Basic Information about Childcare for Pre-School Children
There are different terms in German describing child care options. The most general term is “Kita” and will be used in the following. In Freiburg, there are several Kitas under different ownership, e.g. run by the city, by the Catholic or Lutheran churches, by private providers or by the university. Besides enrolling their child in a Kita, parents with children under three years of age also have the option of having their child cared for by a child minder (in German: Tagesmutter) who cares for a group of children in her own home.
Duration of Stay
- If you want to stay in Freiburg a year or longer, childcare in a Kita or with a Tagesmutter is both possible and sensible.
- If you plan a stay for less than one year, it may be difficult to find a Kita or a Tagesmutter, since children are generally admitted to these on condition of a minimum enrollment of around one year. Some Kitas or Tagesmütter may make an exception to this rule, however it may take some time and effort to find such a provider.
Therefore, we highly recommend for you to bring somebody, e.g. another family member or an Au Pair with you to watch your child. If this is not possible, an individual solution needs to be found, e.g. by hiring a baby sitter.
Time to settle in
The time it takes a child to settle in to the new childcare situation plays an important role for the Kitas and Tagesmütter alike, since successful adaption to the new situation is a precondition for your child to enjoy going to childcare and feel at home in the new surroundings.
Settling in means that a parent (or another familiar person) accompanies the child to the Kita or the Tagesmutter for a while in order to help the child to become familiar with the new caregiver. At first, the child will only attend the Kita for a few hours per day, e.g. in the mornings. The time he or she spends there will increase according to his or her well-being. Once your child has no problem parting from you, the settling in phase is concluded. The time your child needs to settle in may vary a lot individually. As a rule it is between two and four weeks.
Please be sure to plan enough time for the settling in phase into your schedule before you have to start work.
Also, please note that although during the settling in phase your child doesn’t attend Kita full time, this phase is already part of the contract between you and the care provider. The parental fee therefore is the same as it is for a normal month.