Tasks and objectives of early childhood education and care: Act on Early Childhood Education and Care 540/2018
The Act on Early Childhood Education and
Care contains provisions on a child’s right to early childhood education and care and the aims
of ECEC. Under the Act, the aim of early childhood education and care is to:
- promote the holistic growth, development, health and wellbeing of every child according to the child’s age and development;
- support the conditions for the child’s learning and promote lifelong learning and the implementation of equality in education;
- carry out versatile pedagogical activities based on the child’s play, physical activity, arts and cultural heritage, and enable positive learning experiences;
- ascertain that the child’s early childhood education and care environment fosters development and learning and is healthy and safe;
- safeguard an approach that respects children and ensure that the interpersonal relationships between the children and the early childhood education and care staff are as stable and long-standing as possible;
- provide all children with equal opportunities for early childhood education and care, promote parity and gender equality, and help the children develop their capacity to understand and respect the general cultural heritage and each other’s linguistic, cultural, religious and ideological background;
- recognise the child’s need for individual support and provide the child with appropriate support in early childhood education and care, including support involving multiprofessional cooperation where necessary;
- develop the child’s interpersonal and interaction skills, promote the child’s ability to act in a peer group, and guide the child towards ethically responsible and sustainable action, respect of other people and membership of society;
- ensure that the children can participate in and influence matters concerning them;
- act together with the child and the child’s parents or other persons who have custody of the child for the benefit of the child’s balanced development and holistic wellbeing, and support the parents or other persons who have custody of the child in their task of bringing up the child.
When organising early childhood education and care, municipalities shall collaborate with those responsible for education, physical activity and culture, child welfare and other social welfare, maternity and child health clinics and other healthcare, and with any other organisations as needed.
Children’s right to obtain healthcare and social welfare services and supportive measures in support of their development and wellbeing is subject to the provisions in the Social Welfare Act (1301/2014), the Act on Services and Assistance for the Disabled (380/1987), the Act on Special Care for People with Intellectual Disabilities (519/1977), the Health Care Act (1326/2010) and the provisions on healthcare and social welfare services elsewhere in the law. Where necessary, the organiser and provider of early childhood education and care shall collaborate with those responsible for healthcare and social welfare to comprehensively assess, plan and implement the support and services needed by the child.
Municipalities shall ensure that a child can get early childhood education and care in Finnish or Swedish, or in Sami Languages (1086/2003), depending on which of these is the child’s mother tongue.