Child Care The Kita – Basic Information

Can I send my child to child care in Hamburg? What kinds of child care are there? And what does 'kita' even mean? See our brief overview.

A child holding up their right hand showing five fingers; in the background, blurred, a kindergarten teacher and another child

The Kita – Basic Information

Kita is short for Kindertagesstätte, which roughly translates to ‘Children’s Day-Care Facility’. Kitas include different facilities for children of different ages:

  • Krippe (lit.: ‘crib’ or ‘manger’); for children six months to three years old
  • Kindergarten; for children two and a half to six years old
  • Hort; for school children after school and during holidays

Also, keep an eye open for inklusive and integrative kitas offering care for children with special needs or impairments of any kind, as well as for children who need extra help preparing for school due to immigration.

What kind of kita is my child entitled to?

All children ages one year and over who have not yet started school have a legal right to five hours of childcare per day including lunch. This entitlement exists regardless of whether parents or persons in custody are in employment or not.

Parents or custodians also have the option of four or five hours of care without lunch. For children under the age of three, care hours can be divided into individual care days for up to 25 hours per week.

Parents or custodians may choose whether they would like their children to be looked after in a kita or by a childminder. However, they should check whether the kita or childminder of their preference offers the care that suits their own needs and care times before starting the arrangement.

Support for children with special needs

Of course, the legal entitlement to kita care also applies to children with current or impending impairments. Kitas may draw additional staff for the care of children under the age of three with impending impairments if care would otherwise be at risk.

In addition, many interdisciplinary Frühförderstellen (‘early intervention centres’) also offer mobile services in cooperation with various kitas.

Children ages three and up with current or impending impairments can also get curative or medical-therapeutic education at the kita if required until they start school. This special education is offered by more than 330 Kitas in Hamburg.

Kitas Info