Important for your child – attendance at a day nursery/day-care centre (Kita)
- Do your children have the right to a place in a day nursery/day-care centre (Kita)?
- How are children registered for a place in a day nursery/day-care centre (Kita)?
- Who pays the costs of child supervision in a day nursery/day-care centre (Kita)?
- Where can parents obtain information?
Practically all children in Germany attend a day nursery or day-care centre (Kita) before they go to school at the age of six. They all come together here in a sheltered environment to play, sing, do handicrafts, paint and learn without being subject to any pressure. Attendance at a day nursery or day-care centre (Kita) offers your children the best opportunity to make friends with other children and to learn the German language. Here, your children will be given selective support in their attempts to speak to other children. In addition, their overall development will be promoted and they will be well prepared for their attendance at school at a later date. Every child at day nurseries/day-care centres (Kitas) is given support according to his or her own strengths, abilities and interests; there are no marks or grades given and no corporal punishment.
You yourselves can also profit from day nurseries/day-care centres. You can discuss the development of your child with pedagogical experts. In addition, employees at such nurseries and centres can give you advice on general questions of upbringing and education or in cases of acute problems and related issues. You will be able to get to know other parents and children there, to exchange information and make friends. If you like, you can also become involved yourselves in the everyday life of a day nursery/day-care centre through celebrations, parties or joint activities in which you may, for example, tell a story from your own home country or bake a special cake. When your child attends a day nursery/day-care centre, this will also give you time e.g. to attend German lessons or to go to the local authorities.
You can obtain information from the municipality at your place of residence on which local day nurseries/day-care centres are available; it is also frequently possible to find this out on the Internet.
Do your children have the right to a place in a day nursery/day-care centre (Kita)?
According to § 24 of the German Social Code, Book VIII, children of asylum-seekers and refugees have a legal right to support in day nurseries/day-care centres whenever the parents can present a residence title, temporary residence authorization in accordance with the German Asylum Act (AsylG) or a certificate of suspension of deportation (toleration certificate) in accordance with the German Residence Act (AufenthG). Parents are not required to be gainfully employed for this purpose. As soon as your child is one year old, he or she will have the legal right to a place in a day nursery/day-care centre until it is time to attend school. For children up to the age of three, there is also the alternative possibility that your child may be looked after in a small-group day-care facility (similar to the situation in a family).
This right consists of care for your child for at least half a day on five days a week, or for more when required.
How are children registered for a place in a day nursery/day-care centre (Kita)?
You need to apply for a place in a day nursery/day-care centre (Kita) with the local municipal authorities at your place of residence. As a place in a day nursery/day-care centre cannot always be provided immediately whenever all the places at local nurseries and small-group facilities have been taken, you should make an application for a place as soon as possible. In this way, the local municipal authorities will have the opportunity to analyse needs and if necessary to establish more places as required. You may, of course, make contact directly with nurseries/centres or small-group organisers at your place of residence – they will certainly be willing to provide you with further information. There, you can also learn how the daily life at a nursery/centre is run and what pedagogical support is available.
In all nurseries/centres, you will be allowed to remain with your child on the first few days and to get to know the nursery/centre together. This makes it easier for the child to become accustomed to the nursery/centre so that he or she will feel secure and well-cared for.
Who pays the costs of child supervision in a day nursery/day-care centre (Kita)?
If you receive only income in accordance with Unemployment Benefits Act II or maintenance benefits in accordance with the Asylum-Seekers’ Benefits Act (AsylbG), your children will be entitled to attend day nurseries/day-care centres or small-group day-care facilities free of charge. You should inquire at your place of residence about the regulations that apply and on how to apply for waiving of your financial contribution.
If, on the other hand, you earn your own income, you must make a financial contribution to the costs of running such day nurseries/day-care centres. As a rule, low-income families and families with several children at day nurseries/day-care centres and at small group day-care facilities are granted a reduction in their contribution to running costs. Further information may also be obtained on this from the municipal authorities at your place of residence.
Where can parents obtain information?
The local municipal authorities at the place of residence will provide parents with information on how far they may submit a claim in support of a place for their child/children in a day nursery or a day-care centre. It is frequently possible to obtain a general overview of places offered on the spot from the website of the local authority or through the state-wide online day nursery/day-care centre Internet portal (cf. following link).
In addition, primary carers for children (generally the parents) can also apply to the administrative authority responsible at district level.
Families may also obtain support from family centres. These centres also offer parent-children groups which can ease the transition to a place at a nursery or day-care centre.