Opiskelevarhaiskasvatusta.fi is a shared digital study portal of five organizations offering studies in early childhood education in vocational and higher levels in the Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland. These organizations are: Educational Consortium OSAO, Diakonia College of Finland (SDO), Diaconia University of Applied Sciences (Diak), Oulu University of Applied Sciences (Oamk) and University of Oulu.

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Finland

Early childhood education and care refers to a planned and goal-oriented entity of education, upbringing and care, with an emphasis on pedagogy. In Finland ECEC covers ages 0 – 7. ECEC is regulated by the Early Childhood Education and Care Act (540/2018) and there is a national core curriculum on ECEC that is followed in every ECEC centers across the country.

Becoming a professional in ECEC in Finland

To become a professional in ECEC in Finland, you can study in an upper secondary level in vocational schools or in a higher level in universities or universities of applied sciences.

An upper secondary level: vocational schools

  • Educational Consortium OSAO

    Upper secondary level education

    Vocational Qualification in Social and Health Care, Practical Nurse

    Qualification is taught in Finnish.

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  • Diakonia College of Finland

    Upper secondary level education

    Vocational Qualification in Child Care and Education, Children’s Instructor

    Vocational Qualification in Social and Health Care, Practical Nurse

    Qualifications are taught in Finnish.

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A higher level: universities or universities of applied sciences

  • University of Oulu

    Higher level education

    Early Childhood Education Programme, Bachelor and Master of Arts (Education)

    Special Education Programme, Bachelor and Master of Arts (Education)



    Degree programmes are taught in Finnish.

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  • Oulu University of Applied Sciences

    Higher level education

    Bachelor’s degree programme in Social Services and Health Care, Bachelor of Social Services

    Degree programme is taught in Finnish.

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  • Diaconia University of Applied Sciences

    Higher level education

    Bachelor’s degree programme in Social Services and Health Care, Bachelor of Social Services, Early childhood education in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland

    Bachelor’s degree programme in Social Services and Health Care, Bachelor of Social services

    Degree programmes are taught in Finnish.

    detailspreview

Professions in ECEC in Finland

Most of the ECEC professionals work either in public or private ECEC centers. However, there are also need for ECEC professionals in different kind of third sector organizations as well as in the public field (eg. culture institutions) and in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. There are also family daycare givers, who provide care in a domestic setting.

The qualification requirements for the ECEC professions are specified in the Early Childhood Education and Care Act (540/2018).

A childcarer in ECEC
To qualify as a childcarer in early childhood education and care in Finland, you must complete a Vocational Qualification in Education and Guidance, or a Vocational Qualification in Social and Health Care or other equivalent qualification as well as a sufficient amount of training in the care, upbringing and education of children.
A social pedagogue in ECEC
To qualify as a social pedagogue in early childhood education and care in Finland, you must complete a Bachelor’s degree in Social Services and Health Care at a university of applied sciences and at least 60 credits of studies in early childhood education and social pedagogy.
A teacher in ECEC
To qualify as a teacher in early childhood education and care in Finland, you must complete a Bachelor’s degree in education and at least 60 credits of studies providing professional competencies in early childhood education and care.
A special education teacher in ECEC
To qualify as a special education teacher in early childhood education and care, you must have qualified as a teacher in early childhood education and care and have completed studies providing professional competence for special needs education; or have a master’s degree in education, majoring in special education (special education teacher training in early childhood education).
A head of an early childhood education center (starting from 1.1.2030)
To qualify as a head of an ECEC center in Finland, you must have qualified as a teacher in early childhood education and care or as a social pedagogue in early childhood education and care, and have a Master’s degree in education, as well as sufficient management skills.
A family daycare giver (providing care in a domestic setting)
To qualify as a family daycare giver in Finland, you must have a vocational qualification in family daycare or other equivalent qualification.

Recognition of ECEC qualifications in Finland

If you have completed your qualification abroad and wish to gain eligibility for an ECEC profession in Finland, you will need a decision from the Finnish National Agency for Education recognizing your qualification.

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Osaava - Moving forward with knowledge in early childhood education

Opiskelevarhaiskasvatusta.fi website has been produced in collaboration with five organizations in OsaaVa – Moving forward with knowledge in early childhood education -project. The project is funded by the EU and the leader of the project is Oulu University of Applied Sciences (Oamk). The co-operating participants of the project are Diaconia University of Applied Sciences (Diak), Diakonia College of Finland (SDO), Educational Consortium OSAO and University of Oulu. The purpose of the project is to develop methods that will help students make transitions between different education levels and integrate into working life in the field of early childhood education. The aim of the project is also to develop methods for enhancing the attractiveness of those training programs and men’s employment in the field. The project duration is 1.4.2020 - 31.5.2022. More information in Finnish: OsaaVa -hanke