Hi, can you please share your experiences of being a working parent (with no SAHP) in Germany. Looking at various websites the childcare provision seems quite patchy, some areas have all day Kindergarten (Kitas?) or Ganztagsschule. Some have Horts but by no mean all schools and opening times seem to vary enormously and there is no information on actual availability and waiting lists. I posted briefly on Netmoms.de outlining what I have here(UK) (wraparound care 7.45 - 5.30 every day except Friday) and asking how comparable that is, and was basically told I am very lucky and not to expect that in Germany.
What about nannys / au-pairs / after-school nannys? Is there lots of 'unofficial' provision available if you are prepared to advertise and pay for it?
My DC are 2 and 5 so would be at school and Kindergarten within a year or so.
Forgot to mention that they do start work earlier than us, and Bakers were open at 5.30am . Many office workers start at 7am and have 2 hours for lunch. And many finished at 2pm on Fridays, depending on their job.
Thanks for all your helpful replies. We both speak German but are English and I expect we would speak English at home if we lived in Germany so the dc had that as a home language. We currently speak a lot of German at home. I work part time at the moment but I know it would be difficult to get part time professional work here in the UK at a new company so don't expect to be able to do that in Germany either. I completely agree that starting school at 4 probably doesn't make English kids any more advanced and would like to avoid that for my youngest. I've no idea if sharing pick and drop offs will be feasible or not as its not currently in the UK but that will depend on location of work etc. I think we would be looking to live in a largish town, eg Augsburg as we would both rather walk, cycle, bus to work rather than drive.
ooh, Augsburg is really quite nice, though. And isn't it, by Bavarian terms at least, comparatively Protestant. And in a city you're much more likely to find a school that offers at least half-day schooling, and for you to find work too.
You might be realistic that finding professional work will initially be difficult - although since you speak German, not impossible - but something you could always consider is English teaching at the local Volkshochschule or in Kitas, at least as a way of starting off. A friend of mine used to have a fairly high-up IT project management role in Australia but moved to Germany to be with her now husband. She spent a year or so teaching English, and then a few years later, when her youngest child was around 3, started working again in a very responsible full-time IT job. She's always valued that year when she taught English because it gave her a different perspective and allowed her to settle into the country.