Childcare in Germany

Diverse learning opportunities are important for children to have good chances for the future. For parents, good childcare also makes it easier to reconcile work and family life. Attending kindergarten and school is regulated in Germany. We have compiled an overview of important questions here.


Further questions about care in a day care centre for children can also be asked at the family office of the respective city district. Addresses and telephone numbers can be found on the internet at Our interactive map also offers orientation.

Parents who receive social assistance, ALG II, rent subsidy or child benefit supplement can apply for a subsidy for lunch via “Bildung und Teilhabe”. Information on this can be obtained when registering at the day care centre.

Lunch for the children must be paid by the parents in addition to the childcare costs.

If the parents should get social security, ALG II, rent subsidy or child benefit supplement, these parents do not have to pay anything for the care.

Attending a day care centre for children is not free of charge. The childcare costs for visiting a day care centre are calculated on the basis of the parents’ income. The amount of the care costs is calculated by the Youth Welfare Office.

You can obtain the addresses of daycare centres in your district from your family office, on the Internet at or at the Youth Welfare Office. Our interactive map also offers orientation.

The registration of a child always takes place directly at the day care centres. Please contact the respective day care centre directly to find out what else you need to do and bring with you so that your child can attend the day care centre.

In Dortmund there are day care facilities for children in all districts of the city. These differ in terms of the hours of childcare and the sponsorship.
As an alternative to the care in day care facilities, your child can be cared for by a trained childminder or a trained day father as close to home as possible. The care takes place either in the home of the day care person, nurseries or in special cases in the parents’ home.

Attending a day care centre is very important for the development of children. In the day-care centres children have the opportunity to learn the German language more quickly and to get in contact with children of the same age, thus promoting social behaviour in the group.

Children between the ages of six months and six years can attend daycare facilities. These are regarded as an important element of educational work and prepare children in an age-appropriate way for later attendance at school.


When parents get involved constructively in school, this has a positive influence on their children’s learning. When parents get involved in school, their children develop a positive attitude and their learning behaviour improves.

The parents of a class meet at least once a year for a parents‘ evening. Teachers use this opportunity and involve parents in their decisions. At the parents‘ evening, for example, the destination of the upcoming class trip can be discussed, or new forms of learning such as weekly planning can be explained. In addition, the parents elect two representatives as contact persons for the school’s parents‘ council.

The simplest form of participation and at the same time one of the most important is the direct conversation. Every teacher should normally keep one hour per week free for questions from parents. Parents can ask, for example, what grade their child has and whether he or she is doing well in class. A teacher must answer this openly.

“Compulsory schooling” does not only mean that all children must go to school. It also means that all children have the right to attend school. Because that is part of children’s rights: The right to education. The right to education is so important because a good education is a good basis for leading a self-determined life.

If you do not comply with this obligation or if children refuse to attend school, the authorities can impose administrative penalties (fines). In North Rhine-Westphalia, the school authorities check whether the parents have made an effort to ensure that their children attend school. If you can credibly demonstrate this, a fine can be waived. Fines can only be imposed on pupils themselves if the pupil is of criminal age.

Yes. Parents are required to send their children to school.

In general, your child’s compulsory education begins when he or she celebrates his or her sixth birthday. In North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Lower Saxony, Bavaria and Brandenburg, all children who reach the age of six by 30th of September are obliged to attend school from 1st of August of the same calendar year. Compulsory schooling is not only for children of German nationality. The general obligation to attend school also applies to foreign children.

Compulsory schooling in Germany is a legal regulation which obliges children, adolescents and young people of a certain age to attend school. This applies up to a certain age or until the completion of a school career, at the latest, however, until the end of the minor’s age. As a rule, compulsory schooling lasts ten years.