleforum).

A general list of school education steering documents can be found at the National Agency for Education.

In addition to the curriculum, an ECEC setting may have policy documents or working plans of its own, which may broaden, focus or specify its orientation or working methods provided there is no conflict with the curriculum. These documents may be seen as supplementing the national curriculum in individual preschools.

Areas of learning and development


The preschool curriculum was revised in 2010 with clearer objectives for children's development in language and mathematics, natural sciences and technology. The guidelines for staff responsibilities were also clarified, both at individual teacher level and at a team level. New sections on monitoring, evaluation and development, and the responsibilities of preschool heads were added.

The government decided on a new revision of the curriculum for the preschool which entered into force on 1 July 2019. The starting point for this revision was to organise the preschool curriculum according to a structure similar to the curricula of other school levels. The 2019 curriculum was updated in accordance to current national strategies and legislation such as the Education Act (Skollag SFS 2010:800). The concepts of education and teaching have also been incorporated into the curriculum to emphasize that the preschool is a part of the school system. The language and wording of the curriculum has been revised in relation to for example democracy and gender equality. A great emphasis is put on the fundamental values and that the preschool education should reflect the values expressed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The concept of care has been incorporated into several places in the curriculum to clarify that care, development and learning constitute a whole in preschool. Based on the government’s national digital strategy for the school system, the revised preschool curriculum states that the education should give the children the opportunity to develop digital skills through an understanding of the digitalisation that they encounter in their daily lives.

Preschool class

The preschool class shares curriculum with the compulsory school and the leisure time centre. 

The core content of the preschool class curriculum includes: 

  • language and communication; 
  • creative and aesthetic forms of expression; 
  • mathematical reasoning and forms of expression; 
  • nature, technology and society; 
  • and games, physical activities, and outdoor excursions.

Pedagogical approaches


The preschool staff determines how the goals of the curriculum are to be achieved in accordance with the set frameworks and laws. The aim of that work is to promote the development and learning of each child.

The curriculum is based on the notion that children of preschool age learn mainly through their own activities in contexts that are natural and meaningful to them. By using a topic-based method, children are given the opportunity to explore, investigate and experiment and through music, drama, art and craft, playing, conversing, singing etc., they can digest their experiences, step by step gaining new insights and building knowledge. Children can also learn more about a particular area through books and listen to stories. The preschool curriculum states that the education should enable children to experience, form and communicate through different aesthetic expressions such as image, form, drama, movement, song, music and dance. The children should be able to design, shape and create using different materials and techniques.

Day-to-day teaching should include the whole group of children, as well as takes place in the form of organised and/or spontaneously formed smaller groups for various activities. The development and learning of the individual child should be supported in close cooperation between the preschool and the home.

A few preschools use alternative pedagogical methods, e.g. Montessori, Waldorf etc., some specialise in areas such as sport, science, arts and craft, computers, nature and ecology and some spend most hours outdoors in so called ‘Rain or shine preschools’ (‘Ur och skur förskola’) where such activities as artistic and pedagogical work as well as meals etc. take place outdoors, either in the vicinity of the preschool or in nature.

The self-esteem and identity of the child develops in interaction with other children and adults. Therefore it is important that the child group creates conditions for the individual child to enter into relationships with other children and with the staff. Preschools can have better prerequisites for goal achievement when teaching based on the curriculum takes place in different ways throughout the day in the children's group.

Part of the goal fulfillment in the preschool is to help ensure that children with a mother tongue other than Swedish are given the opportunity to develop both the Swedish language and their mother tongue.

Learning materials as also meals and insurance are included in the monthly preschool fee.

Preschool class 

Teaching in the preschool class is based on the fundamental values and mission of the school as well as the general aims and guidelines set out in Parts 1 and 2 of the curriculum for the compulsory school, preschool class and the leisure-time centre. Teaching in the preschool class should aim at stimulating the pupils development and learning. According to the curriculum, teaching in the preschool class should take the pupils' needs and interests into account, as well as prior knowledge and experience. Teaching should also challenge the pupils by inspiring new discoveries and knowledge. 

In the preschool class creative activities and play are essential components of active learning. By providing a wealth of opportunities for discussion, reading and writing, all pupils should be able to develop their ability to communicate and thus enhance confidence in their own language abilities. Pupils should have the opportunity of experiencing the expression of their knowledge in different ways. Drama, movement, dance, music and creativity in art, writing and design should all form part of the school’s activity. A sense of exploration, curiosity and desire to learn should provide a foundation for education.

The term teaching should be interpreted comprehensively in the leisure-time centre where focus is on care, development and learning in interaction and as a whole. The leisure-time center should stimulate the pupils’ development, deepen their knowledge and experience and contribute to a meaningful leisure time and social community. In the leisure-time center pupils have the opportunity to practice democracy, influence and responsibility. Play, movement and creative activities are important. The groups should have an appropriate composition and size and provide the students with a good environment. 

The municipalities distribute resources and organise education and goals and guidelines are set out in the curriculum. On this basis the headteacher and the teachers can then choose methods suited to their activities and local conditions. Teachers should endeavour to balance and integrate knowledge in its various forms. The headteacher has overall responsibility for drawing up a local work plan as well as following up and evaluating the results achieved by the school in relation to the national goals, the goals set out in the curriculum as well as the local work plan. A few preschool classes follow alternative pedagogical methods, e.g. Montessori, Waldorf etc.

Pupils have access to teaching material such as books free of charge. Schools have their own budget for teaching materials. Headteachers and teachers choose which teaching materials to use.

In general, the compulsory school, preschool class and the leisure-time centre should cooperate with each other and the preschool to support the pupils' development and learning in a long-term perspective. The variety of working methods, forms of expression and learning environments that the pupils are offered are put together to ease the transition between school forms. In doing so, teaching in the preschool class and leisure-time centre contributes to a continuity and progression in the pupils development and learning which prepares them for further education. The curriculum also emphasises that prior to transitions, the school forms and leisure-time centre should exchange knowledge and information about the education to create progression in the pupils' development and learning.

Leisure-time centre

Leisure-time centres are educational group facilities, operating during the times of the day and year when schools are closed for enrolled children whose parents are working or studying or for children who are in need of the facilities. Generally leisure-time centres are integrated within schools. Leisure-time centres are aimed at children from the age of 6 up to 12 years old that attend preschool class or compulsory school.



In the preschool (förskolan) the outcome of the individual child is not evaluated. Grades and assessments are not used. The preschool provides pedagogical activities in which children can start participating at different ages and over varying periods of time. Children participate on basis of their individual conditions. All who work in the preschool should pay particular attention to and help those children who for different reasons need support in their development. The preschool should ensure a regular dialogue between the child's home and the preschool on the well-being, development and learning of the child. In addition to daily contact between staff and parents it is common to hold a dialogue held twice a year between staff and parents to discuss the child's development and progress at the preschool. Parents may also take the initiative for such dialogues at other times.

Teachers regularly monitor pupil's progress, but there are no formal regulations on how this is done.

Preschool class

Starting from the autumn of 2018 the preschool class is mandatory for all children living in Sweden from the age of six. Pre-primary education in the preschool class (förskoleklass) covers one year and ends in the summer of the year that the child turns seven. In the autumn term the same year most children start grade 1 of compulsory school (grundskolan). The pupils enter compulsory school without general assessment procedures. Teachers do however regularly monitor the pupils progress.

On 1 July 2019 revisions in the the Education Act (Skollagen, SFS 2010:800) took into effect. The changes in the Education Act regarding the preschool class state that the pupil and the pupils' guardians should regularly be informed about the pupils’ development. In addition, a special assessment of the pupils' knowledge development should also be carried out in the preschool class, if national survey material shows an indication that the pupil will not meet the knowledge requirements for grades 1 and 3 in the subjects Swedish, Swedish as a second language or Mathematics. If this assessment shows that the pupil is unable to meet the knowledge requirements, support measures should be planned or the school head should be notified.

The Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) has developed mapping support material for teachers in the preschool class. The material can be used as support for mapping pupils’ knowledge of mathematical thinking and linguistic awareness in the preschool class. The mapping support materials regarding language and math are mandatory to use. The mapping support material is developed to be used by teachers in the preschool class during the first term of preschool class. In accordance with the Education Act, the objective is to use the mapping support material to identify pupils that show indications of not reaching the knowledge requirements or are in need of for example additional adjustments or special support. The teacher performs the activities that are included in the mapping during the first semester. At the end of the preschool class year a follow-up test will be done based on given support. The result of the follow-up test will be transferred to the teacher who will be responsible for the pupil when entering grade 1 of primary school.

In the preschool class a personal development dialogue is held once a year between the pupil, the pupils guardian and teacher. The dialogue covers the pupils' knowledge and social development in relation to the curriculum and knowledge requirements. The conversation focuses on how the school can support and stimulate the pupils’ development.

Transition to primary school

The preschool class functions as a transition between the preschool (förskolan) and the primary school. The preschool class combines the methods and working approaches of both the preschool and the primary school. The aim of the preschool class is to stimulate the development of learning of each pupil, and prepare pupils for future education as well as promote their development.