At the age of six, children can begin pre-school class. This is a bridge between pre-school and regular school, enabling the child to become used to the school environment, staff and methods of instruction through use of play. There is a strong focus on preparatory activities, such as preparatory reading and mathematics. The children also practice the art of listening, and learn how to understand and follow instructions.
The pre-school class lasts about three hours per day and is usually housed in a compulsory school. During the rest of the day, most of the children go to school-age childcare. This is normally handled through placement at a leisure-time centre, but placement at a childminder is also possible at several places in Umeå. The pre-school class follows the normal school year schedule and is free of charge. A fee at the current rate is charged for the time the child is in school-age childcare.
From the age of seven, children are subject to compulsory school attendance and are always registered at a compulsory school near their home. No special application is required. If the parent/guardian wants the child to attend a different compulsory school in the municipality, an application must be submitted. If special circumstances exist, the guardian can apply for the child to start school at the age of eight.
Education in municipal compulsory schools is free of charge for students. They are given access to books, writing materials, tools and other aids needed for their education at no charge. To be able to carry out certain activities outside of school, such as study visits, excursions, school camps and field days, the school must bear the expense or use funds from projects or other external financing.
Beginning multilingual education
Hedlundaskolan in central Umeå has special classes for children who moved to the area from another country and who do not speak Swedish as their mother tongue. Students attend these classes for 1–2 years before being placed in a school near their home. Read more by following the Mother tongue link in the right-hand column.
Care before and after the school day
Any child attending pre-school class or grade 1–6 who needs care before and after the school day can be given a place at a leisure-time centre or a family day-care home. Placement at a leisure-time centre is offered in the parishes. The childcare services are situated near the school the child attends.
Placement at a leisure-time centre or family day-care home is subject to a fee. A guardian can apply for placement for the time period they are working, studying or looking for work. School-age childcare is also offered during school holidays. Children of job seekers are entitled to keep their placement at the leisure-time centre without time limit.
Umeå also has night-time care available for children aged 1–12 whose parents work during inconvenient working hours (evenings, nights and weekends). Read more about this in the right-hand column.