Childhood and Education in Finland
The path to life-long learning starts from early education 
  • Early Childhood Education in Finland starts at the age of one: Play, artistic actitivities and opportunities to learn by doing are provided to children from birth
  • Families with children are supported by the State: Education is free in pre-, primary and secondary school levels and children's physical and cognitive development is regularly evaluated and observed by healthcare professionals in coordination with schools 
"A central objective is to provide all citizens with equal opportunities."
~ Finnish Ministry of Education
see more Finnish Education in a Nutshell
Creating equal opportunities through a combination of care and education
The Finnish Early Childhood Education approach is based on the National Education Policy Guidelines  (2011–2016, 2012).
Based on the 'EDUCARE' approach, the system combines  care and education: The pedagogical practices are formulated to offer equal opportunities for each child, to promote sociability, and to reduce differences in capabilities through the identification of and early intervention in any  learning difficulties.
The national ECE curriculum guidelines in Finland build on a holistic view of children’s growth, development, and learning, including cross-disciplinary pedagogical knowledge and didactic expertise.
The teacher's role is to support and guide children to become conscious of their own learning abilities, emphasising that they themselves can influence their own  style and success in learning. 
Learning requires high-quality teacher training 
The basic principle is that all people must have equal access to high-quality education and training. This requires state-funded teacher education.
Teacher education for early childhood education is located in higher education faculties where it is based on studies of educational science together with approaches of childhood, psychology, sociology, cultural studies and didactical contexts.
In Finland, a warm and personal relationship between teachers and children creates a basis for learning. Teachers’ commitment to the learning situation creates sensitivity tochildren’s feelings and personal well-being. Teachers are advised to listen to children, and provide opportunities for them to show initiative, decide on their activities, explore, draw conclusions, and express their thoughts.
Learning is a partnership
Teachers and parents benefit from regular empowering guidance to support the age-specific cognitive developments of children. Under this learning partnership, teachers inform parents about the learning and development of their children, while the parents - are considered "the best experts in their child" - are also expected to inform teachers about their childrens' life experiences,, interests and activities.
Schools and teachers are not evaluated or compared - there are no official ranking tables: the system is based on trust and responsibility.