New in Konstanz with a child
FAQs on childcare for those who move to Konstanz and seek for information
Are you soon to become a parent or do you have a child and are looking for childcare? Are you moving to Konstanz to conduct research here or to work, and your family is joining you? The University of Konstanz is very family-friendly and actively supports good conditions for parents and research stays accompanied by the family. So that your children are well looked after during your time here and you are properly informed, we have put together the following information for you.
1. What childcare is available in Konstanz for children under six years of age?
Regular childcare can take place either in a day nursery (Kita) or with a childminder (Tagesmutter/Tagesvater). In both cases, there is a legal entitlement as soon as the child is a year old.
The day nurseries (Kitas) in Konstanz are predominantly run by the local authorities or the church. There are half-day and full-day places as well as extended morning sessions. Opening hours vary, but are generally between 07:00 or 08:00 and 17:00, or 14:00 on Fridays.
The child is slowly introduced to attending nursery school through a settling-in period lasting about four weeks. Parents should allow time for this and stay flexible. Each day nursery operates on the basis of its own pedagogical concept. Staff are professionally trained. During the transition to school, the day nurseries work together with the primary schools in the surrounding area.
Link to an overview of day nurseries in Konstanz: https://www.konstanz.de/leben+in+konstanz/bildung/tageseinrichtungen+fuer+kinder/uebersicht_+kindertageseinrichtungen+in+konstanz
An alternative to institutional childcare is childminders (Tagesmutter/Tagesvater). This option is primarily for children under three years of age. Childminders undergo 170 hours of training and are allowed to take care of up to five children at their (i.e. the childminder’s) home. They are registered with the city as childminders and included in a pool. Within the application process for a place with a childminder, you will have a personal interview with the city’s coordination office.
Link to further information about childminders: https://www.konstanz.de/leben+in+konstanz/bildung/kindertagespflege_+infos+fuer+eltern
2. How do I get a childcare or after-school place for my child?
The allocation of places for the day nurseries in Konstanz is coordinated centrally by the youth welfare office (Jugendamt) via the "Kitaweb". To apply for a place in a day nursery, you as a parent must pre-register with the City of Konstanz by 1 March of the respective year. This registration does not mean that your child has been allocated a place. It only gives the city an idea of parents’ requirements for places in crèches, day nurseries, after-school facilities or with childminders. When registering, you can list up to four facilities by order of priority, which you choose yourself according to their proximity to where you live or work.
Link to pre-registration for a place in a day nursery: https://www.konstanz.de/leben+in+konstanz/bildung/tageseinrichtungen+fuer+kinder/kita-vormerkung
3. Which criteria do I have to meet for a place in a day nursery?
Registration is conditional on your place of residence being in Konstanz or that you show – by means of a relocation certificate from the city ("Zuzugsbescheinigung") – that you intend to move to Konstanz. If your child is under three years of age, both parents must present a certificate from their employers. This means that entitlement to childcare is based on the number of hours that parents work. The more hours parents work, the higher the number of points in the ranking for a childcare place.
Due to the high demand for places, there is no automatic guarantee that siblings can be accommodated in the same facility. It can therefore happen that siblings find places in different facilities.
As a rule, the city takes proximity to place of residence into consideration when allocating places. Should you move home within Konstanz several times during your stay, you should update your address in Kitaweb each time.
In general, it is difficult to change from one facility to another one closer to home. You can enquire about this here: https://www.konstanz.de/,Lde/start/leben+in+konstanz/kita-vormerkung.html
4. What must I bear in mind regarding place of residence?
Only a place of residence in Germany entitles you to a place in a German childcare facility. The suburbs of Egg, Litzelstetten, Dingelsdorf, Dettingen and Wallhausen are part of Konstanz. If your place of residence is in Switzerland, you are obliged to use the childcare facilities there. If your place of residence is in Allensbach, Hegne, Radolfzell, Meersburg, Überlingen, etc., different registration procedures and overall conditions apply. In this case, please ask the local Youth Welfare Office (Jugendamt). There are also restrictions for schools in Konstanz: Children who live in the City of Konstanz have priority as far as admission to its primary schools is concerned. Children from surrounding communities (including Switzerland) with their own primary schools are admitted on a secondary basis.
5. When can I get a place for my child?
The day nursery year starts in September. Registration is possible throughout the year, but registration for places from September onwards must always be submitted via Kitaweb by 1 March at the latest. All the necessary documents must be in place and uploaded in Kitaweb by this date. Parents will receive confirmation of a place from the respective facility at about the end of May to the beginning of June. Your child can then start in the autumn, whereby the settling-in period may be between September and November.
You should therefore ideally register by 1 March at the latest, and your child should start nursery school in September or October. If you need a place earlier or decide at short notice to stay in or move to Konstanz, we can advise you on further interim options for childcare until you have found a regular place.
Waiting times are to be expected if the city does not have sufficient places available or if you need a place during the course of the year. The city is unable to forecast whether a place will be available until three months before your stay at the earliest.
Even though a research stay requires a lot of advance planning, early confirmation of a place is unfortunately not possible due to the childcare facilities’ limited capacities. As a rule, the childcare facilities know at the earliest three months beforehand whether a place will be available at the required time. As places are generally scarce in Konstanz, priority is given to older children on the waiting list.
6. Will I immediately get a place for my child?
Please note that there are still too few childcare places in Konstanz and the surrounding area, as demand continues to exceed the steadily growing supply. The city is increasing the number of places on a continuous basis, but implementation is impeded by a lack of staff and space. That is why there might be waiting times. This also applies to our Kinderhaus, the university’s childcare centre.
7. My children do not speak German. How can they settle in properly?
Apart from Kinderhaus am Rhein and Kinderhaus am Salzberg, the day nurseries usually do not explicitly offer language support. The kids learn German during play and interaction in everyday nursery life. Language support at schools takes place in the framework of preparatory classes ("Vorbereitungsklassen") for children who have recently immigrated. You can find current information on language support on the website of the education guidance office ("Bildungsberatung") of the City of Konstanz.
Link to the education guidance office in Konstanz: http://www.bildungsberatung-konstanz.de/
8. How much does a childcare place cost?
In Baden-Württemberg, parents pay a standard sum depending on their local authority. The monthly fees charged by individual facilities therefore do not differ significantly. You can find them on the website of the respective facility. As a rough guide for a full-day place: €360 for children under three years of age or €290 for children over three years of age and €290 for an extended morning place[J1] .
In the event that living and childcare fees are too high in comparison to your salary, you can apply for a subsidy towards childcare fees. Please submit your application to the Youth Welfare Office ("Jugendamt") together with confirmation from your child’s day nursery.
Monthly child allowance ("Kindergled") provided by the state helps towards the cost of childcare. You can claim the costs for childcare on your income tax return.
[J1]Kostet das wirklich das gleiche wie ein Ganztagesplatz? Laut pdf-Liste der Stadt Konstanz kostet ein verlängerter Platz inkl. Essen ca. 210 €, nicht 290€….
9. What do I need to know if I want to apply for a place at the university’s Kinderhaus childcare centre?
The university’s Kinderhaus Knirps & Co. childcare centre is located directly on campus and is run by the Knirps & Co. Association. The Kinderhaus offers childcare for up to 135 children aged between six months and six years. At least one parent must be employed at the university or else undertaking a research stay or studying there. If one parent is looking for work or taking part in a language course, a place can be allocated for a limited period of up to one year. Here too, the allocation of a place is conditional on central registration via Kitaweb (see Question 5) and on both parents working.
For the regular allocation of places, the same procedure applies as described above under Question 6. Places are confirmed in May/June for a start in the autumn. During the year, getting a place depends on capacities and other criteria, e.g. the child’s age. New admissions are usually only possible for children under three years of age. As a rule, children who are over three years of age and come from outside the catchment area have no prospect of a place, since places for children over three years of age are reserved for children moving up from the crèche. Exceptions are only possible on enquiry in the case of short stays (of two months) and if a place should become available ad hoc due to fluctuation during the planned period of the stay. Places are allocated to families whose place of residence is in the City of Konstanz; in exceptional cases, there is a small contingent for families from surrounding towns, including Kreuzlingen. In accepting a place, parents become members of the Knirps & Co. Association.
Contact: Sabine Weinhammer, Director, Kinderhaus Knirps & Co.
Tel.: +49 7531 88-4321, email@example.com
Link to the registration process for the Kinderhaus: https://www.uni-konstanz.de/gleichstellungsreferat/familie/kinderbetreuung/kinderhaus-knirps-co/kinderhaus/anmeldungkita-vormerkung/
10. What possibilities are there for short-term, flexible childcare?
Members of the university can fall back on emergency childcare / Plan B in the following circumstances:
- Your child is ill
- The parents are ill
- You have important professional commitments for which you do not have any regular childcare in place
- You come for a short stay to the University of Konstanz, etc.
You can contact the service provided by the mobile nursery school staff, who look after your child both on campus or at home, by telephone on +49 162-5499149 or +49 174-8391266.
Link to emergency childcare: www.uni-konstanz.de/gleichstellungsreferat/familie/kinderbetreuung/flexible-betreuung-plan-b/notfallbetreuung/
Kinderzimmer (KiZ), as another Plan B option, is a nursery school intended for parents who require a place for their child at short notice or only for a limited period. KiZ offers childcare for children between the ages of six months and three years. The KiZ group is accommodated in Room F101 at the university and part of the Kinderhaus in terms of organization. They share the garden and the playroom of the Kinderhaus.
Link to the KiZ: https://www.uni-konstanz.de/gleichstellungsreferat/familie/kinderbetreuung/flexible-betreuung-plan-b/kinderzimmer-kiz/
Please find further suggestions under Question 17.
11. Who looks after my child in the event of illness or an unforeseen lack of childcare?
For many years now, all members of the university have been able to make use of the university’s emergency childcare service in the event that no childcare is available or if parents or their children are ill. Care is available for children aged between four months and 12 years. The maximum time is six hours per day on a maximum of three days per week. The service is available from 08:00 to 20:00. To book, please contact the staff from Monday to Friday between 08:00 and 17:00. Parents pay a small hourly fee (currently €4 for students, €6 for staff).
Link to the university’s emergency childcare:
12. How do I find the right school for my child? Is there an international school?
The City of Konstanz has a wide range of schools from primary to secondary level, each with a different focus. Only in Kreuzlingen/Switzerland is there an international school that teaches exclusively in English. As a rule, children of primary school age attend a school close to their home. If your children do not speak German, they will first be placed in a preparatory class ("VKL-Klasse"), which offers additional remedial teaching in the German language. We are happy to assist you in choosing a suitable primary or secondary school. You can also consult the education guidance office ("Bildungsberatung") of the City of Konstanz.
Link to education guidance in Konstanz: http://www.bildungsberatung-konstanz.de/
13. Who can advise me on school and education issues in Konstanz?
Since the end of 2021, the City of Konstanz has put the "Counselling Atlas Constance" (Beratungsatlas Konstanz) online, which maps 130 education and counselling centres from over 50 institutions in Konstanz. Using the questions "In which area would you like counselling?" and "For whom are you seeking counselling?", those seeking counselling can quickly and easily find counselling options in the vicinity. The areas covered are pre-school, school, higher education, general and vocational further education as well as senior citizens' education in and around Konstanz.
Link to the Beratungsatlas Konstanz (only in German): http://www.konstanz.de/beratungsatlas
14. What childcare is available in Konstanz for primary school children?
At primary level, school starts between 7:30 and 8:00 and ends at around 12:00 or 13:00. Schools offer lunchtime supervision (during what is known as the ‘core time’). This is organized by the schools. Children get a hot meal and there is homework supervision, or they can participate in group activities. As a rule, this childcare lasts until 16:00, sometimes longer. A small monthly fee is charged, depending on the number of days.
Link to the list of primary schools: http://www.bildungsberatung-konstanz.de/schullaufbahn/schulformen/grundschulen/
After-school childcare ("Hort") is a reliable alternative. After-school childcare is an extracurricular form of childcare provided by an external organization, e.g. Caritas. As with the childcare provided by schools, a "Hort" offers lunch and homework supervision with afternoon activities. However, opening hours are usually longer, as a rule until 17:30. Registration for after-school childcare also takes place via the Kitaweb portal.
Link to the Kitaweb portal: https://www.konstanz.de/,Lde/start/leben+in+konstanz/kita-vormerkung.html
15. What childcare options are there apart from day nursery, school and after-school childcare?
Childminders (Tagesmutter/Tagesvater) are a suitable type of childcare if you need to bridge the waiting time until your child is allocated a place or only need childcare on certain days. It is primarily intended for children under three years of age.
Childminders undergo 170 hours of training and are allowed to take care of up to five children at their (i.e. the childminder’s) home. They are registered with the city as childminders and included in a pool. Within the application process for a place with a childminder, you will have a personal interview with the city’s coordination office.
Link to further information about childminders: https://www.konstanz.de/leben+in+konstanz/bildung/kindertagespflege_+infos+fuer+eltern
If you require childcare in your own home, you can find some suggestions under Question 17.
16. Who looks after my child during the school holidays or a research visit that falls in the school holidays?
The semester is still in full swing, but the schools are already on holiday. So what should I do with my child? In cooperation with various organizations in the City of Konstanz and the Academic Sports Service, the University of Konstanz offers an exciting and wide-ranging holiday programme for children between 6 and 15 years of age.
Link to “Children’s Holiday Programme of the University of Konstanz”: https://www.unser-ferienprogramm.de/uni-konstanz/index.php
Link to “Holiday Programme of the City of Konstanz”: https://www.konstanz.de/,Lde/start/leben+in+konstanz/ferienprogramm.html
Link to “Summer Holiday Programme of the City of Konstanz”: https://konstanz.feripro.de/
Link to an overview of holidays in Baden-Württemberg: https://www.schulferien.org/Baden-Wurttemb_/baden-wurttemb_.html
17. Where can I go with my child on campus, in the surrounding area and in Konstanz?
The university is surrounded by greenery and not far from the lake. There are many attractive places to go both on the university’s family-friendly campus as well as nearby, e.g. St Katharine Beer Garden, Mainau Island or Mainau Adventure Forest.
Link to “Family-friendly Campus”: https://www.uni-konstanz.de/gleichstellungsreferat/familie/familienfreundlicher-campus/
The website “Hermine” offers a fantastic children’s map with events taking place in and around Konstanz. Link to Hermine events: http://www.hermine-termine.de/
18. How can I find a private childminder?
If you need private childcare, you can find and hire someone in one of the following ways. We have compiled an example of how to formulate an advert that you can use as a template.
Link to the template is to be followed
You can post an advert free of charge on the job exchange website of Seezeit student services.
Link to Seezeit job exchange: https://www.seezeit.com/Community/pages/Jobboerse/index.jsp
On the job platform Betreut.de, you can view the profiles of local childminders and babysitters and get in touch with them. To do so, you need to register with the platform for a limited period and a fee.
Link to Betreut.de: www.betreut.de
You can also post an advert on a university noticeboard or ask students directly whether they would like to look after your children. To do so, ask around, e.g. at the secretary’s office in your department or among your colleagues, or ask student assistants.
If you need private childcare regularly but at flexible times, you can employ the person in your household on the basis of what is called a “€450 mini job”. As the employer, you register the person with the Minijob agency. This is easily done via a one-page household check. This allows you to deduct 20 per cent of the costs incurred – up to a maximum of €510 – from your tax liability. There are other advantages apart from these tax benefits. For example, the Minijob agency takes care of registering the childminder for statutory accident insurance and collecting contributions. In this way, the person hired is fully insured. As an employer, you pay lump-sum contributions to health and pension insurance, flat-rate tax as well as levies to compensate for your expenses in the event that your childminder is ill (“U1”) or pregnant/on maternity leave (“U2”) as well as accident insurance contributions.
The person hired also enjoys a number of advantages, e.g. entitlement to paid leave and continued remuneration in the event of illness, pro rata pension entitlements as well as full accident insurance.
Link to the Minijob agency: https://www.minijob-zentrale.de
19. Where can I borrow utensils for children?
At the district centre Treffpunkt Petershausen in Konstanz, a wide variety of things can be borrowed, including many utensils that families often don't have but need now and then, e.g. when several children come together, or a children's birthday party is coming up. Examples are high chairs, child seats, booster seats, chocolate fountains, waffle irons, candyfloss and popcorn machines, pavilions, football goals, pedalo, Swedish chess, sack races.
Link to the rental shop of the City of Konstanz (only in German): https://www.konstanz.de/kultur+_+freizeit/kultur-+und+begegnungszentren/treffpunkt+petershausen/leihladen
20. Whom can I contact if I have any further questions about family matters?
- For questions about childcare places in the city, childminders, school places, after-school childcare places, Kitaweb registration, childcare enquiries in general, studying with a child and international visitors with children: Christiane.Harmsen@uni-konstanz.de
- For questions about working in academia with a child, the compatibility of academic work and family, pregnancy, parental leave/allowance and family-conscious leadership: firstname.lastname@example.org
- For questions about the compatibility of parenthood and career (in academic support services) and caring for relatives: email@example.com
- For questions about childcare during the holidays, emergency childcare and KiZ: Yunuen.Mann@uni-konstanz.de (Coordinator, Kinderhaus)
- For questions about registration or the concept at Kinderhaus Knirps & Co: firstname.lastname@example.org (Director, Kinderhaus)
- For questions about dual career and professional opportunities for your partner: email@example.com (Dual Career Advisor)
- For questions about taxes, social security or child allowance: firstname.lastname@example.org (Social Security Advisor)
- For questions about visas, finding accommodation, bringing your family to Konstanz and language courses: email@example.com (Welcome Centre)