I believe this is only the second year in Finland, when it is mandatory to attend preschool the year a child turns 6. Preschool here equals 20 hours a week of early childhood education here, and is supposed to prepare the children for “the real school” the next year when they turn 7.
This means, that my daughter began her formal education last week. On Monday she came home, tiptoed around and said “I feel like I am a really big girl now”. Awwww. To be exact, the preschool didn’t even start until Thursday, she just had care in the premises of the preschool for the 3 first days of the week.
Preschool doesn’t bring any big changes for us: her preschool is just down the hall from where she went to daycare before. She already knows the preschool teachers and was eg having lunch with every so often last spring. Fees vary a bit for us from last year, since, like all education in Finland, preschool is free. But not having 2 children in daycare means we loose the sibling discount at daycare and pay more for the care of her little brother. The preschool also provides afternoon care and care on school holidays (but no education), and that we pay for, so in total it ends up being almost the same amount as before. That’s alright with me, I think fees here are very reasonable.
So far it’s all been good. The biggest problem has been for us parents to remember that we shouldn’t count on dad doing things with both kids during the week anymore (he works a week on, a week off) – Our daughter needs to be at school!
When I on Friday asked her how the week had been, she replied she hadn’t learned anything but it had been fun. But if she’s supposed to learn something she’d better watch “olipa kerran planeetta maa” (“once upon a time there was a planet called Earth”, originally something incomprehensible in French), “it’s much more informative”. It’s a good one for sure but hope she’ll learn something this year at preschool too…