Childcare and School
Childcare in Germany is provided in either a Krippe or a Kindergarten, depending on the age of the child. A Krippe is a nursery or daycare facility for small children from 0-3 years of age. Whereas a Kindergarten is meant for children from 3-6 and is largely seen as a fundamental step in preparing a child to start school. Though it is not a formal part of the compulsory school system, over 80% of all children in Germany attend kindergarten.
There are three major possibilities to consider when deciding on how to begin your search: LMU childcare facilities, state childcare facilities and private childcare facilities. LMU Gateway is prepared to assist you in evaluating the facilities under the authority of the university, though be aware that space is very limited. Pertaining to the public and state facilities, you may seek council from LMU Family Service at LMU Munich. Please take note: places in childcare facilities, especially in nurseries, are very limited with waiting lists of up to one year. It would be in your best interest to start searching as soon as possible.
Please find below a list of commonly asked questions:
- What should I consider when selecting a Kindergarten?
- What should I consider when selecting a Krippe?
- What alternatives do I have if I do not find a place for my child?
- Where can I seek further information?
- Is financial support available for families with children?
Kindergarten is not part of the compulsory school system and is completely voluntary; however, most children in Germany do attend between the ages of three and six. Kindergartens and nurseries are usually run by a local administrative body: the city, town or village council; private initiatives; non-profit organizations and religious groups. There are even Elterninitiativen (DE) – kindergartens (and nurseries) which are privately run with reduced rates, because they are founded upon the principle that parents of the children should be involved and take on certain duties such as washing linens or substituting for an ill caregiver. No matter the administrative body, all kindergartens must meet government standards to remain operative.
In contrast to nurseries, most kindergartens do not have all-day care programs. Instead, they are open for two or three hours in the morning and another three in the afternoon. There are of course exceptions, which tend to be pricier. Privately run bilingual kindergartens are also available in the Munich area. Your respective consulate or embassy will often be able to provide you with lists of facilities offering services in your language if available or in English.top
Nurseries are run by the same administrative bodies as kindergartens and are designed for children under the age of three years old. Age regulations differ from nursery to nursery, so it is important to verify at what age children are allowed to begin attending. Places in a nursery are even more limited than in kindergartens; therefore, it is necessary to begin your search as soon as possible, even during pregnancy.
- Au pair (live-in nanny usually between the ages of 17-27)
A Tagesmutter is a person (usually a woman) who looks after children in his/her own home during normal working hours. Any nanny offering services for more than 15 hours a week for three or more months in a row must be licensed by the youth welfare office (Jugendamt).
A LeihOma is a woman usually over the age of fifty who comes to your home during the day to support the parents in taking care of the children and with other household duties.
- LMU Gateway - advice on LMU childcare facilities (DE) and alternatives, as well as support in registering with LMU Family Services
- LMU Family Service - advice on state and private childcare facilities and their alternatives
- Jugendamt (DE) - advice for families living in Munich
- City of Munich - general information on the childcare system and alternatives, as well as links to search for nurseries and kindergartens in your area
- Bildungsberatung International (DE) - links to documents listing bilingual and international childcare facilities. You may also make an appointment to meet with advisors with competencies in various languages. Refer to their downloadable flyer for contact details and times
- Make-it-in-Germany - general information and advice on immigrating to Germany, including childcare
In Germany, there are two forms of financial aid available to all tax-paying residents with children: Kindergeld and Elterngeld. An additional benefit for families is the opportunity to take parental leave. More detailed information of the application process is available from LMU Gateway upon request.
The German public school system is known for producing high-performing pupils; however, the structure is quite different to that in many other countries. Though private schools exist, the vast majority of children attend public schools. The school system is maintained and funded by the federal government, though organized at a state level. This leads to deviations in curriculum and quality across the country, with Bavarian schools ranking amongst the best.
School is compulsory in Germany as of the age of 6 or 7, depending on the child’s birthday. This regulation applies to all residents of Germany no matter the nationality. Kindergarten is attended by most children from ages 3 to 6; however, it is not a part of the 9 to 10 year compulsory education system (Schulpflicht). While public school districts exist for elementary education, parents can choose where and what type of secondary school their children attend.
If you have questions regarding which public school would best suit your child, you can contact the Bavarian Kultusministerium (Ministry of Education) for information on public schools in this state. If your question refers directly to your child’s language level or attending an international school, the Bildungsberatung International (DE) is prepared to address such concerns. Once on the site of Bildungsberatung Int., go to
"Beratungszeiten" (consutling hours) for PDF documents with office hours and contact persons listed according to the advisors’ language competencies. Refer to the section Publikationen und Downloads for the Bildungsbaratung International’s flyer and list of international schools.
Please find below a list of commonly asked questions:
- What is important to know about elementary schools in Germany?
- What do I need to know about secondary education?
- What options do I have if my child does not understand German very well or at all?
- Where can I find additional information and advice on finding schools in Munich?
Elementary schools in Germany (Grundschulen) include grades 1-4 or 1-6 depending on where you live and what type of secondary school your child attends. During these early years of school, all pupils are generally taught the same subjects. Then after the 4th grade, pupils are separated into Mittelschule, Realschule, or Gymnasium. This division is determined by the parents and teachers of the pupil based on the child’s academic achievement, self-confidence and the ability to work independently. Please note: public school districts exist for elementary school children, though not for secondary schools.top
A Gymnasium offers the most academic course of study, acting to prepare pupils for entry into a German university. After successfully completing grade 13, pupils receive their Abitur and are not restricted as to what subject they study at university, though some subjects require a high grade point average due to limited places. The most common tracks of education at Gymnasien are classical language, modern language, mathematics and natural sciences.
Realschule usually includes grades 5-10 and is a less academic option, where pupils are awarded the Mittlere Reife certificate, equivalent to the British GCSE and the American high school diploma. After obtaining this certificate, one can go in several directions, e.g. do an apprenticeship, attend vocational school or get additional qualifications (Fachabitur) and go on to a school of applied sciences.
Mittelschule, formerly known as Hauptschule, is generally designed to prepare pupils to do an apprenticeship. This type of secondary school lasts until the 9th or 10th grade and awards their pupils with the Mittelschulabschluss certificate.
When children are younger, it is much easier to integrate them into the German public school system. Entry into secondary school with limited knowledge of the language can be more challenging. Two important factors to consider when choosing a school are the length of your family’s stay here and your child’s German language level. Homeschooling is not permitted in Germany.
If your child does not have a proficient level of German upon arrival, an international school might be the most suitable option until his/her language level is sufficient, though places are limited and tuition fees can be very high depending on the institution.
Your embassy or consulate in Germany should also be well equipped to answer any questions you may have in this regard.
- City of Munich – find information on the school system in Munich
- Bildungsberatung International (DE) – links to documents listing bilingual and international schools. You may also make an appointment to meet with advisors with competencies in various languages. Refer to their downloadable flyer for contact details and times
- Make-it-in-Germany - general information and advice on immigrating to Germany, including the German school system