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Kindergarten teachers worried about hourly daycare model

A fee model that only charges parents for the number of hours their child spends in daycare may lead to children missing out on crucial early childhood education.

Lapsia tarhassa hiekkalaatikolla.
Are children missing out on crucial education? Image: Henrietta Lehtinen / Yle

Chair of the Kindergarten Teachers Union of Finland, Anitta Pakkanen says she is worried about the hourly daycare fee model – meaning that parents only pay for the number of hours that their child spends in the care of early childhood education specialists.

Pakkanen says that a fee system based on hours attended can lead to children simply being carted off to daycare to eat and sleep.

"Parents run the numbers and don't necessarily bear in mind when their young children should receive education," she says.

Pakkanen says that the system has already been tested in Jyväksylä and Oulu. Tampere is currently piloting the hourly system in three of its daycare centres.

Children's days fragmented

Pakkanen says she fears that hourly daycare billing will lead to care days that are patchier than ever.

"If a child is only brought in at lunch time, they will miss out on the morning's most efficient activity and playtime, which is when friendships are formed," she says. "The legal minimums on planned and goal-oriented early childhood education will not be fulfilled if kids are carted back and forth throughout the week willy nilly."

Pakkanen says she hopes that parents will not look for easement to their family's economy by saving on daycare costs.

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