Types of Childcare and Daycare Voucher
Childcare Types - Hamburg Welcome Portal
Each federal state regulates the allocation and costs of childcare places individually. Hamburg offers parents a wide range of childcare options. We will give you tips on how to find the right childcare offer and inform you about how to obtain and use the Kita voucher.
Hamburg offers parents a wide range of childcare services in more than 1,000 day-care centres as well as day-care mothers and fathers. Every child over one year of age is entitled to five hours of childcare with lunch per day in a day care centre (Kita). Parents can choose whether they want to have their child looked after in a day care centre or by a childminder or father.
Attending a day care centre promotes the development and language skills of children.
Types of Childcare
Crèches are daycare centres for children up to the age of three, where they learn to live and interact with other children in an age-appropriate and well-equipped environment. Children under the age of three need a lot of care and attention, therefore the group sizes in crèches are generally rather small.
Kindergartens are daycare centres for the education and care of children from the age of three until they enter school. They form the elementary level of Germany’s educational system. The group size here is 20 to 22 children.
Child Daycare (Kindertagespflege / Großtagespflegestelle)
In this childcare option, a childminder looks after and educates the child for a fee. If the daycare takes place in the home of the childminder, the child is cared for in the childminder’s family, often together with the childminder's own children. The childminder can look after up to five children in the childminder’s apartment, if the premises are suitable.
There is 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.
Click here for more information (in German language).
Preschools prepare children for the demands in primary school. They are usually located at primary schools, but offer a different education than the first grade of primary school. School-aged children who are not yet ready for regular school attendance will be enroled in preschool.
After-school Facility (Hort)
After-school facilities are open after school hours, at least until 4 p.m. and in some cases longer. The supervisors organise recreational activities and help the children with their homework. During school holidays they usually offer full-day holiday activities.
How to find a childcare place for your child
It is advisable to inform yourself about the corresponding offers at least one year before the start of the care. Ask, for example, friends about their experiences with daycare centres, child minders and childminders or personally at a day care centre of your choice.
You can use the Kita database and the Kita city map to view the offers and contact details of the Hamburg day-care centres and pre-school classes near your place of residence.
Once you have decided on a day care centre or a day care person, ask them if there is a place available. Otherwise, you will be placed on the waiting list. At least eight weeks before the desired start of day care, you should ask the relevant institution again whether your child will get a place there. Otherwise they would have to resort to other childcare services.
If you cannot find a suitable free place for your child, please contact the staff of the Child Day Care Department at the relevant district offices.
Voucher for the child day care centre
In Hamburg, parents do not pay contributions for five hours of childcare in day care. Lunch for the child is free. For this benefit, parents must apply for a Kita voucher at the responsible district office.
To find out which district office is responsible, enter your child's registration address in the Behördenfinder. You will receive the Kita voucher by post and can redeem it at any day care centre participating in the Kita voucher system.
If parents wish to have their child looked after for more than five hours, they must pay a portion of the costs - the so-called parental contribution. This contribution is calculated individually and depends on the child's income, the size of the family and the scope of care. Parents must apply for an appropriate permit from the relevant district office for childcare by childminders. Calculation of your share of the costs ("participation fee")
is calculated analogously to the parental contribution in the Kita voucher system.
Please note that you must submit your application for the Kita voucher three to six months before the desired start of childcare. Without a Kita voucher, you will have to bear all the costs of childcare yourself. The Kita voucher is valid for a maximum of one year and must be re-applied for at least three months before expiry.