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Living in Berlin - Kindergartens please help?

(18 Posts)
virtualrealityfreak Mon 03-Aug-09 15:07:39


I have just come accross this site on the web and wondered if anyone could assist me please?

We are currently living in Chalottenberg area, Berlin and will probably be here for about six months (we have already been here for about four in another area).

I have a two and a half year old daughter who I have been trying to sort out a suitable Kita for. We have already sampled an extremely bad state kita in the previous area and have begun a new bilingual kita but are unsure if she will be able to stay there. This is due as I have found out to my cost to some doubt over correct notice periods when it comes to kita contracts.

Has anyone else had this experience and / or could give me some advice please? I am feeling extremely negative about Kindergardens in general at present and don't want to put my little one in another bad one. However my little one needs something as is a sociable, enquiring little girl.

Also, does anyone recommend or know what the Charles Dickens kita is like and if they have places please? We are in Richard Wagner Platz so are unsure where Charles Dickens Kita is in relation to this.

Thanks in advance.

ZZZenAgain Mon 03-Aug-09 15:18:47

To the best of my knowledge the Charles Dickens primary school does not have a kindergarten attached. Here is the website, you can read it in English if you click on the flag. It's off the Heerstr - from Richard Wagner Platz if you were driving down the Heerstrasse it would be west in the direction of Spandau. The closest train station is the SBahn Olympia Stadio.

What bothered you about the kindergarten you had? Offhand I'm sorry I don't know of any good kindergarten near where you live but that doesn't mean there aren't any.

The British school has a nursery and that is right next door to the Charles Dickens School, is that the one you're thinking of maybe?

ZZZenAgain Mon 03-Aug-09 15:26:12


Here's a list of bilingual kindergarten, none of them very close to you, possibly the one in the Gervinus Strasse (near Ubhf Wilmersdorfer Strasse) is closest. No idea if it is any good though.

Sorry i don't know what the business with contracts is. I know families who were quite happy with Tom Sawyer (which is Ubhf Oskar-Helene-Heim) down in Zehlendorf. Not convenient for you. There is also an English-German Montessori kindergarten down there in the rooms of the American church.

Why don't you look generally for a Montessori kiga, bilingual or not?

ZZZenAgain Mon 03-Aug-09 15:29:29

btw St. George's Anglican church which is not far from you really (Ubhf Neuwestend) has an English toddler group one morning a week. Why don't you go there and meet some people? Have a look at their website, I think the group is on Mondays but I'll try and find it for you. Depends on the actual group of people how nice it is obviously but back when we went it was a nice morning out.

ZZZenAgain Mon 03-Aug-09 15:33:52

The website no longer says when the toddler group meets but if you call the Rev. Christopher Jäger-Bowler who is a lovely man, I'm sure he'd be happy to tell you. Or go in and read the noticeboard. They also have a coffee morning one day a week and booksales and things.

virtualrealityfreak Mon 03-Aug-09 16:50:26

Hi again, Thanks for all your help so quickly! To answer your questions:
My daughter went to a Kita in Mitte which where unfortunatlly she was not well treated. She became scared: 'No Kita mummy', not eating, not sleeping and starting becoming withdrawn (not at all like her. She is generally a very enquiring, friendly little girl). There were many problems there which I have complained about to the relevant authority (once I had found out where they are).
I might have been thinking of the British Kindergarden possibly.

virtualrealityfreak Mon 03-Aug-09 16:55:45

OK thanks. Zehelendorf would be a bit far for us if had to do early morning as no car just U bahn. However, sounds like a good kindergarten.
I want to try and stick to a bilingual Kindergarden if possible because daughter seems to feel more confortable with at least and element of English speakers. Her friend at the current kita is south african so english speaking. She has a little deutch though (more than me) ; )

virtualrealityfreak Mon 03-Aug-09 17:12:58

Thank you. I have just emailed St George's Church so will let you know if I get a response thanks.
I have just read my previous responses (apologises for bad spelling I should have checked before posting ; ).
Thank you again for responding so quickly. It is much appreciated. Will keep you posted....

virtualrealityfreak Mon 03-Aug-09 17:49:10

Sorry, I missed reading about Gervinus Strasse (near Ubhf Wilmersdorfer Strasse). I will check that one out thanks!

ZZZenAgain Mon 03-Aug-09 20:42:17

OMG that's horrible your little girl being scared at kiga at such a young age. Well done making an official complaint though.

The best thing (if you and she like it) would be to stay at your current bilingual one then where she already has a little South African friend. Is that absolutely out of the question then? Sounds a bit odd. Why did they give you a place and then decide you couldn't keep it. I don't understand what they could mean with giving notice on kitas. Is this because you are still in effect registered with the first crap one and therefore you are not entitled to move to a second one until notice at the first has run its course?

So the new bilingual one is state-run too? Seems a bit mad, I should think there is a way around it. Ask the person who runs the kindergarten if you could have a little chat maybe.

virtualrealityfreak Tue 04-Aug-09 15:07:08

Thanks for that. It was horrible but she is ok now. I just don't want her to be in that position again.

I am waiting to hear back about the official complaint that we made (I have one good German friend who came with me to make the complaint - they don't speak any English at the Kindergarten City central place). My friend is going to chase that up for me when she comes back from holiday tomorrow.

Yes, we would like. The one friend she has made is a really nice little boy and they are very mischievous together.

I am not sure if the new kita will work out ok. I signed the new kita contract after we left the old kita. Unfortunately as the manager of the new kita found out we were still under the notice period for the old kita (this I was unaware of as only have dealt with English law and can't ask anyone anything anyway because it is all in German - did not even know there was a notice period! Never come across that in the UK).

The dispute is based on one section of the old Kita contract which my German friend has recently read to me. Within one section of the document there is a contradiction between two sentences.

One sentence says: that a notice period can only extend between the 'end' of the month when you have given notice and the 'end' of another two months. This is irrespective of when you terminate a contract during the month, i.e. the contract was terminated on 11the June 2009 but the notice period is taken from 30th June 2009 - 31st August 2009.

The second sentence says: that a notice period extends between the day you give notice for exactly two months hence, i.e. 11th June 2009 - 11h August 2009.

The problem I am having (again because I have not been able to speak German) is trying to establish (via all relevant authorities in person) 'which' is the correct notice period in order to move forward with the new Kita contract.

Currently, the old Kita are receiving government funding for a child who is not in their care. My daughter has been at the new Kita for just over a week.

This is another issue as although the New Kita are not state run, (my husband pays fees every month, plus we have an agreed amount as part of the Gutchein given by the Bezirksamt Wilmerdorf von Berlin) they still require government subsidy to cover rent and staff wages etc.

I am currently waiting for feedback from the manager and her colleague with regard to the 'correct' kita contract notice period.

Unfortunately, as usual (this is not unknown in my case) I have been doing several people's jobs for them! And unfortunately the relevant people have been on holiday at this time.

I have decided to take a little holiday of my own meanwhile and see what comes out of all this!

Thanks for listening anyway! I will keep you posted if anything 'concrete' come back!

ZZZenAgain Tue 04-Aug-09 20:41:34

yes it is customary to have to give notice, I suppose it is so they have some time to fill their spaces and therefore ensure they continue to get enough state funding to pay their staff etc. I think notice is usually (was for mine IIRC) from the end of the month so I would assume end of June -end of August. Meaning your old kiga is receiving state funding for your place till end of August and you therefore the new kita cannot get funding for your dc before September.

I suppose it depends how full they are whether they will leave a place free for you till September when it can be state-supported or whether they will allocate it to someone else now.

I wonder how high the state subsidy is each month per child? I'm wondering whether you could just come to some kind of agreement with the current kiga to pay that yourself for August (if it isn't astronomical of course). I suppose you are paying double kiga fees anyway as it is though

virtualrealityfreak Wed 05-Aug-09 13:48:40

It is 391 euros on top of fees and gutchein money per month in answer to your question. And yes my husband did pay this for July but we draw the line there!

Have had a email back from the church to let me know that they will tell me about coffee morn etc when vicar gets back next week.

ZZZenAgain Thu 06-Aug-09 10:19:08

does sound a right pita. Especially if you are only going to be there and needing the kiga another 6 months.

Is it even really worth bothering since your experiences haven't been that great? I mean could you keep up the friendship with the South African dc by inviting them round in the afternoon and go to a couple of toddler groups on top of that? for instance your local German churches will have them if you feel up to that : Mutter-Kind-Gruppe or Spielgruppe 1 x morning a week. They will be listed on a noticeboard outside the church or ask at the office. The Haus der Familie which is in Kantstrasse near Ubahnhof Wilmersdorfer Strasse has groups and did have a bilingual English-German one though I never attended it, a friend of mine set it up.

There's also the Haus der Familie not far from you (Schillerstrasse) where they can advise generally and they have a German-English playgroup. Organised by Jocelyn Cameron-Rönsch. At the moment Tuesdays 4.-5.30pm, accordig to their programme which is valid till end of August. never been there so no idea what it is like. _programm_03_bis_08_2009_druck.pdf

Here's a webpage in English about that playgroup with telephone numbers, there are a lot of these playgroups actually

Anyway hope it gets sorted and you'll enjoy the rest of your stay

virtualrealityfreak Mon 10-Aug-09 07:23:28

We have seen my daughter's little South African friend over the last two weeks. Which she enjoyed. Think I will ring his mum and explain the situation (all the other kids are due to go back to Kita this week after the holiday). I don't know if it will pan out as don't want to push it with the mum as have already rung her twice during the last two weeks!

To be honest I am quite ambivalent about Kitas in general at the moment. Don't know what will happen with this one at all. It is all very muddled from all sides.

Thanks for that. I will check out the info and get back to you once have found out more.

Thanks again for your help!

virtualrealityfreak Wed 12-Aug-09 13:51:25

I hope you get to read this ZZZenAgain.

I have had feedback from St George's Church about the toddler group which meets on a Monday morning.

I have registered with TOBAMO (an online parent's group who organise events within the relevant area i.e. Berlin).

I still have to explore the options that you kindly sent me....

On the Kita front we are still not 100 percent sure what will happen as it is still a muddle?

Thanks again! If you ever fancy meeting up for a coffee and a chat after all this (if you have time!) let me know via this link ; )

ZZZenAgain Thu 13-Aug-09 11:53:37

Hi, this slipped off my threads list so thanks for reporting back. Yes, try the St. George one. They have a fenced in garden, some trikes and pushcars and things so if the weather was nice, we generally sat outdoors which was pleasant.

Kiga thing seems to be dragging on a bit. Hope things get resolved in the way you'd like. My own experience with dd's kigas were largely positive (one exception - where I should have listened to the warning bells and reacted a bit faster)

We're not in Berlin atm but will try and alert you if I'm around and see how you are getting on.

virtualrealityfreak Fri 14-Aug-09 12:04:15

Aimi is back at Kita! Long story but basically the new Kita have been working with me the last couple of days to find out correct information. The position is that we are officially under contract to the new Kita.

The only matter outstanding is Gutshein money which my husband and I would be required to pay (officially) to the old kita for this month. Something about 'getting stuffed' comes to mind! They may take legal action but the amount is so small that it would not be worth their while bothering. Also, one of the manager's of the new Kita has volunteered to help me with all that German legal stuff if need be.

I'm glad your experience with DD Kita's has been positive on the whole. What happened with 'one exception - where I should have listened to the warning bells and reacted a bit faster)' if you don't mind me asking?

Because Aimi is back at Kita we will not be able to go to the St George's toddler group on a Monday morning unfortunately. However, I have enquired about Sunday morning church service / crèche there for little ones? So might give that a go over the next week or two!


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