See the many options for childcare in Hamburg
Arranging daycare for your child
All children living in Hamburg are entitled to daycare from age 1 until they start school – regardless of whether their parents are employed or not. The basic care of five hours per day is free of charge for parents, and includes lunch. Parents do have to pay for additional daycare hours: the fee is relative to their income. The Hamburg Welcome Center explains how to apply for a daycare voucher (Kita-Gutschein) and how to find a daycare facility for your child. The application for the daycare voucher should be sent to your local district office three to six months in advance.
Kinderkrippe — Crèche
Crèches are daycare centres for children up to the age of three, where they learn to live and interact with other children. Children under the age of three need a lot of care and attention, therefore the group sizes in crèches are generally rather small.
Kindertagespflege — Daycare
For more flexibility and a family-like environment, opt for this option where a childminder looks after and educates children for a fee. This can be done in the parents’ own home or in the home of the childminder, often in a family setting. There’s also the option of having the child looked after in a large daycare facility (Großtagespflegestelle). There, several childminders supervise more than five children together, e.g. in a rented room which is equipped appropriately for the children’s needs.
Kindergartens are daycare centres for the education and care of children from the age of three and up, until they enter primary school. They form the elementary level of Germany’s educational system. The group size here is 20 to 22 children.
Vorschule — Preschool
Preschools prepare young children, aged 3 to 5, for primary school. They’re usually located near or in primary schools, but offer a different, more playful education than the first grade of primary school.
Hort — After-school facilities
After-school facilities are open after school hours, at least until 4 p.m. and in some cases longer. The supervisors organize recreational activities and help the children with their homework. During school holidays they usually offer full-day holiday activities.