Types of Childcare
Childcare Types - Hamburg Welcome Portal
It is important for children to attend a daycare institution as early as possible, because it helps ensure that their development and German language skills reach the highest possible level. The childcare personnel also advises parents on how to best promote their children’s abilities at home and offers further assistance if necessary.
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. To make use of this service you need to apply for a daycare voucher (Kita-Gutschein). The application for the daycare voucher should be sent to your local district office three to six months in advance.
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. All you have to do is apply for a Kita voucher in the "Kindertagesbetreuung" departments at the responsible district offices.
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. Parents must apply for an appropriate permit from the relevant district office for childcare by childminders. The participation fee is then calculated in the same way as the parental fee in the Kita voucher system.
Click here for more information (in German language).
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. All you have to do is apply for a Kita voucher in the "Kindertagesbetreuung" departments at the responsible district offices.
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.