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10k children to take part in Finnish preschool trial

The aim of the trial is to determine the impact of starting education one year earlier than the current six years.

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A preschool classroom, file photo. Image: Saga Mannila / Yle

Finland is planning a preschool trial involving 10,000 youngsters to see the effects that extended early preschool programmes can have on children, according to the Ministry of Education and Culture.

The aim of the trial is to determine how such a programme would affect a child's development, learning, social skills and self esteem. The government issued a proposal for the trial on Monday.

The intention of the experiment is to determine the impact of starting formal education one year earlier than the current six years. A number of municipalities across Finland will participate in the trial, during which policymakers hope to discover the potential impact of longer pre-school education on learning outcomes and gender equality.

The ministry said a separate curriculum will be created for the test group, with results of the experiment to be evaluated in a post-trial research project.

The two-year experiment is scheduled to begin in August 2021, with around 10,000 children born during 2016 and 2017 to take part.

Participating municipalities and the locations of the special preschools are still to be specified.

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