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HELSINKI

In the future, Helsinki will offer children nearing the preschool age and their guardian, a preschool place without an application.

According to a statement by the city, there are no forms to fill nor are there any calls required. The guardian will receive an SMS message, and the place can be accepted by answering it.

More than 90 percent of the preschool-aged children (six years) are already participating in Helsinki’s early childhood education, and so their data has been submitted to the city’s digital system.

Utilization of the data makes it possible to carry out the experiment starting on January 7, where a preschool place is offered to the child and their guardian without a separate application.

Tests in two childhood education areas

The proactive offering of a preschool place is tested in January 2020 in two early childhood education areas in different parts of Helsinki.

The neighborhoods that make up the early childhood education areas are Kulosaari; Herttoniemi; Laajasalo; Malminkartano; Kannelmäki; Hakuninmaa; Maununneva; Kuninkaantammi; Länsi-Pakila; Itä-Pakila; Maunula; Tuomarinkylä; Torpparinmäki; Oulunkylä.

A preschool place is offered to guardians whose home address is located in the pilot project areas mentioned above.

If the experiment is successful, then the objective is to offer a preschool place proactively in all of Helsinki’s early childhood education areas. Using the same technology, it may also be possible to replace other manual applications, such as the application for a school place.

“The tested arrangement eases the workload not only for the guardians of the children but also for the directors of the daycare centers, as the processing of paper applications will mainly be eliminated,” the city says in the statement.

Despite the automation, the proactive offering of a preschool place does not force the guardian to accept the place offered. If they do not want to accept the place being offered, then they can dismiss the offer with an SMS message and apply for another place by filling in an electronic application form in the city’s e-services portal.

The official decisions are sent out in March to those who have accepted the offer and to those who have participated in the application phase.