Day Care and Schooling
If you are moving to Finland with your spouse/partner and family, it is important to carefully consider the practical arrangements for the family members, so that they would also have a fulfilling and productive stay in Finland. The following information is intended to help make the transition to Finland as smooth as possible for new staff members and their families.
See here for Education in Finland guide. The guide is available in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Poertuguese, Spanish and Russian.
Day care (9 months - 5 years-old children)
Schools (children aged 7 or older)
In accordance with Finnish law, all children aged between 0 to 6 years of age living in Finland are entitled to municipal day care. Part-time and full-time day care is provided by day care centres (päiväkoti) or family day care providers (perhepäivähoito). There are also some open early childhood education services (avoimet varhaiskasvatuspalvelut) which include club or park activities for a couple of hours two times a week. Day care fees are determined on the basis of the parents' income and the size of the family. Maximum fees are about 290 € per month.
A day care place for a child can be applied for at anytime of the year. Applications should be submitted four months before the desired start of the day care. For day care applications, please see:
International day care in the UEF campus towns:
The English Kindergarten of Joensuu
englanninkielinenleikkikoulu (at) gmail.com
The English Kindergarten of Kuopio
Tulliportinkatu 37 H
Deutscher Kindergarten (Kuopion saksalainen päiväkoti)
All six-year-olds have the right to voluntary pre-school education before the compulsory education begins at the age of seven. The objective of pre-school education is to support the child's preparedness for school and to practice the basic knowledge and skills that he/she will need at school.
Pre-school education is usually offered at day care centres. The English and German Kindergartens also offer pre-school education. Preschool education is offered on school days (Monday to Friday). The operating periods and holidays are the same as those at comprehensive schools. Instruction is given four hours per day. Pre-school education is free of charge. If a family needs child care in addition to preschool, partial day care fees are charged.
The enrolment period for pre-school schools is usually in January / February. For enrolment forms (in Finnish only), please see:
Service Manager of Day Care
Tel. +358 44 718 6134
If you are moving to Finland with school-aged (7-16) children, education is compulsory for them. Basic education begins during the year when the child turns seven and ends when all courses have been completed, or 10 years have elapsed from the beginning of the compulsory education.
Lower stage comprehensive school takes six years, classes 1-6, and upper stage comprehensive school comprises years 7-9. Basic education including textbooks, tools etc. is free of charge. In addition, pupils are offered a free daily meal.
Bilingual schools and preparatory education
In eastern Finland, basic education is usually arranged in Finnish but there are certain schools that offer bilingual teaching. All comprehensive school age children (7 - 17 year olds), who have recently moved to Finland and cannot get by in the Finnish language, are entitled to preparatory education. This allows pupils to get acquainted with Finnish schooling, its customs and teaching methods. Immigrant pupils are also entitled to get education in their own language for a couple of hours a week. Pupils can also learn Finnish as a second language in some schools.
Information leaflets on education for immigrants is available in several languages at: https://www.oph.fi/en/statistics-and-publications/publications
Allocation of a school and enrolment
The child is usually allocated a place in a school near where you live or in some other suitable place, which makes school travel as short and safe as possible. The local authorities have a statutory duty to provide education for children of compulsory school age living in their areas. The parent(s) can also, for a justified reason, apply for a place in a school other than the child's nearest school. The child can be admitted to the school if there are places available. If there are more applicants than available places, certain qualification criteria will be applied. Please note that in this case the parent(s) are responsible for covering any possible school transportation costs.
Typically, a child needs to be enrolled to start school (first graders) in late January or early February. If your child is at a higher grade or you move to Finland during the school year, please contact the education department in your city.
City of Joensuu, Education department
Torikatu 21 C, 3rd floor, 80100 Joensuu
Tel. 358 13 267 7111
City of Kuopio, Education department
+358 44 718 8942
Fees and curriculum
Schools up to university level are almost exclusively funded and administered by the municipalities in Finland (local government). There are few private schools. Public schools are uniformly of a high quality. The local or school curriculum is based on a national core curriculum. As a rule, all teachers have a Master's level university degree. There is, however, relatively little extracurricular activity, and children's free-time activities are often quite separate from those during the school day.
The school year begins in mid-August and ends in late May or early June. The school year is interrupted by several vacations: Fall break (week number 42), Christmas vacation, winter vacation (week number 10) and Easter break. Students attend school Monday through Friday.
Schools offering bilingual teaching (Finnish-English or Finnish-Russian)
- Kanervala School (age group 7-13)
- Lyseon peruskoulu (age group 13-16)
- The Finnish-Russian School of Eastern Finland (age group 7-16)
- Joensuun lyseon lukio ( General upper-secondary school, age group 16-19), International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme
All schools in Joensuu (in Finnish):
- Primary schools in Joensuu (age group 7-13)
- Primary schools in Joensuu (age group 13-16)
- Upper secondary schools in Joensuu (age group 16-19)
Schools offering bilingual teaching (Finnish-English) in Kuopio:
- Rajala Primary School (age group 7-12)
- Hatsala Classical School (age group 13-16)
- Kuopion Lyseon lukio High School (age group 16-19)