If you are bringing your children with you to Germany you should look for childcare at the earliest opportunity and take steps to find a place for your children while you are still in your home country. As a first step you may contact the Welcome Centre. Basically, there are three different types of childcare for children who have not yet reached school age: Krippe (nursery), Kindergarten, und Tagesmütter/-väter (child minders).
Krippe is for children aged 1-3 years. In Göttingen as in many German cities, there is a severe shortage of places in Krippen. We cannot stress enough the importance of organising childcare at the earliest opportunity. The costs of childcare vary according to the services provided, the age of the child and the income of the parents.
Attendance at kindergarten is voluntary in Germany, but all children have a legal right to a place from the age of three years on (until age six). Parents are required to pay a fee during the first two years. In Lower Saxony the last year prior to school is exempt from fees. Kindergartens are run municipally or by religious organizations, social organizations, or private providers. They are usually open from 7:30 am or 8:00 am and are either limited to morning care (until 12:00) or provide full day care (until 2:00 pm or 4:30/5:00 pm). Full day care includes a lunch, which needs to be paid for separately. You should try to enroll your child as early as possible, since there may be a waiting list.
Home Day Care (Tagespflege)
Child minders, in German called Tagesmütter or -väter, provide individualised care and have more flexible hours. They usually look after several children at a time in their own homes. Child minders are trained and must have an official licence from the local child and youth welfare services. The Kindertagespflegebörse Göttingen helps you to find a child minder.
The best way to find babysitters to look after your children for a few hours during the day or in the evenings, is to ask the Kindertagespflegebörse or to ask colleagues or neighbours or have a look at the students' notice board at the university.
The Family Service of the University of Göttingen (with the exception of the Medical Faculty)
The Family Service gives advice on questions concerning the combining of academic life with family situations. It offers information on family-friendly working arrangements, e.g. telecommuting, and specialized childcare services like:
- Emergency childcare
- Childcare during business trips
- Childcare during events