Finnish kids are usually in kindergarten or in "perhepäivähoito" which roughly translates to "family day care". It means that a bunch of kids go to a private person and she's with them when the parents are at work or so. Kindergarten is a public place hosted by the state. At the age of 6 they go to pre-school (not me though because I skipped it). In pre-school we learn to count to 10 and to write alphabets and use scissors and other useful life skills.
In Finland we start school at the age of 7. I was born in January so it was possible for me to start it a year earlier (I had to go to tests where they tested if I was mature enough). The first 6 years, so from the age of 6 or 7 to the age of 12 or 13 we go to elementary school. So we're either 1st graders or 6th graders and everything between it. In some small schools they teach two classes at once, for example 1st and 2nd graders are in the same lesson. And in bigger schools they make smaller groups by dividing the classes to for example 1a 1b and 1c. We study subjects like math, religion, PE, Finnish and handicrafts throughout our elementary school. In 3rd grade (at the age of 9-10) we start to study English. In 5th grade we start to study physics and chemistry (they're a combined subject in elementary school) and history.
Our middle school (or junior high school if you will) lasts 3 years (grades 7.-9.). In 7th grade there are some new subjects such as Swedish, health studies, home economics and student counseling. We also have to choose whether we want to study technical handicraft (welding, circuits, sawing, wood, metals, soldering etc) or textile handicraft (making clothes, knitting, sewing etc). In 8th grade it gets interesting because we have finally the choice to choose from many alternatives. We have to choose 3 long subjects (they last 2 school years, 8th grade and 9th grade) and 1 short subject (it only lasts half a year, the spring semester of 8th grade). I chose German, home economics and arts as the long subjects and home economics baking course as the short subject. I could have chosen for example PE, French, music or I.T. as the long subject or for example Japanese or photography/videomaking course for the short one. Now, 5 years later I'm pleased with my choices. At least with the German =D In 9th grade history changes to social studies!
After 9th grade people are theoretically free to do whatever the fuck they want (some of them go to a 10th grade to fix their school skills, some try to get a job right away (good luck with that lol)). Most of us have to choose: either vocational school (where the studying is practical) or upper secondary school. I chose upper secondary school because I had no idea what occupation I would have chosen to study if I picked vocational school. My friend on the other hand chose vocational school and now by the time I've finished upper secondary school, she's ready for the work life. For example hair dressers, auto mechanics, chefs and people who work with audiovisual communication go to vocational school. Upper secondary school lasted 3 years but one can choose to do it in 3,5 years or even 4 years. We have new subjects: psychology and philosophy. An upper secondary school student chooses either long or short math (long is a lot harder and it lasts about 15 courses meanwhile the short maybe 8). Our finals are called "matriculation examination". Finnish is a mandatory subject to do. On top of that we have to choose either the long math or Swedish (I chose both of them) and two other subjects.
After upper secondary school people either go to college or to university. They aren't much different but it's practically impossible to get to university if you went to vocational school instead of upper secondary school. My entrance exams to university are in a month uh oh ://
Other fun facts:
We don't have school uniforms or dressing codes. At least in my school nobody cares if you go to school in your pajamas. If it's hot, people wear shorts and tops/t-shirts. If it's cold people wear jumpers and hoodies, simple as that.
Our school lunch is free. It's healthy but not very tasty. Anyways, free food so it's edible.
Kids who have trouble learning can have special assistance. They can attend to "tukiopetus" (something like support teaching, which means that the teachers will teach only them before or after school) or they'll go to a completely special class (smaller class size and the curriculum is changed).
Our school is free. Well not free free because it's paid with tax money but no tuitions etc! The school books are not free after 9th grade, though.