Childcare, kindergarten and schools
If you plan to bring your children, Berlin offers a host of options for childcare and education (German, English, and bilingual) depending on your child’s age. To place your child in the facility of your choice, it's important to register as early as possible. Options include in-home daycare providers ("Tagesmutter"), nursery ("Kinderkrippe," for children aged from eight weeks to three years); and Kindergarten (for three to six-year-olds). Schools are for children from the age of six.
The MPG (Max Planck Society) has appointed a family service, pme Familienservice. The contract covers childcare provision for children up to 14 years old, as well as care for the elderly. Their services range from the arrangement of individual care solutions for children and dependents, to crisis advice, to offering places at over 60 childcare and educational establishments. The framework agreement includes extensive consultation and arrangement of childcare services as well as care counselling and possibly care placement for relatives in need of care.
Any placement and consultation fees incurred are borne centrally by the MPG. The actual service, e.g. childcare provided by childcare staff, is to be paid by the parents themselves. The service can be reached via a central hotline under the number 0800-801007080 or the service portal "My Family Service" (see below). Before contacting pme, please obtain an entitlement certificate from our human ressources department.
We work together with the INA Kindergarten, which is located about 15 minutes from the institute. A number of places are available for institute employees, which can be increased if necessary. The facility is open year-round, including the summer break, and offers childcare from 6 am to 6 pm. The feedback from employees whose children have attended the center is entirely positive. The Max-Planck-Society also cooperates with FRÖBEL day care centers—some of which are in walking distance to the institute. If you would like to apply for a Kita place, please contact our human ressources department.
If you’d like to place your child in a facility of your choice, it's important to register for childcare as early as possible, since places are limited. Many Kindergartens have considerable waiting periods, which can be reduced if you apply early (ideally three months in advance). It certainly helps to do some research and visit Kindergartens personally in order to increase your chances.
Childcare centers in Berlin are free of charge (since August 1, 2018)—parents only need to continue to pay 23€ per month for lunch. A Kita Gutschein (voucher) is required, which you can obtain from your local "Jugendamt" (youth welfare office, listed here). From your child's first birthday, you are eligible for a Kita Gutschein valid for at least part-time daycare (five to seven hours per day). If you require full-time daycare (more than seven hours per day) you must provide a reason, e.g. both parents are working full time. Parents of children under the age of one will need to provide a reason as well. This must be officially documented in your application and must be verified by the Jugendamt.
If you plan to bring children of school age with you, Berlin offers many elementary (ages 6–11) and high schools (until 18/19 years of age). Most are public/state schools, but some are private. At Berlin’s various private international schools children are taught bilingually, mostly in English and German. Try to apply as early as possible in order to secure a place for your child. How to Germany provides a good outline of the German school system.