The Guide to Early Childhood Education in Germany

Early Childhood Education in Germany

Are you planning to move to Germany with your school-going children, or do you want to send them to a German school? There are many things regarding preschool in Germany that expatriates don’t understand. Here is what you need to know.

Nursery School

They also refer to this level as the kindergarten, and they usually enrol pupils for this stage in spring. A child has to have attained 3 years to go to a kindergarten. Upon the parents’ approval and the child’s consent, he/she can go for the morning session that runs from 8 am to noon or opt for the afternoon one from 2 pm to 5 pm. The costs for a kindergarten education are different for assorted schools. State-run kindergartens charge between 70 and EUR 120 every month while self-sponsored ones charge between 150 and EUR 200.

If you wish for your young one to stay in the kindergarten the whole day, you can find a school that allows it although it might be difficult to secure a place in such an institution as they tend to be few.

Children Under Three

Children between 1 and 3 years old attend a kinderkrippen, which is an entire day-care usually at day nurseries. However, you might struggle to find a slot for your kid, and if so, it might be easier to look for a ‘Day Mother’ who is also known as a Tagesmütter. Such women usually take care of young children in their homes. You will also find lots of advertisements from babysitters who usually charge per hour for childcare.

Afternoon Child Care

Working parents can benefit from institutions referred to as Horte since it is hard to find an all-day school in Germany. These are meant to supplement childcare services. They are usually open the whole afternoon, and you will be pleased to know that social workers will provide them with food and help them in completing their homework. The children will also be kept busy through games and excursions.

Mostly, children between the ages of 1 and 3 years will be taken care of by childminders, nannies or go to a private nursery since preschool in Germany is voluntary. Since 2013, every child aged 1 year has a right to be in a place that offers childcare services, and the state is looking to subsidise them.

Children between 3 and 6 years also have a legal right to be in a preschool and specific after-school clubs. Those over 6 are entitled to a wrap-around care usually at school. However, not every school has this service.

Fortunately, most day-cares charge very fair rates. Nurseries charge between EUR 70 and 150 for each child on a monthly basis. Low-income families benefit from subsidies that are usually available. This, however, is different for each region and it depends on the number of hours required to take care of the children and the whole family’s earnings. It is possible to be charged more by some institutions if they take care of the child for longer periods or if they have to offer them additional meals.

The state has taken it upon them to find preschool slots for every 3-6 year-olds and nursery placements for around one-third of those under three years. It is usually very difficult to get your preferred place as such slots tend to be very competitive, and some parents even book a place when they get pregnant. Although this might sound ridiculous, in such competitive areas, this is the best strategy.

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