Families with children under school age

Maternity and child welfare clinics

Maternity and child welfare clinics monitor pregnancy, the mother’s and the baby’s health, and the child’s growth and development until the age of seven.
The clinics also support families’ well-being and parenting, and if necessary, parents are offered advice in matters concerning upbringing.

Day care

In Finland, families are offered day care, which allows parents to work or study. Day care is organised in day-care centres or in family day care, at the child-minder’s home, for example.

Pre-primary education

Pre-primary education is for all children under school age for one year before school. Children are usually enrolled in pre-primary education the year in which they turn six. They learn through playing and activities with other children and are thus better prepared for school. In Finland, pre-primary education is offered at day-care centres and schools.

Families with schoolchildren

Basic education

All children aged seven and over must go to school, i.e. education is compulsory, but only until a child turns 17. Basic education encompasses primary school (years 1-6) and secondary school (years 7-9). Basic education is free in Finland. In addition to teaching, books and other materials as well as school dinners are free in basic education. After basic education, many teenagers continue studying in general or vocational upper secondary education.

Instructive preparation for basic education

Instructive preparation for basic education is for children whose Finnish language skills are not sufficient to study in a pre-primary or basic education group. The language skills are assessed by professionals, not the children’s parents. The instructive preparation for basic education focuses primarily on the Finnish language.

Morning and afternoon activities

Children can participate in morning either before or after school. These activities are mainly intended for pupils in years one and two.

Student welfare services

Student welfare services promote learning, well-being and health among schoolchildren. Adults working at schools are involved in these services. Schools also offer health services for pupils, and they are supported by a social worker and psychologist, who work together with the parents.

Youth work

Youth work supports young people’s growth and well-being. It includes activities such as clubs, camps, events, music and sports.

Other key services for families

Child and family counselling services

Child and family counselling centres offer help in matters concerning parenting and family life. Parents can seek help when they are worried about their child’s behaviour, for example, or when the family is grieving and worried.

Family mediation

Family mediation services offer help if there is a rift between members of a family. The reason for mediation is often a threat of divorce. Participation in family mediation is always voluntary, and it can involve some or all of the family members.