Rules for preschools and other pedagogical activities

Decided by the Education Committee 27.11.2019

Valid from 9.3.2020

The types of childcare institute

Preschool

Each municipality is responsible for offering preschool education for children registered as residents in the municipality. All children whose parents/guardians work, study, are actively seeking employment or are on parental leave have the right to attend preschool from the age of 1 until they start reception class at school. Places at preschool are subject to fees.

Open preschool – Familjecentralen Kotten

Open preschool is a meeting place for parents/guardians and children aged 0–6 years. There is no fee for this, and parents/guardians participate in the educational activities together with their children.

Universal preschool

All children are entitled to a universal preschool place from the autumn term of the year in which they have their third birthday. Universal preschool is free of charge and covers 15 hours a week (525 hours per year). Universal preschool runs from 1 September to 31 May. There is no preschool during June, July or August, compulsory school holidays, compulsory school teachers’ study days or preschool skills development days. Children with a normal preschool placement therefore have their preschool fee reduced during the period September to May from the year in which they have their third birthday.

Other pedagogical activities

Other pedagogical activities offer an alternative to preschool and leisure-time centres; these involve the children being cared for in the home of the person running the activity. This type of establishment is aimed at children aged 1–5. A place for such other pedagogical activities is subject to a fee.

Children with special needs

In cases other than those mentioned above, children shall also be offered a preschool or leisure-time centre place if they need special developmental support for other reasons. This is regulated in chapter 8 (sections 5 and 7) and chapter 14 (sections 6) of the Swedish Education Act. 6§.

Rules

Application

Parents/guardians and children who are registered or are about to register as residents in Älmhult Municipality, or want a place at preschool or other pedagogical activities in the municipality for other reasons, have the right to apply for a place.

Applications can be submitted to the Education Department via the e-service. The child is activated in the queue four months before the requested start date. It is therefore beneficial to submit applications earlier than this. Start dates cannot be provided during the summer holiday period i.e. calendar weeks 28–31. Start dates can also not be provided during the Christmas holidays. We also avoid start dates in June and December. This means that it is not possible to choose a desired start date during these periods.

Application for a place at a independently run establishment

Applications for the Kunskapsförskolan preschool can be submitted via the Education Department’s e-service. Applications for Virestad friskola are to be submitted directly to the preschool.

Offer of a place

A place is offered to children whose parents/guardians are working, studying, seeking employment or on parental leave with siblings in accordance with the Parental Leave Act and universal preschool for children aged 3–5.

Preschool education and other pedagogical activities are offered at the earliest from the day of the child’s first birthday.

Placement

Älmhult Municipality has a single queue for all municipal preschools and other pedagogical activities. This means that due regard is taken to the parent’s/guardian’s wishes when placements are made. However, placement at a specific establishment can not be guaranteed.

You can apply for a place in advance, but you can only count a maximum of 6 months queuing time. You will receive a confirmation that we have received your application. You are placed in the queue according to your registration date. If two children have the same registration date, the older child goes first. Children with older siblings at a preschool or other pedagogical activities are assigned places there ahead of children without siblings at such establishments.

If an older sibling already attends a preschool or other pedagogical activity, the younger child in the family is given priority when assigning places at that establishment, to the extent that places are available and the parent/guardian wishes it.

If the placement you accept is not your first choice and you want to subsequently transfer your child, you have to submit a new application.

Acceptance of a place that has been offered must be made within 14 days, via the e-service or to the municipal administrator. If no response is received, the offer will be revoked and a new application will have to be made if a placement is required.

The first introductory day is the same day as the start date of the placement. The introductory period is planned in consultation with the preschool and lasts for one to two weeks. The fee is also payable for the introductory period, and this period must start within two weeks of the date offered, otherwise the offer will be revoked and a new application will need to be made if a place is required.

Change of preschool

Applications for placement at a different preschool or other pedagogical activity (transfer) are made by submitting a new application via the e-service. Changes to different preschools are made in August or January, and the application must be submitted by no later than 1 April or 1 September, respectively, in order to allow a transfer to be made. The introductory period at the new preschool involves the presence of a parent/guardian. At other times of the year, new placements have priority over transfers.

Attendance hours

Preschools and other pedagogical activities are open between 6.30 am and 6.30 pm. If there is a need for childcare outside these normal opening hours, a written application has to be submitted to the relevant head of the preschool or other pedagogical activity.

Attendance at preschool is permitted during the time when parents/guardians are working or studying. The working hours of parents/guardians are calculated as running from the time at which the parent/guardian who starts last in the morning arrives at work to the time at which the parent/guardian who finishes first in the evening leaves work, as well as reasonable travel time between the preschool or other pedagogical activity and the workplace.

The child may attend between the times stated in the schedule submitted by the parents/guardians. The child may not attend the preschool or other pedagogical activity when a parent/guardian is on holiday from work. Schedule changes must be registered via the e-service at least 14 days before the new schedule begins to apply. Temporary changes in the schedule are to be discussed with the department staff.

In the case of shift work or night work, an agreement can be made with the head of the preschool or other pedagogical activity regarding the child’s attendance hours.

In the case of a parent/guardian studying, a study certificate/study schedule must be provided. The child’s attendance hours are determined in consultation between the head of the preschool or other pedagogical activity and the parents/guardians.

Parents/guardians who are at home due to receiving pregnancy benefit, being off work sick or being at home looking after a sick sibling may leave the child at a preschool or other pedagogical activity; attendance hours in such cases are decided in consultation with the preschool or other pedagogical activity.

If the parent/guardian is ill on a day on which the child is off according to the schedule and they are unable to take care of the child at home due to the illness, the child is allowed to attend during the required hours. If the parent/guardian is on sick leave for more than two months, an agreement is made with the head of the establishment regarding attendance hours.

People on hourly employment contracts

Parents/guardians who work on an hourly basis as a temporary substitute pay in line with the usual fees and are allowed to leave their children at a preschool or other pedagogical activity on the days on which the parents/guardians work. In the case of long interruptions in the child’s attendance at preschool, 15 hours of care per week are offered.

Job seeker and people on parental leave

Places at preschool are offered to children of job seeker and children of people on parental leave in accordance with the Parental Leave Act i.e. 15 hours/week, Education Act, chapter 8, section 6§.

Option 1: Three hours a day, five days a week 8 am – 11 am

Option 2: Five hours a day, three days a week, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9 am – 2 pm

Fee based on standard schedule of fees.

Universal preschool for children aged 3–5

Free universal preschool is offered to children aged 3–5 from the Autumn term the year the child turns three, as defined in the Education Act, chapter 8 section 4. The preschool should provide care for at least 525 hours a year. The child follows the academic year for the schools and is free during holidays, study days and on the preschool´s skills development days. The schedule is defined in the same way as for people who are unemployed or on parental leave.

Skills development days

In order to develop the skills of the teachers and improve the quality of childcare provided by the establishments, preschools close for four days per year. Information about the days on which this will occur shall be provided to the parents/guardians at least two months in advance.

If there is no alternative to the child attending on those days, childcare is provided at a different preschool. The preschool needs to be notified of this at least one month in advance. There is no fee reduction for such days.

To the greatest extent possible, parents/guardians are encouraged to arrange childcare themselves on such days. As compensation, parents/guardians have the opportunity for their child to attend the establishment on four other days of their choice per year, in consultation with staff. Children 1–3 years who is offered 15 hours/week can´t attend during the skills development days.

Temporary merging of activities

During the summer and Christmas holidays, preschools and other pedagogical activities work together and provide childcare at fewer establishments. This means that for a few weeks during the summer and Christmas holidays, childcare may be offered at establishments other than the children’s normal preschools. Children 1–3 years who is offered 15 hours/week can´t attend during the temporary merging days. Information about the dates of the parents’/guardians’ main holiday must be submitted no later than 31 March.

Cancellation of a place

A place must be cancelled via the e-service or in writing, at least 1 month before the child’s last day at the establishment. The period of notice is calculated from the day the notice is received by the Education Department. Fees are charged during the period of notice even if the child does not attend the establishment. A place at preschool is automatically converted into a place at a leisure-time centre on 1 August of the year the child starts reception class at school.

Cancellation of the place for the period from June to August does not provide exemption from the obligation to pay for the childcare during that time if the child returns to the preschool or other pedagogical activity during the autumn term of the same year.

If a place is not used for an entire month, it will be terminated by the provider, unless there are special reasons justifying the absence. A period of notice of one month applies in this case as well.

Fees

Fees are charged from the first day of attendance (inc. the introductory period) and for 12 months a year, regardless of the parents’/guardians’ holidays or other absence from work.

Information about the parents/guardians’ annual income must be submitted when the child is offered a place at a preschool or other pedagogical activity. The income details must be submitted to the Education Department no later than one week after the start of the placement, otherwise the highest fee will be charged. Changes in income should be registered in the e-service for preschools and other pedagogical activities. The change in income applies from the current month and cannot be applied retroactively. A new fee is charged from the date the change in income is registered in the system.

The monthly fee is based on the number of children in the family who attend preschool or other pedagogical activities, as well as the household’s total gross income per month. In the case of married/cohabiting/registered partners, both incomes are used in the calculation of the fee, regardless of whether or not they are both legal guardians of the child(ren).

Schedule changes that affect the fee must be registered in the e-service by no later than the last day of the month before the schedule change comes into effect. The fee is always based on the schedule registered in the system when invoicing takes place.

In cases in which a child’s parents/guardians have joint custody but are separated and the child lives with both of them at different times, and both the parents/guardians require childcare, each of them is to be charged based on their respective household incomes. Two fees are thus payable for one child, but the sum of these may not exceed the fee ceiling for one child.

In the case of children aged 3–5 whose parents/guardians are working or studying, a fee is charged taking into account the fee ceiling and a reduction for universal preschool (i.e. a deduction of about 30% of the fee calculated using the fee ceiling). This reduction is made from September to May and thus does not apply during the summer holidays.

For self-employed people with their own company, their income tax return forms the basis for calculating the fee, or an estimate of what income the company is likely to generate is used if it has only recently been established.

Access to a place may be withheld if the fee is not paid, despite a final demand having been issued.

Information about fees for preschools and other pedagogical activities, as well as what remuneration and welfare benefits are to be included in the income used to calculate fees, is available on the “Preschool fees” page.