Auf einem Tisch stehen Stiftehalter mit vielen bunten Stiften und Bastelscheren. Daneben liegen selbstgemate Bilder von Kindern. © Goethe-Institut

Young children up to the age of 3

Are you and your partner working and have a small child (a few months old up to the age of 3 years)? Then you could put your child in a crèche. There are not many places in crèches. Because of this you should register your child as early as possible. From the age of 3 children can go to kindergarten. They can play, sing, paint and do craft activities here. In many kindergartens the carers take the children outdoors in the summer. Kindergartens frequently offer language support. For instance they play language games with the children and read them stories.

Auf einer Straße sind mit Straßenkreide eine Blume, ein Regebogen und eine Spinne gemalt. © Goethe-Institut

Kindergartens and children’s daycare centres

Kindergarten prepares children for school. Every child aged 3+ is entitled to a kindergarten place. There are kindergartens even in smaller communities. But register your child with the kindergarten in plenty of time. There are not that many places here either. Your child is also exposed to contact with the culture through the kindergarten, and will be able to get to know the new country quickly.

Some kindergartens are only open until lunchtime (from 7am to 12 or 1pm). Other kindergartens are open all day (from 7am to 4 or 5pm). These kindergartens are also called Kita (Kindertagestätte; children’s daycare centres). Your child is given lunch here. You normally have to pay for a place in a crèche or kindergarten/children’s daycare centre.

The costs vary from one federal state to another. And not everyone has to pay the same amount. It depends on various things: how much do you earn? How old is your child? And how many hours does the child spend in kindergarten? There are state-run and private crèches or kindergartens. Private crèches/kindergartens are more expensive. Some private kindergartens are binational. They speak 2 languages there, for instance Spanish and German.

In many kindergartens/children’s daycare centres there is a language test for all children before they start school. Sometimes German is difficult even for German children. Children who do not pass the test can spend another year at kindergarten or they can receive language support.

Ein Schild, auf dem Kindergarten geschrieben steht, führt ein Pfeil mit einem gezeichneten Mädchen in Richtung des Kindergartens. © Goethe-Institut

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