Reliable childcare is important for all working parents as this is the only way to combine a career with having a family. In addition, your child will meet other children and learn German in a playful way, and will have the opportunity to be well-developed and well-prepared for school. In FrankfurtRheinMain (FRM) childcare options are very extensive.
The term “kindergarten” is well-known world-wide. Early childhood education and care is a German concept, and there are many options for different age groups.
Childcare Facilities (Kindertagesstätten)
The term “Kindertagesstätte” (in short: Kita) refers to all types of childcare facilities. Depending on the age of the child, they are:
1. Kinderkrippe (nursery) for under 3-year olds
2. Kindergarten for 3 to 6-year olds
3. Hort (day care) for primary-school aged children
The term Kita is generally used for children up to 6 years of age.
For you as a parent, there are many good reasons to use childcare. Your child will pick up social skills from the carers and other children. If they do not already speak German, they will learn it quickly and in a playful way. They can also do activities such as crafts, painting and reading, and discover new things. In addition, for you as a parent, using childcare means that you will not be under as much time pressure.
Did you know that...
Childcare is voluntary in Germany, but many people use it. More than 90% of all children between 3 and 6 attend Kindergarten. 28.9% of all under 3-year olds in FRM attend nursery.
Most childcare facilities offer all-day care. From the morning until the late afternoon, your child can play, learn, eat and take a nap there. Regular opening hours are from 7:30 am until 4:30 pm.
However, there are many different options for childcare with various timings, some starting considerably earlier or staying open until late in the evening. This completely depends on the needs of the parents and the individual facilities.
Childcare for 0–3 Year Olds
Nurseries (Kinderkrippen) offer childcare for children up to the age of 3. Even babies from the age of 3 months can attend nursery. Once your child reaches the age of three, their time in nursery comes to an end and they go to Kindergarten.
The primary focus in nurseries is on taking care of the children. In addition, they also learn basic skills. Therefore, nurseries have quite a lot of staff looking after the children.
Besides nurseries, there are also childcare centres for children from 0 to 6 years of age. Here there are often mixed age-groups to promote interaction and joint learning.
Childcare often serves the purpose of allowing parents to work. Alternatively, there are facilities that serve as a meeting place for parents and children. This includes toddler groups and playgroups.
Since 2013, parents in Germany have been entitled to childcare for children under the age of 3. As the demand is very high, we recommend that you apply early for a place.
Childcare for 3–6 Year Olds
Once your child turns 3, they can go to Kindergarten. You are even entitled to a half-day place for your child.
Kindergarten complements the child’s upbringing at home and enables them to learn and share experiences with each other. The qualified staff ensure that important aspects of your child’s development are nurtured. Awareness, language, coordination, thinking and empathy are but a few of the skills that your child will learn here in a playful way.
Instead of sending your child to nursery or kindergarten, you also have the option of using a childminder (Tagesmutter). One childminder usually looks after up to five children in a family-like environment. This type of childcare is usually organised and financed privately.
In addition, more and more companies and universities are offering their employees childcare services.
Childcare from 6 Years Old
Primary school children can be cared for in an after-school care centre (Hort). This option is usually available up to grade 4. After-school care centres are closely affiliated with primary schools, both in terms of location and organisation. However, Kitas and other institutions also offer similar facilities.
Most offer a hot lunch for all children and the focus is often on helping children with their homework and recreation.
Hours vary depending on the individual centres. Many of them even open before the start of school and do not close until the afternoon. In addition, a lot of after-school care centres stay open during the holidays, with special holiday programmes on offer.
There is also fierce competition for places. Again, we recommend making arrangements well in advance.
Childcare is state-subsidised and the fees do not vary much between the individual facilities. Monthly contributions are based on parental income, place of residence and the number of hours requested. Meals are paid for separately.