The participation of women in work-life, whether at home or elsewhere, has always required the organization of childcare. The cradle in the cottage might have been rocked by a foster grandmother, a servant, or a sibling. Sometimes parents had no choice but to leave children alone, and at other times, children were simply taken along to work. When heading out to the fields, a baby could be hung in a shawl from a birch branch to swing and stay hidden from snakes.
In affluent households, considerable effort was made to find a suitable caregiver for the child. A nursemaid or wet nurse could sometimes be closer to the child than their own mother and father.
The developing industrialization led to the establishment of nurseries in factory environments. This led to the concept of childcare and supervision outside the home. Public daycare in not only offered education to children but also provided meals, which was a significant help for often economically disadvantaged factory workers. The position of a nursery school teacher also created a new professional opportunity for educated women.
As society developed, the creation of the daycare system was seen as part of the progress towards equality and children’s right to good education and care. Early childhood education had goals; it was no longer just a place to store children.
In Hämeenlinna, private daycare services began with Ms Siiri Böök in the early 1900s. The city’s organized daycare did not start until 1927, when there were more children in need of care than the daycare centers could accommodate. It wasn’t until after World War II that the city began official municipal daycare.