Saturday, 1 June 2013

Daycare in Helsinki

So I started working again so my daughter is now in daycare. Most of the day care centres here are state run and operated. So the standard of care is pretty uniform. There are some private day care centres but they are mostly specialized in that they use a special method or philosophy in child rearing, like Steiner or Montessori. Or they teach the children a foreign language or about ecology and nature. Because the day care centres are state run they are subsidized and cost a maximum of 263 euros a month. Depending on your salary you may pay less or nothing at all. And some mothers who do not work also put their children in daycare. The private day care centres cost more. But you can get some financial support from the state to pay for the private daycare. So many of the English language centres I called cost between four hundred to seven hundred euros after state subsidies. 

None of the English speaking daycare centres are close to our home and they are a bit expensive in my opinion so we opted for regular public day care. It has been almost three months since our daughter started day care and it has been great. I was worried that I was not doing the right thing by sending her to day care at one and a half years old. Because all the child development experts say it is best for small children to be at home with their care giver until up to two or three years old. And for the first two weeks it really tore my heart to see her cry when we left her. But it has been the best decision we could have made. She loves it there and she is learning so many new things. Her Finnish vocabulary is growing very rapidly and she can now count from two to ten in Finnish (not that she understands what she is saying). She has also learned to drink from a mug by herself.

She is so active and social that it is the best place for her to be as there are lots of people around and lots of things to do. They sometimes take trips to the library or the marketplace square or nature areas. And last month the entire day care centre put on a circus performance for the parents.

The daycare centre opens at 6:15. We drop our daughter off at 8:00 at which time they feed them breakfast. After breakfast they read, sing nursery rhymes, count, talk about the weather, the day's schedule and play games. Then they play outside from 9:30 to 11:30. 11:00 is lunch tim and then the children nap from 12:00 to 2:00. They have a snack when they wake up and then go outside to play again until we pick her up. There are also 24 hour day care centres for parents who do shift work. All the meals are provided by the day care. They have a cook onsite who cooks all the day's meals. The meals are regular home cooked Finnish food like fish soup and berry fool. The personnel all seem very nice and Emilia sometimes cries to see them leave in the afternoon or when she leaves to come home with us. But she always has a big smile and happy greeting shouting "moi!" when we arrive to pick her up. I think that the day care is worth every penny and I am very satisfied with it thus far.

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