The Child-care system in Berlin is fantastic however one of the biggest issues we see in our ‘new Berliners’ arriving with young families is finding Kita placement. We would like to introduce two great new start-ups which are offering an interim solution to bridge this problem and/or provide an alternative.
Work’n’Kid: Co-working with Child-care
Work’n’Kid understands the need to create a work-family balance; they offer a reliable child-care service on-site. They have a team of experienced childminders that take care of your child right next door to the coworking space and you have the chance to continue working at your own speed. In addition to your flexible desk and the existing infrastructure, they can provide you with plenty of networking opportunities with like-minded people from different backgrounds. Work’n’kid targets mainly parents of children from the age of 4 months to 3 years; however, if your children are older they are open to helping you find a solution. The costs can be reimbursed by your local Jugendamt, Work’n’Kid can assist you with the application for this.
Kids Circle: Childcare nearby & Online child-care
Kids Circle Nearby . Each group of children is looked after by accredited Kids-Coaches with extensive child-care experience. Activities span a wide range from playing, handicrafts or painting to dancing, reading, theatre and joint storytelling or music. The child-care is provided at 5 outdoor locations in Berlin and upon request at other locations too. Nearby takes place outdoors in all weather and only move to a child-friendly indoor location in case of heavy rain or thunderstorms.
They offer you:
- loving child-care care close to home (e.g. the park or the playground next door) through a large number of care services & Kids-Coaches
- flexible bookable child-care, 2 or 3-hour child-care care offers, which provide the greatest possible flexibility; can be booked up to 3 hours before the start
Online Childcare Kids Circle offers exciting online child-care services for children from 4 years to 11 years. Up to 4 children meet in a video conference and are looked after by online-proven Kids-Coaches. The coaches encourage the children to participate and are also the contact person for questions. The children can see each other and talk and interact with each other. The video conferences last 60 minutes and follow-up care of 30 or 60 minutes can be conveniently booked online. The video conferences are hosted on the Norwegian provider Whereby for data protection reasons because parents do not have to enter any personal data. In addition, the operation is very user-friendly and easy to understand.
Winter clothing for children (and adults) is taken very seriously in Germany, mainly because it can be very cold and people like to enjoy the outdoors in all weather. If you are coming from climates which have mild or no winters then this will be new to you. It’s time to get your family winter ready!
Berlin can get cold in winter with temperatures dropping well below freezing and if you are lucky there can even be snow on the ground for weeks at a time. However, all buildings are well heated and therefore especially for kindergarten and school children, the so-called ‘onion look’ otherwise known as layering is the best bet.
One piece snow suits (Schneeanzug) are a good investment for smaller children, they can dress normally underneath and pull this on when going outside and it is a good item for children to be able to put on themselves. For older children, from around 6 years old a pair of snow pants and a jacket are often more appropriate.
Tights (Strumpfhosen)- are for both boys and girls, they come in all kinds of colours and thickness. They are worn under trousers or dresses and for smaller children in KiTa children will wear them around in place of trousers when playing inside.
Bodys (Bodysuits/Onsie) – Until children are out of nappies, they wear bodysuits under their clothing. Germans like to keep the kidneys warm and these ensure the childrens backs are not exposed to the cold. This is basically a t-shirt (short of longs sleeved) which is connected by snaps at the crotch. Littlies who sleep at KiTa will most likely sleep in this item and tights for their afternoon nap.
Warm winter boots (Stiefel) – essential item for children playing outside in cold weather as gumboots, although great for keeping feet dry, they can’t keep them warm. It is worthwhile to invest in shoes which are both weatherproof and warm.
Hats, scarves, gloves (Mützen, Shal, Handschuhe) – all these items are a must-have, having a couple of each is highly recommended as they are also the items which seem to easily go missing at KiTa and school.
Slippers (Hausschuhe) – all KiTas and many schools will have children wear slippers when indoors, especially in winter to keep the spaces the children are in clean.
Rain pants (Matschhosen) – another must-have for those wet days when it is not cold enough for snow gear. KiTas and schools will require children to have a pair there at all times.
Thermals (Thermo-Unterwäsche) – for those really very chilly days, thermal underclothes are very good to have – mainly if children are playing sports outside or for playing in the snow and skiing.
All of these items can be purchased new or secondhand. There are many great secondhand stores around Berlin and it is very worthwhile especially for small children 0 – 6 years to not have to buy everything new as it is usually only worn for one winter.
About the author
Hi there! I’m Juli, German roots but I grew up in New Zealand and have been living in Germany since 2004. I love sharing my passion for Berlin and all it has to offer with new ‘Berliners’ and through my work as a freelance Relocation Consultant with IRC I have the opportunity to do so.
One of the most important topics for a family with young children moving to Berlin is finding a kindergarten which suits their children and where they feel their children will be well looked after.
So here we have just a small overview of the most important points regarding Kindergartens in Berlin.
Kindergarten in Berlin is called ‘KiTa’ this stands for Kindertagestätte which means Children’s Daycare. Children usually attend Kita from age 2 until they are school age, this can be up to 5.5 – 6.5 years old depending what their birthdate is or even if the parents would prefer they start school a little later giving them more time to mature. There are also Kitas which include a ‘Krippe’ this is for children under 2 years, but not all Kitas provide this option.
Kita care is essentially free of charge in Berlin, you are allotted an amount of Kita care depending on the child’s age and your work situation. If it is a private Kita, then there can be extra fees. All Kitas charge 23€ a month for food & depending on what the Kita offers, there can also be extra charges for sports, arts, music. The funding comes through the application for a ‘Kitagutschein’ and this is then approved by your local authorities. The Kitagutschein needs to be applied for at least 8-10 weeks prior to Kita starting.
- *Children under 1 year oldcan attend Kita or have a nanny (Tagesmutter) for a 4-5 hours per day. This is called half days or halbtags To receive this care, you must prove that your child requires it. You can do this by showing your work contract hours or freelance work commitments. Children living in homeless shelters or collective housing are also entitled to halbtags care.
- *Children over 1 year oldare entitled to 5-7 free hours per day. This is called part time or teilzeit
- *Children over 3 years oldare entitled to 7-9 free hours per day. This is called full time or ganztags
Finding a Kita place in Berlin can be difficult and it is advisable to start looking early and to be patient with the process. The reason for the lack of spaces is due to a large growth in the population of Berlin in recent years. Kitas usually have waiting lists and the places become available around May/June for the start of the new school year end of July/August. Of course, places do become available during the year too, with a bit of luck. It is always sensible to apply to a few different Kitas in order to boost the chances of getting a place.