Berlin: Family oasis in the middle of Europe

Around 1,751 public playgrounds, 2,416 day care centers, an own children's play land (FEZ) on 100,000 m² of outdoor space and 13,000 m² of indoor space, numerous children's and puppet theaters, children's farms, children's museums, the Tierpark and the zoo, cafes for parents and children, playing corners for children in many doctor's offices, spaces for buggies in all means of public transportation as well as diverse ways of living, bike tours, swimming courses and other events for the elderly – no matter whether young or old: Berlin is a family-friendly city. The offspring and a safe family life are a priority in Berlin

Special support concepts, all-day schools and alternative school concepts build the basis of an individual education. Flexible working hours for family members requiring constant nursing care are the standard with Berlin's employers. Children and elderly people get discounts for lots of leisure activities. A special offer for the whole family: the Family Pass. It ensures low entrance fees for public swimming pools and other leisure activities as well as discounts for public transportation. That way, family and working life can be easily reconciled.

Berlin has around 1,751 public playgrounds.

The key facts in an overview

  • entertainment and vacation programs
  • an increasingly family-aware personnel policy
  • All-round medical care
  • best infrastructure in Germany
  • well-developed public transportation
  • age-appropriate housing adaptation supported by the senate
  • communal housing projects for the elderly
  • extensive leisure program for the elderly

OUR TIP: If you have any questions concerning education, school, youth and family, refer to the "infopunkt" of the Senate Department for Education, Youth and Science. Get advice in a personal meeting, via email or telephone!   Phone: +49 30 90227 – 5000
Email: infopunkt@senbjw.berlin.de

OUR TIP: The new brochure "New in Germany?" offers families with school-age children who have just come to Germany valuable tips and information about school in Berlin. It provides information on the tasks and rights of parents and pupils, admission to a welcome class, the offers of the educational package or all-day school. Download now!

Child benefit: government support

Parents living in Germany are entitled to child benefit (called Kindergeld in German) for each of their children. Child benefit is a subsidy provided by the German government for parents or legal guardians and serves as a financial contribution to offset the cost of raising children. The amount depends on the age of the child and is paid directly to the parents (one parent per child). Parental income is irrelevant. You may apply for child benefit at your family benefits office (Familienkasse). This is also the office that pays the benefit.

The amount of the monthly child benefit is currently:

  • For the first and second child: €192
  • For the third child: €198
  • For each additional child: €223

Public employees receive child benefit from the so-called state family benefits office (Landesfamilienkasse), everyone else from their local family benefits office in Berlin-Mitte, Berlin-Nord or Berlin-Süd.

Day care: the choice is yours.

There are about 2,416 daycare centers in Berlin.

You have children and don't want to go without working? No problem. Berlin has a variety of day care opportunities for children. Children who have a legal right or approved care needs will most certainly receive a daycare place. All children under three years old have access to daycare outside home. The working hours of Berlin's daycare centers are aligned with the professional life of the parents and convince with a large offer of all-day childcare facilities. There are around 2,416 daycare centers in Berlin. The special feature: the first three years in a daycare center are free of contributions. About 90% of all daycare offers include lunch-time supervision.

OUR TIP: With the Kita Navigator and the Kita Map you can search for daycare centers by street, name, postcode and area. Try it now!

The most important forms of childcare

Individual day care

  • male and female in-home day care providers
  • children till age 3
  • children from age 3 till school age (day care offices)
  • school children care (childminders)

Reliable half-day preschool

  • free classes and care phases from 7:30 till 13:30

Bound all-day elementary school

  • free classes and care phases from 8:00 till 16:00
  • additional care modules before and after classes
  • Participation is bound to a proof of the care needs and is fee required depending on the income.

OUR TIP: Do you need assistance with everyday care for your children, such as during medical appointments or appointments at public offices, while you recover from an illness or simply for a few hours while you go to a movie, a concert or the theater? Does your occupation make you rely on childcare during the school breaks? Have you ever thought of hiring a grandma or grandpa? Depending on the provider, the grandma or grandpa of your choice costs between four and twenty euros per hour, depending on their experience and references. Advantage: Most hired grandparents are mediated by agencies that work closely with psychologists and family therapists.

Schools: You are what you learn.

In Berlin, the school beginning phase can be passed in one, two or three years.

You are looking for the appropriate school concept for your child? In Berlin, parents can choose among different all-day models being flexible in terms of the concept and time-wise. After finishing elementary school (reliable half-day elementary school, open-form or bound all-day elementary school), the general school career is continued within the lower secondary education (gymnasium or integrated secondary school). This can be supplemented by the upper secondary education (gymnasium, integrated secondary school or vocational gymnasium). As an alternative, your child can attend a common school from grade 1 to 13. 

To ensure the right start into Berlin's school system, every child in Berlin takes part in a preschool language test. Berlin's schools are diverse, multicultural and meet the requirements of modern knowledge and information society.

OUR TIP: Are you new to Germany? Then browse through the brochure ‘New to Germany? Info and tips about school in Berlin’ from the Senate Department for Education, Youth and Family! This provides information about the duties and rights of parents and pupils, admission to a welcome class, offers of educational packages and also full-time schools in the capital. The brochure is available in nine languages.

Overview of Berlin’s school system

In order to find the right school for your child, we recommend the following approach:

1. Search for a school for your child! The online school directory provides information about schools near you, foreign languages and special educational offers.

2. Get in contact with the school! Whenever possible, book an appointment for a personal meeting.

3. Collect all the important documents for the personal meeting. This includes: Information about your child’s age and school year, their reports from the last four years, previous qualifications, details about foreign languages as well as special skills and interests, plus details of special needs requirements, if necessary (disabilities or German as a foreign language).

4. The education authority is responsible for the allocation of school places. Enrol your child with all of the documents for changing school or admission!

OUR TIP: You can get all of the detailed information about changing schools from your district’s education authority. You will find a link to an overview of all education authorities and school authorities in Berlin in our guide – sorted by city district.

OUR TIP: The Senate Department for Education, Youth and Family has the PDF ‘Information sheet for new citizens in Berlin who can’t speak German’ available to download on their website. Here you will find everything you need to know about school enrolment or changing schools, and the respective points of contact with the local district education authorities, as well as school authorities.

International schools

In Berlin, worlds collide: a total of 190 nationalities live and work here. The German capital is proud of its multicultural togetherness. Therefore, beside the German school system, Berlin offers bilingual and foreign-language classes. In the Public Europe Schools of Berlin (SESB), for example, children are taught strictly in two languages. The following language combinations can be learned at a SESB:

Elementary school and lower secondary level (integrated secondary school or gymnasium)

  • German-Portuguese
  • German-Russian
  • German-Spanish
  • German-Turkish

Elementary school, lower secondary level (integrated secondary school or gymnasium) and upper secondary level

  • German-Italian
  • German-Portuguese

Here you find a selection of bilingual and foreign-language schools

SchoolSchool systemInternet
John-F.-Kennedy-School BerlinGerman-American comprehensive school (grades 1-13)www.jfks.de
Berlin CosmopolitanGerman-British elementary school and gymnasiumwww.cosmopolitanschool.de
Berlin International SchoolGerman-British elementary school and gymnasiumwww.private-kant-schule.de
Berlin Kids International SchoolGerman-British elementary schoolwww.berlin-kids-international.de
Berlin Metropolitan SchoolGerman-British elementary schoolwww.berlinmetropolitanschool.com
PHORMS Berlin MitteGerman-British kindergarten, elementary school, gymnasiumwww.berlin.phorms.de
PHORMS Berlin SüdGerman-British elementary schoolwww.berlin-sued.phorms.de
Lomonossow SchoolGerman-Russian elementary schoolwww.lomonossow-grundschule.de
Berlin British SchoolBritish preschool, elementary school and gymnasiumwww.berlinbritishschool.de
Collège Voltaire de BerlinFrench preschool, elementary school and gymnasiumwww.collegevoltaire.de
International School Villa AmalienhofBritish elementary school and gymnasiumwww.is-va.com
Japanese International SchoolJapanese elementary school and gymnasiumwww.jap-schule-berlin.de
Swedish School in Berlin (SSB)Swedish elementary schoolwww.svenskaskolan-berlin.de

 

Senate Department for Education, Youth and Science
Bernhard-Weiß-Str. 6
D-10178 Berlin
Tel.: +49 30 90227-5000
www.berlin.de/sen/bjw (in German only)

Leisure: On a discovery tour with the family

Rowing with the whole family on lake Neuer See in the Tiergarten park.

What can be better than enjoying your free time with the family? Probably not. Berlin is a huge leisure and adventure park. Whether it is modern indoor and outdoor playgrounds, green areas, sports fields, sports clubs, public swimming pools, lakes, children's theaters, children's museums, zoos or cafes for parents and children – in Berlin, you always have the agony of choice. Being the capital city, Berlin has a large cultural program. And the best thing about it: the well-developed public transport will get you to your destination fast and at a reasonable price. Moreover, the good infrastructure ensures high quality of life. Berlin's families are financially relieved by the FamilienPass or the Super-Ferien-Pass. It is a nice feeling to be able to discover something new every day without having to leave the city.

More information on
Leisure with the family

Older age: in the midst of life

In Berlin, the young and the old live close to each other.

Diverse concepts for assisted living, community living as well as computer courses, dancing events, sports and play groups – getting older in Berlin means social ties and an active lifestyle. The fear of age is unfounded in Berlin.

The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth as well as countless private associations help making aging in Berlin exciting day by day. Learning, being active and having fun doesn't stop with 60, this is when it really begins. Berlin has a wide range of age-appropriate ways of living with or without assistance.

The market research institute empirica differentiates between five basic types of "assisted living". Most common are sheltered accommodations which ensure care service until death. Second are housing areas with a service office providing external services. Furthermore, there are housing areas with a care center (e.g. a social station or the post of a nursing service) and retirement or residential homes. The alternative "Community Living" includes living projects with assistance by neighbors and professionals. The Senate Department for Urban Development and Environment also assists you in the age-appropriate adjustment of your apartment.