Last updated: 3 10 2018

Image Boken om Sverige
This material is from the book About Sweden.

Childcare is a collective name for educational activities for younger children. Childcare encompasses such activities as preschools, family day nurseries and after-school recreation centres. Children can be there while their parents are working or studying.

Municipal childcare is offered in all municipalities. There are also independent and private childcare facilities run by companies or organisations. Children aged between one and five are entitled to attend preschool or a family day nursery. If you are a jobseeker or taking parental leave for the child's younger siblings, the older child has a right to about three hours of childcare per day, or 15 hours per week.


Preschool is also called nursery or kindergarten. This is a place where children aged between one and five spend the days, prior to them beginning preschool class or year one of school. Preschools have a specific method and educational philosophy. Preschools also have a curriculum. This is a text that says what the children are to learn. All preschools use the Swedish curriculum.

Open preschool

An open preschool is a meeting place for parents who are taking parental leave and their children. At open preschools there are trained staff and it is a good place to get to know other parents and children. Open preschools can be found in many municipalities in Sweden.

Preschool class

All children are given a place in a preschool class the year they turn six. It is also sometimes called the school introduction programme for six-year olds. In the preschool class, the children prepare for compulsory school before starting year one.

After-school recreation centre

Children aged six to twelve have the right to go to an after-school recreation centre before and after school. Their parents must work or study in order for the children to be allowed to go to the after-school recreation centre. The after-school recreation centre is often in the same building as the school. Children aged ten to twelve can go to an open recreation facility which is usually close to the school.

Family day nursery/educational care

Some childcare is called educational care or family day nursery. A person with educational training accepts children into their home, provides care and has preschool facilities, including educational activities. Children who go to school can go to a family day nursery after school. This then functions as an after-school recreation centre.

Cooperation with parents

Parents are important to childcare. They know their children best. A parent comes with the child when they are start going to preschool or family day nursery and stays until the child feels secure. This is called acclimatisation and usually lasts for about two weeks. Staff at preschools and after-school recreation centres usually invite parents in to discuss progress. The staff then describe how the child is doing at the preschool and how they are developing. Parents also have the opportunity to say how you think things are working out at the preschool.

Apply for a childcare place

To get a place at preschool or after-school recreation centre, you must apply. You apply to the municipality. There are different rules in different municipalities, but you usually have to apply for a place several months in advance. Your child must be at least one year old to begin preschool.