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Early childhood education
Helsinki has numerous city-owned and private day-care centres (päiväkoti). Finnish or Swedish is spoken in city-owned day-care centres. Most day-care centres are Finnish-speaking.
If you are applying for a position in a city-owned day-care centre, submit your application at least four months before the beginning of the care period. You can apply for a day-care placement from the city if your family has an address in Helsinki.
You can apply for a day-care placement online. Finnish online banking credentials are required to use the electronic form. In addition, your child must have a Finnish personal identity code. If you cannot use the electronic form, print the application form from the city website. Take or post the filled form to the day-care provider you are primarily applying for. The contact information for day-care centres is available on the city website.
You can ask about early childhood education and applying for a day-care place from the Daycare and Education Guidance service.
There are also private day-care centres in Helsinki where English, Russian, German, French or Spanish is spoken. In Helsinki, there is also an Islamic day-care centre where Arabic is spoken.
If you are applying for a place for your child in a private day-care centre, contact the day-care centre of your choice directly.
Read more: Early childhood education .
Your child must attend preschool education at a municipal or private day-care centre. In Helsinki, a few schools also provide preschool education. Preschool education is free-of-charge and starts in August.
Apply for a preschool education place for your child in January of the year when your child turns 6 years old. Apply for the place through the city’s electronic services. To apply, you need online banking credentials and your child must have a Finnish personal identity code. If you cannot apply for a preschool education place through electronic services, you can fill in and print the application form from the city website or get a printed form from a city-owned day-care centre. Bring the filled-in form to your preferred day-care centre personally.
If your child needs day care after preschool, remember to mark in the form that your child will attend early childhood education.
Read more on the organisation of preschool education in Finland on the InfoFinland page Preschool education . You can find more information and a list of day-care centres on the City of Helsinki website. You can also ask for more information from a day-care centre director.
There are many comprehensive schools (peruskoulu) in Helsinki. In addition to the city schools, private and state-owned schools are available. Studying in a private school may be subject to a fee.
In city schools, the language of instruction is Finnish or Swedish. In Helsinki, there are also private schools whose language of instruction is, for example, English, German, French or Russian.
Children must be enrolled in comprehensive school at the beginning of a year. You can register your child for school online or visit the school on the registration day. The registration day is specified on the website of the City of Helsinki.
If a pupil’s Finnish language skills are not good enough for comprehensive school studies in a Finnish-speaking school, he/she may be provided with preparatory education. This education prepares the child for studies in a comprehensive school. The preparatory education teaches Finnish language and comprehensive school subjects.
You can ask about comprehensive education and schools in Helsinki from the Daycare and Education Guidance service.
Read more about comprehensive school in Helsinki in the Introduction to school guide.
Read more: Basic education .
Comprehensive education for adults
The Helsinki Upper Secondary School for Adults (Helsingin aikuislukio) has a study programme for over 17-year-old immigrants, which enables you to complete the entire comprehensive school curriculum or portions of it. More information is available on the website of the Helsinki Upper Secondary School for Adults.
Other upper secondary schools for adults also provide comprehensive education for adults. The contact information for the upper secondary schools for adults can be found on the City of Helsinki website.
Helsinki Upper Secondary School for AdultsBasic education for adult immigrantsLink redirects to another website
Institute of Adult Education in HelsinkiBasic education for adult immigrantsLink redirects to another website
Afternoon activities for schoolchildren
The City of Helsinki organises afternoon activities for 1st and 2nd graders at schools and playgrounds after the school day. The afternoon activities are arranged during the school year on weekdays no later than 5 pm. The activities at the playgrounds are free-of-charge and open to all. You can register your child for the afternoon activities at playgrounds with a registration form. Return the form to the playground for which you primarily want to register.
Native-language education for immigrants
Children whose native language is not Finnish or Swedish may receive education in their native language. In Helsinki, native-language education is provided for immigrants in over 40 languages.
You can ask about native-language education from the Daycare and Education Guidance service.
Daycare and Education Guidance service
If you have questions about the Finnish day care and school system, playground or club activities, you can contact the education guidance service. You can ask for advice on applying to a day-care centre or school.
- Switchboard 09 310 8600, Mon–Fri 8:00–16:00
- Education guidance service: +358 9 310 44986, on weekdays at 10 am–12 noon and 1 pm–3 pm (service also in English)
- Day-care and school guidance for international families in Finnish and English by email and by booking an appointment: eduguidance(at)hel.fi
International House HelsinkiDay care and school guidance for foreign-language familiesLink redirects to another website
Vocational training and education
Helsinki Vocational College is the largest vocational institute (ammatillinen oppilaitos) in Finland, where you can study a variety of fields. In addition to this, Helsinki boasts other vocational institutes. Apply for vocational education through the joint application process.
Helsinki Vocational College organises training that prepares immigrants for vocational education. The preparatory education is intended for young people and adults who are interested in vocational studies and wish to improve their Finnish-language skills. The preparatory education lasts for one school term or year. You can ask about the preparatory education from the guidance and service office of Helsinki Vocational College.
Tel. (09) 310 8415
Read more: Vocational education .
Upper secondary school
There are many upper secondary schools in Helsinki. Helsinki also boasts numerous schools where languages other than Finnish or Swedish are spoken. In addition to the daytime upper secondary school for young people, Helsinki has three upper secondary schools for adults (aikuislukio).
Helsinki organises education for immigrants to prepare them for upper secondary school. The training lasts for one school year and prepares students for upper secondary school studies.Preparatory education is intended for young people and adults who wish to study at an upper secondary school but whose language skills are not good enough for upper secondary school studies. The education is organised at the Vuosaari and Alppila upper secondary schools. Education intended for adults is organised at the Helsinki Upper Secondary School for Adults (Helsingin aikuislukio).
Read more: Upper secondary school .
Support and guidance for young people
If you are under 30 years of age, you can get advice and guidance from the Ohjaamo service. If you do not have a job or a study place, the Ohjaamo personnel will help you. You can also ask about other matters, such as housing or personal finances.
tel.: 040 70 46 818
In Helsinki, you can complete higher education studies in a variety of fields. There are both universities and universities of applied sciences in Helsinki.
The majority of the higher education is provided in Finnish. However, education in English is available in nearly all institutes of higher education. There is one Swedish-language university and one Swedish-language university of applied sciences in Helsinki.
The contact information for the institutes of higher education can be found on the City of Helsinki website. Application instructions and more detailed information on study programmes are available on the websites of the institutes themselves.
Other study opportunities
Helsinki boasts a wealth of study opportunities that are available to everyone. These studies are usually subject to a fee.
You can complete higher education studies at the Open University or at the open universities of applied sciences. These studies are open for everyone. The Open University and the open universities of applied sciences offer plenty of courses in English, too.
The City of Helsinki has a Finnish-language adult education centre (työväenopisto) and Swedish-language adult education centre. At the adult education centres, you can study languages, crafts and music, for example. The selection is extremely varied. The majority of the education in adult education centres is provided in Finnish or Swedish. In addition, the adult education centres organise courses in English and Russian.
Adult Education Centre of the City of Helsinki
Customer service tel. 09 310 88610
Swedish Adult Education Centre Arbis
Tel. 09 310 49494
Read more: Studying as a hobby .