The pre-school class
The preschool class is a voluntary form of school within the school system. Municipalities are required to offer children a place in a preschool class from the autumn term of the year in which a child turns six until the child begins compulsory schooling.
Preschool classes share the same curriculum, Lpo 11, as compulsory schools and out-of-school centres. The curriculum sets out fundamental values and tasks, national objectives and guidelines for preschools, etc. From the autumn term of the year in which a child turns six, municipalities must offer all children a place in a preschool class. Children may be admitted earlier. The preschool class comprises a minimum of 525 hours per year and is free of charge.
Today, approximately 96 per cent of all six-year-olds attend a preschool class. The proportion of five-year-olds in preschool classes is just over one per cent, while the figure for seven-year-olds is around one per cent. A small proportion of the total number of six-year-olds, one per cent, are enrolled in compulsory schools.
The aim of education in preschool classes is to stimulate pupils' development and learning and to prepare them for further schooling. The education is to be based on a holistic view of the pupil and the pupil's needs. Preschool classes are intended to promote a broad spectrum of contacts and social community. They include play and creativity as vital components of active learning. The aim of the preschool class is to bridge the gap between the preschool and school systems. Its identity comes from the combination of pre-school and compulsory school working procedures and methods.
Within the framework of the Education Act and curriculum, the municipality or the private organiser of a preschool class is free to decide how the activities are to be run. Most municipalities and private organisers have chosen to integrate their preschool classes into the same premises as compulsory schools and out-of-school centres. Many of them have also chosen to integrate their activities so that they work together every day.