The Welcome Centre will support you in arranging child care. Places in nurseries and daycare are in great demand and correspondingly hard to find. It is extremely important that you inform us as soon as possible if you will need child care or if your child will attend school during your stay in Bielefeld.
Since 2013, according to German law, all children over the age of 12 months are entitled to a slot in a daycare facility. However, this does not give a right of admission to a specific Kindergarten of your choice.
Childcare facilities include day nurseries, playgroups, daycare centers, or child minders.
Attendance of a day nursery or daycare center is not free of charge. Fees depend on the type of organization (state-run, church-run, or private) and the parents' income.
The individual care facilities will be able to give you more detailed information.
Daycare facilities run on a yearly schedule, which runs from August 1 to July 31. It is important to apply for a spot as soon as possible to ensure timelines are met.
In Bielefeld, parents are entitled to a 35-hour per week childcare slot without any additional documentation. If more hours are needed, parents may need to prove that their work schedules require this, depending on the facility selected. The maximum hours available is 45, and their availability depends on the childcare facility.
An alternative to nurseries and daycare centers is so-called child minders. These are private individuals who look after a limited number of children (generally a maximum of five) in their homes. The cost of child minders depends primarily on where you live, because local governments vary in how far they subsidize this service. Child minders who do not belong to an association generally charge much higher rates.
You can find addresses and telephone numbers of day nurseries, daycare centers and child minders in Bielefeld under:
Nurseries in Bielefeld
Child Minders in Bielefeld
Childcare Facilities at Bielefeld University
There are different kinds of Kindergarten: church-run, church-supported, state-run, and private. When making your choice, you should consider the opening hours. Whereas church-run and -supported Kindergartens generally provide only morning care, ones run by the Workers' Welfare Association (Arbeiterwohlfahrt, AWO) and the Paritätische Wohlfahrtsverband welfare organization nearly always have longer opening hours.
Please note that even though children have a legal right to attend Kindergarten, places are always in short supply. Many children only manage to obtain a place in the last year before starting school, and long waiting lists are very frequent. Therefore, it is very important to get in touch with Kindergartens before you travel to Germany.
Compulsory schooling in Germany lasts at least 10 years, generally from the age of 6 to 16. Schools in Germany are free of charge. After
4 years of elementary school, children have to transfer to one of the following types of secondary school:
- Hauptschule (5 to 6 years) leading to a Hauptschulabschluss, which is the basic qualification for occupational training in the dual system (company apprenticeships with part-time training in vocational colleges)
- Realschule (6 years) leading to a Realschulabschluss, entitling attendance of a Fachoberschule (vocationally oriented upper secondary school), Fachgymnasium (technical grammar school), or Gymnasium (grammar school)
- Gymnasium (8 years) leading to the Abitur, entitling attendance of a higher education institute
Schulamt für die Stadt Bielefeld
Ravensberger Straße 12
Telephone: +49 - 521 - 512347 or 513914
Alongside these traditional types of school, Bielefeld also has comprehensive schools (Gesamtschulen) leading to all three types of school-leaving qualification.
You can find the addresses and telephone numbers of schools in Bielefeld here.