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Question for mums in Germany re. Kindergarten/Kindertagesstaette

(8 Posts)
annasmami Mon 09-Jul-07 21:54:08

We live in the UK and are going to spend about 4 weeks in Germany with my family during August. I would like to send my 2 dcs (3 and 5 years old) to a German Kindergarten while we are there so that they can practice their German (and I can have some free time ).

I was really surprised to find how easy it is to be offered a place (my parents live in the town, so we do have an address there), but am now wondering what excactly they are offering us.... It is a "Städtischer Kindergarten / Kindertagesstätte" and they are happy to take both children for a months period. I am very pleased about this, but was wondering whether any of you had some more information what excactly such institutions offer? Is it comparable to a UK nursery school? Or more of a day nursery? Any thoughts or tips would be much appreciated. Thanks!

annasmami Tue 10-Jul-07 13:28:48

Just to add that my dcs are offered a place for the four weeks as a 'Gastkind'. Any ideas what to expect would be appreciated. Many Thanks.

LIZS Tue 10-Jul-07 13:35:03

I would have thought the Kindergarten is sessional (ie am's only)structured playgroup type environment and the Kindertagesstätte more daycare.

SSSandy2 Tue 10-Jul-07 13:36:45

do they go to nursery in the UK annasmami? If so , they shouldn't have huge problems. Dd went to 3 diff kindergartens here but not state ones. Don't think there is a big diff though. I think you are quite lucky that they are able to take the dc for a month, it is often diff for dp to get kindergarten places. It won't be excessively expensive so if your dc are unhappy, you could just stop the experiment.

Well going by ours, there is no instruction as such but the dd will eat breakfast together around 8.30-9 depending on the kg. Then they either do what they want in their group of 15 odd mixed age dc indoors or outdoors. After that they will sit down and have a cooked lunch, the smaller ones have a nap, the older ones play quietly (at least that's the idea) then they wake up, get dressed again, have a drink and snack and do what they want till they're picked up.

Some kg have a morning sing-a-long, some do some structured work like painting or reading a story. Basically for your dc it is all about German practice, I'd expect and should be ok. I'd imagine you'd spend the first day there with them.

Is your 3 year old able to dress/undress, get shoes on and off, go to the loo unaided? Those kind of skills will help.

Hope it's a nice time for all of you.

SSSandy2 Tue 10-Jul-07 15:20:59

It won't be directly comparable to say reception because the Erzieher are not teachers and they are not qualified to teach. Your 5 year old may be a in Vorschule group once a week or so, where they do something with numbers or letters but generally speaking, because the people working in these places do not have the equivalent of a university education, they are more child carers than educators IYSWIM and their duties are in alignment with that.

annasmami Tue 10-Jul-07 20:09:16

Thanks for your replies!

Talked to the Leiterin today and she explained that children can be dropped off any time after 7:30 and be collected either at 12:30 (before lunch), 14:00 (including lunch) or 16:00, and children are grouped by age. So it appears to be a combination of Kindergarten (similar to UK nursery school) and Kindertagesstaette (day nursery)?

Do many children go to a state Kindergarten/tagesstaette or are private ones quite common? Are the private ones more structured/teaching based? Are the state ones mainly supervised freeplay..?

You are right SSSandy, I am mainly after the language input, but my kids would probably enjoy some activities, eg. singing, games or storytime. I didn't want to ask the Leiterin too many questions... as I feel very lucky to even be offered these places (and for such a modest fee - well, certainly compared to UK nursery school fees...)

SSSandy2 Tue 10-Jul-07 20:19:39

I think the state ones will be fine so long as the Erzieher are nice. Maybe just try it and see. If you don't like the feel of the place or the Erzieher, your dc probably won't either. I'd imagine it'll be fine. And no, I don't think private ones are substantially better than state ones, they might offer English or something at extra cost. They don't all have great playground facilities, at least not here, might be diff where your family lives.

IME a lot of free play is the norm and may not be a bad thing for your dc. Some do singing in a morning circle or once a week, others have diff things on every day. I found from listening to other dp that the state ones were better in that respect and offered more structured activities than the private ones

I think personally I would pick them up at 2pm after lunch. Dc like the companionship of eating together. It might be a bit too long to leave them there till 4pm, at least at the beginning when they haven't made friends.

annasmami Tue 10-Jul-07 22:22:04

Yes, that sounds very reasonable, and I imagine my dcs will be fine and hopefully have some fun - I think your idea, SSS, of letting them eat with the other children is a very good one in terms of making friends and speaking German (and means I don't have to feed them for a while...).

I actually feel that young children should be able to be 'children' and play with whatever they enjoy. I am still getting used to the UK system, with children being taught letters and numbers in nursery school and being taught to read and write from age 4....!

Thanks again for your tips and suggestions!

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