Client: Ministry of Social Affairs

Period: 2020-2021

The study of preschool education and childcare in Estonia maps the use, accessibility and flexibility of nursery and childcare service as well as the needs of parents in this regard, and presents a prognosis for childcare needs in Estonia until 2030. The current study is a follow-up study of a similar study carried out in 2015.
The study draws from the data from the Estonian Education Information System (EHIS), social services reporting (s-veeb) and the accounting data from municipalities, county level population prognosis from Statistics Estonia, as well as the results of two surveys carried out with education officials of municipalities and parents of preschool children. The survey of parents gathered responses about 4,583 children from 3,444 parents of preschool children aged 0–7. The survey of education officials was completed by 75 municipalities out of 79.

Based on the results of the study we propose suggestions to improve preschool education and childcare. The propositions include:
• to offer supportive measures more effectively the directions of their implementation must be more detailed;
• offering more temporal flexibility in childcare, opening times earlier or later than usual office hours and also the availability of childcare throughout summer, which is necessary for some parents to stay in employment;
• the necessity to review the conditions of preschool education.