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The kindergarten is an institution for public or private early childcare / day care .

A group in a kindergarten in Alanya


The kindergarten is an early childhood educational institution for children who have reached the age of three in Germany and four in Switzerland and who must be at least two and a half years old in Austria but are not yet going to school. In contrast to this, facilities / groups for younger children are usually referred to as crèche and after- school care facilities / groups for children of primary school age. Based on Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel , the founder (actually founder) of the first kindergarten, the term is now used more and more often as a collective term for all day care facilities.

In Germany, 93.6% of children between the ages of 3 and 5 attend daycare. There are still major differences between the various federal states, especially between East and West Germany, with the childcare quota in East Germany being higher than in West Germany.

Kindergarten in Afghanistan

In Germany and Austria, the kindergarten is assigned to the social sector , in Germany it belongs to the child and youth welfare department , in Austria it is part of the social security sector. Associated with this is a socio-educational orientation with an upbringing, education and care mandate. The kindergarten complements the family education; it opens up expanded and comprehensive opportunities for experience and education for the children beyond the family environment. Unlike the school system the state has in the child day care no independent, the right of education independent of the parent order. This task of the kindergarten is derived from the parents' right to bring up children and is assigned to them by the (care) contract. In the course of the education debate, which in Germany especially increased the average performance in international PISA studies , attention increasingly focused on the educational mandate of the kindergarten (see also preschool ).

In Switzerland, the kindergarten is part of the school system . Outside of school hours, the children are at home or are looked after in the day nursery. The kindergarten is regulated by a canton or a commune, depending on the canton.

There the term kindergarten pupil is sometimes used. Otherwise kindergarten children in Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Vorarlberg are often referred to as kindergarten teachers .

With regard to the opening times, one can roughly distinguish three forms:

  • Part-time care , in the morning and / or in the afternoon
  • Extended morning offer , from morning until after lunch
  • All-day care , from morning to late afternoon. In Germany, these facilities are often called day care centers (Kita for short), day care centers or day care centers. Lately, with a view to reconciling family and work , providers have increasingly been offering extended care hours, which start very early in the morning (5:30 a.m.) and last until late in the evening (8 p.m.) and include Saturdays and overnight accommodations.

In most German kindergartens, different educational specialists work, such as educators , childhood educators , social educators , child carers and social assistants . In Austria, specially trained kindergarten teachers, child carers and support staff are employed in kindergartens. In Switzerland, trained kindergarten teachers teach at universities of teacher education.

In Germany, kindergartens are maintained - regionally in very different proportions - by independent organizations or by the municipalities . Independent sponsors are primarily church sponsors, voluntary welfare institutions , associations and parents' initiatives or private sector sponsors.

There were a total of 56,708 day care centers for children in Germany. Of these, 21,218 offer integrative care for children with and without disabilities. Only 228 day-care centers are aimed solely at children with disabilities or special needs.

Everyday life in a forest kindergarten

Increasingly, the facilities are no longer operated separately according to age groups (crèche, kindergarten, day-care center) or target groups (children with special needs), but in an integrated or at least combined form.


Historical background

The family and social circumstances in which children grew up changed dramatically as a result of the rural exodus that accompanied the industrial revolution and the separation from the extended family . Women were increasingly involved in the industrial production process. In the rapidly growing cities in particular, the children were neglected.

Kindergarten as an educational concept

“Children's Prison from 1852”
in Hamburg's Neustadt district
Friedrich Froebel Museum in Bad Blankenburg (Thuringia), the world's first kindergarten building (opened in 1840)
One of the world's first kindergartens: Luisenstift in Neustrelitz , Mecklenburg-Strelitz, opened in 1842

In the 19th century, different names existed for the institutions of public education for young children, which are now generally referred to as kindergartens. Among other things, they were referred to as toddler schools, infant care centers or kindergartens. While the kindergartens mostly followed Friedrich Fröbel's pedagogy , the terms “toddler school” and “toddler custody” cannot be used to infer a specific pedagogy. In Keilhau , however, he coined the term “kindergarten”: “down there in the valley everything is like a garden ...”. In this Thuringian town he is also honored by the Froebel view along with a memorial with a cube, roller and ball. In Bavaria in 1839 the designation “toddler school” was banned because the institutions for public education for toddlers were “private institutes” that were not supposed to be part of the school system . One of the first public education institutions for small children was established in Germany around 1780 in Straubing . As early as 1760, Pastor Oberlin set up a so-called "knitting school" in the village of Belmont (Alsace). "... In essence, we find a combination of kindergarten and daycare" (Psczolla, no year, p. 10). For the general development of the pre-school facility was u. a. the forgotten Countess Teréz von Brunszvik is important. Said founded the first childcare facility under the name "Engelgarten" in Buda on June 1, 1828. At a young age she lived in Switzerland, among other places, where she met Pestalozzi . This encounter was crucial for their future. She became a pioneer in women's education in Hungary. She herself founded eleven public education institutions for young children, a vocational school, a higher education institution for girls (in cooperation with her niece, Blanka Countess von Teleki) and a home economics school . In 1836 she founded an association for the opening of infant care institutions. She passed on her educational experience on her travels to Germany ( Munich and Augsburg ), England, Italy, etc. By her death in 1861, the number of public education institutions for young children in Hungary grew to 80. The countess called on the government to regulate the education of kindergarten teachers and wrote several specialist books on the importance of early childhood education. Kindergarten teacher training has been ongoing in Hungary since 1837, and has been a university course since September 1, 1959.

Friedrich Wilhelm Froebel (1782-1852), the founder of the kindergarten
Froebel kindergarten in Bad Blankenburg
Johann Sperl : Kindergarten; around 1885
Albert Anker , toddler school on the Kirchenfeld Bridge in Bern , 1900
Toddler school in Hamburg-Stellingen , 1889
Friedrich Froebel founded the first kindergarten in the town hall of Bad Blankenburg

After initial approaches towards the end of the 18th century, including Johann Friedrich Oberlin , Louise Scheppler or 1802 Pauline zur Lippe , the Thuringian Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel founded the first "General German Kindergarten" in Bad Blankenburg in Thuringia on June 28, 1840 in the town hall of Blankenburg . To commemorate this foundation, Deutsche Post AG issued a postage stamp worth 215 euro cents on June 6, 2015 . The design comes from the graphic designer Lisa Röper from Kassel. The pedagogue described the discovery of the name Kindergarten as a revelation that happened to him in the spring of 1840 on a hike from Blankenburg to Keilhau. For him, the child in the children's garden should be cared for and cherished like a plant. Originally, the facility for children from around 2 to 7 years of age was supposed to be a showroom for mothers, to whom Friedrich Fröbel ascribed the crucial importance in bringing up children, in order to show them how to use the activities and toys developed by the teacher. In general, kindergarten should radiate positive impulses into the family.

Two years before the foundation of the kindergarten, the Marlishaus priest Johann Samuel Ferdinand Blumröder had founded an infant care facility in the village belonging to Schwarzburg-Sondershausen . As early as 1835, the theologian and educator Karl Reinthaler (1794 to 1863), who was born in Erfurt, had suggested the establishment of a so-called waiting and care facility for small children, which was also known as the waiting school association . Together with five “honorable men” of the city, the founding deed was signed on May 23, 1835 in the meeting room of the city commission for the poor. As can be seen from the documents of that time that are still completely preserved, on the opening day, July 20, 1835, a single mother and her child stood in front of the gate of the hospital, where the little ones were initially to be protected and kept (twelve had been expected). A woman who was specially qualified for the purpose looked after the ever-growing number of children, which quickly grew to 20 to 30 children.

By 1846 the first “real” kindergartens according to Fröbel's ideas existed in Annaburg, Lünen, Dresden, Frankfurt am Main, Homburg v. d. H., Gotha and Quetz .

In 1851 the kindergarten was banned in Prussia “because of atheistic tendencies” . The then Prussian minister Karl Otto von Raumer was in charge . For the “Königl. Prussian Ministry of Spiritual, Educational and Medical Affairs ”were considered to be pernicious and completely unfounded by Friedrich Froebel's pedagogical views (quoted in Nacke 1853, p. 358). In Bavaria, the State Ministry of the Interior also banned kindergarten in 1851. His closeness to the free communities and their socialist ideas was his undoing. The ministry relied on the fact that “the common harmfulness of such institutions is known, and careful vigilance appears necessary” (quoted from the Bavarian prohibition resolution in Lange 2013, p. 195). The infants' institutions remained unaffected by the prohibitions in Prussia and Bavaria. They continued to receive state funding. The governments were not fundamentally bothered by the upbringing of children in public institutions. It should only take place loyally to the state. In Bavaria, for example, there were 91 infant care centers in 1852, in which 6,796 children were looked after. On the initiative of Fröbelepigonin Bertha von Marenholtz-Bülow and social politician Adolf Lette , the kindergarten ban was lifted in 1860. This cleared the way for the establishment of kindergartens, with women in particular succeeding Froebel. For example, Angelika Hartmann founded a kindergarten based on Froebel in Köthen (Anhalt) in 1864 and the "Leipziger Froebel Club" in 1876.

The educator August Köhler was an important man in the development of the kindergarten . Alongside Eleonore Heerwart , Minna Schellhorn, Julie Traberth and Auguste Möder, he was the initiator and co-founder of the "German Froebel Association" in 1863 , initially for Thuringia , from which the "General Froebel Association" emerged in 1872 and the "German Froebel Association" a year later in 1873. Köhler developed an independent "Köhler kindergarten pedagogy". He was also co-founder and first editor of the first specialist magazine for kindergarten, which appeared for the first time in 1860 under the title Kinder-Garten und Elementar-Klasse .

The first purely Jewish preschool facility, still called the “play school”, began operations on November 4, 1839 at the Frankfurt Philanthropist . Its initiator was Jesaias Hochstaedter, who was in regular mail contact with Froebel. Half a year later, the institution was relocated and closed after Hochstaedter's death in August 1841 due to low occupancy. In the kindergartens for Jewish children , all educators had to belong to the Mosaic denomination . The concept was based on Froebel's pedagogy. The mostly Orthodox children were given an environment that met their needs, shaped by the religious and traditional values ​​they were familiar with. Most of the Jewish kindergartens were sponsored by well-off and socially committed parents .

The 20th century

The proportion of children for whom a place was available in an institution for public education for small children (infant care facility, toddler school or kindergarten) reached around 13% as early as 1910. This was also the case in the Weimar Republic. During the First World War , many children were cared for in war kindergartens run by the patriotic women's associations, as "the fathers at the front, the mothers in the armaments industry".

In 1919 the first kindergarten for deaf children was launched in Hamburg in connection with the local "deaf and dumb institution". Other such institutions followed u. a. at the Regens Wagner Foundation and Paulinenpflege Winnenden .

From around 1920 onwards, Montessori pedagogy increased . Clara Grunwald founded the German Montessori Society in 1925 and Käthe Stern advocated the "Extended Montessori System". This tried to create a synthesis with Froebel pedagogy, taking into account the latest findings in developmental psychology (including from Rosa Katz , Charlotte Bühler , Hildegard Hetzer and Martha Muchow ).

In the period from 1933 to 1945, the kindergarten was the focus of National Socialist ideology . The education of the typical German boy and girl was of particular importance:

"We want to bring up a tough sex that is strong, reliable, loyal, obedient and decent ... The little boy will one day become a German soldier, the little girl a German mother".

During the National Socialist dictatorship, the number of kindergarten places in Germany more than doubled (supply rate in 1941: 31%).

After the collapse of Nazi rule, the educational guiding principles for the kindergarten in East and West changed differently. In both German states, the preschool institution developed more and more from a storage facility to an important educational institution, a place for maturing and learning. While in the Federal Republic of Germany the education to a "free personality" was important, for the kindergartens in the GDR "socialist morality" was in the foreground:

“Life in a group should be characterized by collective relationships. By shaping life, the educator ensures that the children work with greater responsibility and independence to maintain the order of life and learn to shape their relationships more and more according to the norms of socialist morality ”.

The kindergarten in the GDR was part of the general educational system, which was closely connected with other social institutions, such as family, school, young pioneers, the people's police, etc. According to Netti Christensen , a leading GDR scientist in kindergarten pedagogy , his task was “which results from the construction of our anti-fascist-democratic order: to educate our children to become progressive democrats, to consciously and actively build a brighter and happier future for our people ".

Company kindergarten of the Schultheiss Brewery , Berlin 1949
Children playing in the harvest kindergarten in Henningsleben , 1961

At the end of 1971, kindergarten places for 100 children were available in the Federal Republic of Germany:

  • 72.2 places in Stuttgart
  • 59.6 places in Würzburg
  • 59.3 places in Saarbrücken
  • 58.4 places in Mainz
  • 57.1 places in Frankfurt am Main
  • 48.0 places in Augsburg
  • 43.9 places in Nuremberg
  • 43.1 places in Munich
  • 40.4 places in Regensburg
  • 39.1 places in Dortmund
  • 33.9 places in Cologne
  • 31.8 places in Bremen
  • 30.7 places in West Berlin
  • 23.4 places in Hamburg
  • 17.5 places in Kiel
Kindergarten in the GDR (1979)

In 1972 there were around 11,359 kindergartens in the GDR, in which 659,000 children were cared for. In the preschool education facilities, 69.2 places were available for every 100 preschool children. In 1989 every child could be given a place in a kindergarten if required.

Children playing in a kindergarten in Erfurt, 1988

A special form of the kindergarten, the school kindergarten .

The kindergarten in discussion

The pedagogy of early childhood and kindergarten as a classic place of accompanying education have been in public discussion for some time. The kindergarten is an important institution of education and has aroused the interest of specialists, politicians and large sections of the population. In this context, the term “ early childhood education ” arose . In terms of educational kindergarten concepts, state institutions compete with private offers.

Situation in Germany

The German Federal Ministry for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth launched the far-reaching National Quality Initiative in the system of day care facilities for children (often abbreviated as NQI) in 1999. At the same time, various German federal states have drafted programs to improve the quality of education. Initiatives such as PIK (professionals in kindergartens) from the Robert Bosch Foundation aim to “ professionalize ” the work.

In Germany's federal system, the federal states can each develop their own educational plans: The orientation plan in Baden-Württemberg, for example, emphasizes that education should not be understood as school education. The aim of the orientation plan is to expand the day-care centers for children on the basis of the latest findings in cognitive research as primary educational institutions in the sense of holistic support. The children should be encouraged according to their individual talents and deficits should be recognized in good time. The focus is on the so-called education and development fields. This includes the areas of body, senses, language, thinking, feeling and compassion, as well as meaning, values ​​and religion.

Educational kindergarten concepts

Many kindergartens follow a pedagogical approach that shapes the general orientation of professionals and pedagogical action. For example, the extent to which, and from when, educational content should be offered in primary schools is disputed. The most common approaches in Germany are:

There are also kindergartens that are run in the language and according to the pedagogical principles of other countries (for example French, Italian or Spanish kindergartens). A few selected concepts are presented below.

Situation approach

Kindergarten discharge book (1953) - co-designed by the children as a final project

In the situation approach , social learning and the everyday environment of the children are at the center of educational activities. Each individual is perceived with their own experiences, the cultural background of their family and the knowledge gained from experience - the needs and wishes of the children are in the foreground. Educators encourage the children to take active action and involve them in the planning of projects; In conflict situations, a common consensus for problem solving is sought. The aim of the situation approach is to increase the self-confidence and independence of the children and to make them understand how to express their own opinion as well as to listen when dealing with other people.

The situation approach is now established in numerous kindergartens. There is no fixed weekly schedule that offers fixed activities at certain times of the day, but teachers develop the activities based on the individual interests of the children for the near future. Also characteristic of kindergartens that work according to the situational approach are mixed age groups (mostly 3–6 years), the desire for parents to help and a flexible division of the children's day.

Freinet kindergarten

Like the Montessori kindergarten, the concept of the French Célestin Freinet is based on the active participation of the children, who plan their actions independently and become aware of their own strengths in unfinished, pedagogically untreated situations. In addition to the free development of the personality, the child's personal responsibility and the critical examination of the environment, mutual responsibility plays an important role. The basis of this approach is the great trust that the educators place in the children.

For example, the day begins with everyone involved writing down what they want. In a joint morning session, the decision about the daily routine is made. In all activities, the children experience themselves as competent personalities, whereby the journey is always the goal.

The room design is geared towards the requirements of the approach: The children have the opportunity to spend time in numerous different offers and to use different play situations. And beyond the kindergarten, the effects of the independent design of the game become apparent: Children who attend a Freinet kindergarten also actively organize their free time and transfer the independent way of life to other areas of everyday life.

Open kindergarten

The type of care, education and upbringing of an open kindergarten was u. a. stimulated by the thinking and ideas of educators Rousseau , Montessori , Korczak, Piaget and Neill. Particularly attentive, critical and observant educators have developed this pedagogical approach in a number of day care centers in the Federal Republic of Germany. Since the 1970s there have been no closed kindergarten groups in open-minded institutions. All children have free access to all rooms and can choose which play partners and which play activities they want to get together with. Indoor and outdoor areas are weighted equally and many activities also take place outside of the kindergarten. Accordingly, there are fewer large group activities, but interest-oriented group formations of different sizes. There are stimulating and repeatedly roofed function and theme rooms, as well as sufficient play, consumable and activity materials.

The pedagogues working against this background assume that the children have (or develop) a natural feeling for their learning and development topics and that the educators can be important, above all, resonant companions.

This is based on an understanding of participation that turns all those affected into active creators and actors in their environment. The children's freedom of choice has a positive effect on commitment and enthusiasm; aggression and boredom are demonstrably reduced with this concept.

A basis of this concept is the openness of the children as well as the educators and parents. Parents can participate in the educational work and help shape it. The children are also given the opportunity to participate in general assemblies and other participation bodies in democratic forms of participation. Since the educators do not have to follow rigid schedules, they can specifically look after children in need of care in an open kindergarten.

In particular, the scientific "National Study on Education, Care and Upbringing in Early Childhood" (NUBBEK study) carried out by the Federal Government, the German Youth Institute (DJI) and the State Institute for Early Childhood Education (IFP) led to the following findings as early as 2012:

"That the educational quality in the examined German day-care centers is significantly higher if the teams work openly"


“The better quality was evident in numerous features in all areas of educational work, that is, with regard to space and equipment, the handling of care and nursing situations, the linguistic and cognitive stimulation, the range of activities enabled, in the interaction between the professional and the child , but also in the structuring of the educational work. "

Reggio Kindergarten / Reggio Approach

At the center of the Reggio Kindergarten educational philosophy is a child who actively deals with himself and his environment and determines his or her daily routine through his thirst for knowledge. Upbringing is a collective task. The design of everyday kindergarten life is based on everyday experiences and experiences of the children: Many tasks and activities take place together in projects in which the children explore the world through experiments; the educators support them in the implementation of their projects.

The “room” forms the third educator in this concept. It is structured like an Italian city, so that all areas - workshops, retreat corners, studios and exercise rooms - connect to the central “piazza” - in the sense of a central place where all children come together. Mirrors, windows and wall openings offer the children the opportunity to locate themselves in the room and to be creative. The child can choose his own whereabouts. The walls of the kindergartens are usually full of project results and posters on which the practical activities are documented.

Toy-free kindergarten

The toy-free kindergarten was originally initiated to develop children's life skills. Since children's lives are increasingly structured through a rationalized organization of leisure time and increased consumption, which is at the expense of their own problem-solving skills, social considerations led to this concept. Free spaces and opportunities for independent play should also have an addiction preventive effect and bring failure and failure closer to the children as natural parts of a learning process. The concept also enables children to discover their own needs, improve their manual skills and increase their scope for decision-making.

Even if the name suggests it: The toy-free kindergarten is not entirely toy-free. Rather, the toy-free phase requires several weeks of preparation, in which more and more of the existing toys are gradually removed. This also serves to introduce children to dealing with boredom. Accordingly, in toy-free kindergartens there are spaces available for experiences of frustration that are directed against a well-planned everyday life. This is promoted by educators who specifically engage with the children's way of life and offer a space in which the children can reflect and discuss their own lives. With just a few ready-made offers, the children learn to actively participate and develop their own ideas.

In a subsequent limited period of time, in which toys and prefabricated structures are completely dispensed with in kindergarten, the children's imagination and creativity should be encouraged. In order to realize the ideas, the children are asked to bring their own tools and materials for implementation.

After all, the parents are also an integral part of the concept. They observe the children when they do not have toys and record their observations on evaluation sheets. There are also parents' evenings and one-on-one meetings.

Kneipp kindergarten

The Bavarian priest Sebastian Kneipp is best known for his medical and therapeutic work. In the kindergarten concept named after him, health, health-conscious behavior and the prevention and prevention of illnesses play an elementary role, which is defined in five pillars:

  • 1st pillar : Healthy and balanced nutrition: Some Kneipp kindergartens provide food to ensure a balanced diet for the children. Other institutions give parents tips on how to eat healthily for their children.
  • 2nd pillar : Healing herbs: In a herb garden, the children's awareness of herbs is to be strengthened. You will learn the cultivation and use, taste and smell as well as the use of herbs as healing home remedies.
  • 3rd pillar : The central element of water: The children get to know the element of water with its healing effects when treading water and washing. Excursions into nature, in which water plays an important role, are also part of the approach.
  • 4th pillar : Activity and movement: Movement contributes to the physical and mental health of children.
  • 5th pillar : Order as the basis of a conscious rhythm of life. Order is conveyed, for example, by tidying up when kindergarten closes.

The five pillars are mutually dependent and should contribute to a unity of body, mind and soul in the development of the child. In addition to the focus on health and the consideration of the interactions of nature, Kneipp kindergartens offer everything that other kindergartens also have to offer.

Legal situation


In Germany, in SGB ​​8 (8th Social Code "Child and Youth Welfare"), the task of the kindergarten is "care, education and upbringing " for children. Kindergarten is considered an elementary level in the education system . In Germany, the responsibility for kindergartens lies with the federal states .

Legal claim

Since August 1, 2013, there has been a legal entitlement to a kindergarten / crèche place for children from the first year of life up to school enrollment in Germany in accordance with Section 24 of Book VIII of the Social Code . Whether you are entitled to a half-day or full-day kindergarten place depends, among other things, on the parents' occupation or the special needs of the child concerned.

Due to a new regulation in the KJHG , data has been available since 2006 on the places occupied in day-care centers and day care, the attendance rates, the number and training of skilled workers and day care workers, etc. This data is collected annually with the reference date March 15 and now allows differentiated statements about the usage behavior and the structure of offers for Germany as a whole, the individual federal states up to the district level. In particular, the care rates / attendance rates (share of the children in care of the total population of the corresponding age group) are of great public interest; for the years 2006 and 2012 they can be found in the table.

Childcare rates in 2006 and 2012 in comparison
country 2006: 0-3 years 2012: 0-3 years 2006: 3–6 years 2012: 3–6 years
Schleswig-Holstein 07.5% 24.2% 81.0% 90.7%
Hamburg 21.0% 35.8% 78.7% 87.4%
Lower Saxony 05.1% 22.1% 79.3% 92.6%
Bremen 09.2% 21.2% 84.4% 89.1%
North Rhine-Westphalia 06.5% 18.1% 83.7% 92.9%
Hesse 09.0% 23.7% 88.8% 93.4%
Rhineland-Palatinate 09.4% 27.0% 93.6% 97.4%
Baden-Württemberg 08.7% 23.1% 93.2% 95.2%
Bavaria 08.2% 23.0% 84.9% 91.0%
Saarland 10.2% 22.1% 93.8% 94.6%
Berlin 37.8% 42.6% 88.3% 93.9%
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania 43.1% 53.6% 91.7% 95.9%
Brandenburg 40.4% 53.4% 91.5% 96.3%
Saxony 33.5% 46.4% 92.7% 96.0%
Saxony-Anhalt 50.2% 57.5% 91.3% 95.6%
Thuringia 37.9% 49.8% 94.9% 96.9%
Germany as a whole 13.6% 27.6% 86.9% 93.4%

Parental fees

The amount of the kindergarten fee is determined by the individual municipalities in Germany and varies considerably in Germany. In some municipalities and in some federal states, there is at least free for certain age groups. Usually, the costs are differentiated according to the number and age of the children, the size of the household, the duration of the care period and the parents' income.

According to a study in the kindergarten year 2009/2010, the costs for looking after a four-year-old child in the second year of kindergarten for the minimum daily attendance time (at least 4 hours) for one year were between € 0 and € 1,752 (for a model family with € 45,000 gross annual income) in 100 municipalities examined ) or € 2,520 (for a model family with € 80,000 gross annual income). The costs for the simultaneous care of a three-and-a-half-year-old child in the first year of kindergarten and a five-and-a-half-year-old child totaled up to € 2,672 (with an income of € 45,000) or € 3,696 (with an income of € 80,000). 85% of families with children have one or two children. German kindergartens abroad, on the other hand, are run as private institutions and the parents therefore pay the childcare costs by way of a fee. A survey of German kindergartens in other European countries showed that a kindergarten place there costs an average of 5,290 euros a year.


The total costs of a kindergarten / crèche / after-school care place are made up of the necessary personnel costs, material costs and operating costs. A municipality in Saxony put these costs for 2009 for 6-hour care at € 1020 a month for a daycare place, € 471 for a kindergarten place, and € 413 for a day care place.

According to the Federal Statistical Office, the per capita expenditure for a child in the age group from three years of age to school entry in a publicly sponsored facility amounted to 6100 euros (2009) and 5900 euros in a privately run day care center.

A study on the cost-benefit ratio of the Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft in Cologne from 2006, carried out on behalf of the New Social Market Economy initiative , came to the conclusion that providing free half-day places throughout Germany initially cost around 3.6 billion euros but this expenditure would soon be more than compensated for by better early childhood education , especially for children from so-called educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. Kindergarten places are not free in Germany (exception: for children from the age of two in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate ) and there is no obligation for parents to enable their children to attend a kindergarten or a comparable facility.


Questions about the last due, age-appropriate child preventive medical check-up are permissible due to the country regulations, but the examination booklet itself does not have to be presented.

The legal guardians are also asked about the recommended vaccinations due to the Infection Protection Act (IfSG) and the state laws.


From autumn 2010, kindergarten became compulsory for children aged five to six. All five-year-old children must therefore attend kindergarten for 16 to 20 hours at least four days a week. Such children have a legal right to a place and priority over younger children. The cost of morning care for these children has been borne by the federal states, since 2009. Since the law is specifically formulated for this age group, the free morning kindergarten does not apply to children B. will start school later for health reasons or move to Germany and are already six years old in their last year of kindergarten.

Children under the age of five have no legal right to a place in a kindergarten. In practice, in some areas there may be waiting times of up to a year from the time of registration to acceptance. However, since the birth rate is declining, there are more vacancies at least in the metropolitan areas. The kindergartens are a matter for the federal states . Accordingly, the parents' contributions to costs are also different. In some federal states you only have to pay for the food, in others the costs are staggered socially.

Often private kindergartens, which are more expensive, cover off-peak times that are not covered by public institutions due to a lack of greater demand.

An exercise kindergarten is affiliated with a training college for kindergarten teachers and used for this as a training center.

See also


In most cantons in Switzerland there is a legal right to attend kindergarten for one or two years. A draft law of the Conference of Cantonal Education Directors (EDK) on February 16, 2006 also provides that children from the age of four must enter a kindergarten or a so-called entry level. In certain cantons such as Basel-Stadt , kindergarten is already compulsory. In most cantons of Switzerland, children are currently in kindergarten when they are five and six, i.e. before they start school. Typical is a workload of around 60% or six half-days. From an administrative point of view, the kindergartens in most cantons are positioned close to schools. However, significant changes are currently underway. In connection with the changing social and family structures, block times are being introduced in many communities , and the number of so-called day kindergartens, in which children can stay to eat over lunch, is increasing. Wherever there are gaps in childcare due to the parents' work, these are often covered by lunch tables , day care centers , day-care workers or grandparents. This development in kindergartens runs parallel to that in schools (block times, day schools ) and has a similar political dynamic.

International comparison


In China, kindergarten is also seen as a pre-school. The translation for kindergarten there is “you er yuan” (幼儿园). More and more performance training aimed at high concentration is being carried out there.


According to the PISA study, the Finnish education system is considered to be one of the best in the world. For example, the following applies to kindergartens in Finland: The head teachers have a high school diploma and a university degree. Attending kindergarten is possible for children from the first year of life. The group size is around 14 children. Foreign language learning or scientific experiments in kindergarten are encouraged.


In Japan, a distinction is made between kindergarten (幼稚園, yōchien ) and crèche (保育 所, hoikusho (legal name) or保育 園, hoikuen (common name)). Hoikuen accept children from the age of 0, with most institutions requiring a minimum age of two months. The care is usually offered from Monday to Saturday and is based on the school calendar. The kindergarten accepts children between the ages of two and five. The children are divided into groups according to their age (two to three years and four to five years). There is a fixed daily routine to make it easier for the children to get used to it. The groups are supervised by two teachers (先生, sensei ) and possibly an assistant. The teachers are qualified by a university degree. The degree of professionalism can hardly be compared with the training of German educators. For example, learning to play the piano is part of the training. Music and art play a major role in Japanese kindergartens. Usually there is an additional art teacher (and sports teacher) in addition to the normal staff.

In 2010 there were 13,392 kindergartens, 8,236 of them private, with around 110,000 full-time teachers and 1.6 million children.


Pre-school education in the Palestinian Territories is overshadowed by the Middle East conflict . In the Gaza Strip , which is controlled by the Islamist Hamas , children in kindergarten were repeatedly put into play situations in which they "killed" Israelis.


In Sweden, for example, educators see themselves as teachers . The staff has a high school diploma, most of them also have a teaching degree with a focus on kindergarten / preschool. The kindergarten starts at an earlier age, from around one year. Up to the last year before school starts, only children whose parents are working are entitled to a paid full-time kindergarten place; if there are two parents, both must be working. If this is not the case, you are only entitled to 15 hours per week. The costs depend on the total income, but have a maximum of SEK 1,260 per month (2006). The second child pays half, the third is free. For the year before school starts, every child is entitled to a free place in preschool . Participation for four hours per day is voluntary for the children. In kindergarten they learn how to deal with complex situations and the alphabet. There is handicrafts, singing and reading, and language skills are trained early on. Complex photos with people and cultural achievements are deliberately hung up instead of bunnies and stick figures.

Because of the high proportion of immigrant children, language training has become a major feature in day-care centers.


Hungary played an important role in the creation of the kindergartens, see section “ History ”. Kindergarten pedagogy in Hungary has been a university course for decades. In Hungary, every child from the age of three has a legal right to a Kiga place in their district. Individual deviations are possible. The maintenance of the kindergartens is - in addition to private providers - the task of the local self-government. Attending kindergarten from the age of three is compulsory. The children are prepared for participation in the group and for school life. The educational work of the kindergartens is free. You only have to pay for the food and some of the learning materials that may arise. When calculating the fees, the current social situation of the family is meticulously taken into account. Many are exempt from paying. The Hungarian kindergarten is educationally set up for all-day care. The visiting times of a child can still take place completely individually adapted to the needs of the family.

United States


One of the first kindergartens in the USA in La Porte, Indiana. Around 1855.

The first private kindergarten in the United States was German-speaking and was founded in Watertown (Wisconsin) in 1856 by Froebel's student Margarethe Schurz . A monument still reminds of it today. She was the wife of Carl Schurz , the revolutionary freedom fighter who had fled Germany in 1848. Elizabeth Peabody was inspired by Margarethe Schurz and introduced to Froebel's ideas and founded the first English-language kindergarten in Boston ( Massachusetts ) in 1860 . The German emigrant, journalist and educator Adolph Douai (1819–1888) had also founded the first public (German) kindergarten based on the ideas of the German educator Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel (1782–1852) in Boston - albeit as early as 1859 ; Douai then founded further kindergartens from 1866 in New York City . The concept of kindergartens as part of the school system was implemented by William Nicholas Hailmann .

Kindergarten in the USA, 2008.

Today in the US, kindergartens are attached to elementary schools , which are part of the American school system . This kindergarten is a one-year program - the so-called grade "K" - in which basic skills such as reading and arithmetic are taught. Participation is free and voluntary. The staffing of American kindergartens is much better than that of kindergartens in Germany. On the one hand, this is not necessary in this country, as there is no transfer of knowledge in local kindergartens. For example, it is easier to work with children with learning disabilities, as the relevant staff is not only available for kindergartens in addition to the regular employees thanks to the No-Child-Left-Behind program, which is part of the official US educational policy. After registration, however, there is a tight curriculum. The school day of the kindergarten children largely corresponds to that of the other elementary school children (All Day, Every Day Kindergarten). However, this All Day, Every Day Kindergarten is only available in some states. In other countries, the children only go to school every other day (usually on Mondays, Wednesdays and every other Friday or Tuesday, Thursday and the other Friday) or only in the morning or in the afternoon all week. Attending the first grade follows the kindergarten. The classes will be reassembled for this purpose and will receive new teachers. The date of enrollment in most American families is not the beginning of the first class, but the entry of the child is celebrated in the kindergarten.

Child Day Care

Kindergarten as part of the state education system should be distinguished from the other early intervention and care programs, which are large and varied in the United States. The day care centers and nursery schools , which see themselves as schools as well as all- day care for children of working parents, correspond most closely to German day care centers . The maternity leave in the US expire twelve weeks after birth and as a beyond-reaching parental leave is supported neither by employers nor by the state, promote and supervise Day Care Centers children from three months to five years.

Day Care Centers do not receive government funding, but are often subsidized by local employers. In addition, depending on the business ability of the management, sometimes considerable private grants are obtained ( fundraising ). Visiting a day care center is chargeable and many times more expensive than at German kindergartens. However, low-income parents can often find support; H. apply for a reduced tariff. The care hours are flexible and allow the parents to work normally. The children are grouped into groups of their own age, with the groups getting larger and larger as the children get older, but hardly reaching the size of primary school classes. In the more expensive day care centers, not only teachers and semi-skilled supervisors are employed, but freelance workers also come into the house to teach special subjects such as foreign languages, music, dance or yoga.

Quality and equipment vary greatly. Quality assurance is provided by the lobby of (paying) parents on the one hand and institutions such as B. the National Association for the Education of Young Children , which issue accredited accreditations.

Early intervention programs

Among the funding offers are above all the preschools sponsored by private sources, for example churches or YMCA , and the state program Head Start . As a part-time program, the preschools correspond to half-day care in kindergartens.

United Kingdom

The first year of school in England and Wales is called “Reception” or “Year Zero”. Day-care centers that are not integrated into the school system are called “nursery schools”. The term nursery school is also often replaced by the term kindergarten, but only for advertising purposes. In Scotland, the term kindergarten is not generally used to refer to nursery school. The first year of education is referred to as " Primary 1 " in Scotland .

See also


  • Wilma Aden-Grossmann: The kindergarten. History - development - concepts . Beltz Verlag, Weinheim, Basel 2011, ISBN 978-3-407-62771-1 .
  • Manfred Berger : 150 years of kindergarten. A letter to Friedrich Froebel . Frankfurt am Main 1990, ISBN 3-925798-47-1 .
  • Manfred Berger: The history of the kindergarten - stages of public education for small children from the beginning to the present (three parts). In: Irmgard M. Burtscher (Hrsg.): Handbook for educators in crèche, kindergarten, daycare and after-school care. Munich 2015.
  • Manfred Berger: History of the Kindergarten. From the first pre-school facilities in the 18th century to daycare centers in the 21st century . Frankfurt am Main 2016.
  • WE Fthenakis; MR Textor: Pedagogical Approaches in Kindergarten . Beltz Verlag, Weinheim / Basel 2000.
  • Franz Michael Konrad: The kindergarten. His story from the beginning to the present . Lambertus Verlag, Freiburg 2004, ISBN 3-7841-1532-2 .
  • Natascha Meuser (ed.): Crèches, daycare centers and kindergartens. Manual and planning aid. DOM publishers , Berlin 2020, ISBN 978-3-86922-707-8 .
  • Ministry of Public Education (Ed.): Programs for educational work in kindergarten . Berlin 1986.
  • Catherine Walter; Karin Fasseing: Kindergarten - Basics of current kindergarten didactics . ProKiga-Lehrmittelverlag, Winterthur / Switzerland 2002, ISBN 3-907578-60-0 .
  • Roberta Wollons, Roberta Lyn Wollons (Eds.): Kindergartens and Cultures: The Global Diffusion of an Idea . Yale University Press, 2000, ISBN 0-300-07788-2 .

References and comments

  1. Federal Statistical Office: Childcare quota , accessed on January 21, 2018.
  2. Federal Statistical Office: Retrieved June 20, 2020
  3. Christian Lange: Public education for small children in Bavaria. The role of the state in defining a phase of life in the 19th century . Vittorio Klostermann 2013, ISBN 978-3-465-04190-0 , p. 144 ff.
  4. cf. - ( Memento of the original from September 4, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. Bavarian State Ministry undated, p. 8.
  6. a b
  7. ^ Portal to Westphalian history .
  8. For the origin of the word finding kindergarten see Erning / Gebel 2001, pp. 23–51 u. especially Hohenfels 2006.
  9. Biographisch-Bibliographisches Lexikon: Volume XXIX (2008) columns 1164–1168 Author: Michael Ludscheidt ( Memento from April 17, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  10. Heidrun Lehmann: Anniversary of the waiting and care facility for small children . In: »TLZ«, August 6, 2010.
  11. cf. Berger 2015, p. 15 ff.
  12. cf. Lange 2013, p. 186 ff.
  13. cf. Lange 2013, p. 305.
  14. cf. Berger 1995.
  15. Manfred Berger: Women in the history of the kindergarten .
  16. cf. Berger 1995, p. 77.
  17. Berger 2016, pp. 185 ff.
  18. Achim Konejung: The Rhineland and the First World War , 2014, ISBN 978-3-939722-90-8 , p. 110: War kindergarten of the Vaterländischer Frauenverein | Vaterländischer Frauenverein for the district of Bonn .
  19. a b Berger 1998, p. 142.
  20. cf. Berger 1986.
  21. cf. Berger 2015.
  22. Cuvillier .
  23. Benzing 1941, p. 61.
  24. ^ History of the kindergarten in the Soviet occupied zone of Germany and in the GDR .
  25. ^ Ministry of Public Education 1986, p. 180.
  27. Berger 2014.
  28. Christensen 1951, p. 3.
  29. ^ "Süddeutsche Zeitung", November 17, 1972.
  30. ( Memento of the original from October 29, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  31. Orientation plan for education and training for kindergartens in Baden-Württemberg . Cornelsen, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-589-24515-4 , p. 66.
  32. Tassilo Knauf; Gieslinde Düx, Daniela Schlüter: Handbook of Pedagogical Approaches: Practice-Oriented Concept and Quality Development in Day-Care Centers , Cornelsen, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-589-24509-3 .
  33. W. Tietze; F. Becker-Stoll; J. Bensel; AG Eckhardt; G. Haug-Schnabel; B. Kalicki; H. Keller; B. Leyendecker: NUBBEK - National Study on Education, Care and Upbringing in Early Childhood. Research report . Verlag das netz, Weimar, Berlin 2013.
  34. a b G. Haug-Schnabel; J. Bensel: Kindergarten today: Open work in theory and practice , Herder Verlag, Freiburg 2017, p. 57.
  35. The association | to Dialog Reggio - Association for the Promotion of Reggio Education in Germany V., accessed on November 18, 2017.
  36. ^ AJ Kindergarten without toys , accessed on November 18, 2017.
  37. Day-care centers and day-care centers certified by the Kneipp Association | at the Kneipp Association, accessed on November 16, 2017.
  38. ^ Text of Book Eight of the Social Code .
  39. Federal Youth Statistics 2006.
  40. Child day care in Germany 2012 from the Federal Statistical Office.
  41. Participation in costs
  42.  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  43. ( Memento of the original from August 19, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  44. insm kindergarten monitor
  45. Families with underage children 2012 from the Federal Statistical Office, 2013.
  46. Directory of German Kindergartens Abroad (VDKA) , Foreign Kindergarten Review 2014/15.
  47. Announcement according to § 14 Abs. 2 SächsKitaG of the municipality Oßling 2009.
  48. Finances of the independent day-care centers from the Federal Statistical Office, accessed on October 10, 2012 (PDF).
  49. Study: Benefits and costs of a free kindergarten for all children between the ages of 3 and 6 ( Memento from February 1, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Institute of the German Economy, Cologne, prepared on behalf of the Initiative Neue Soziale Marktwirtschaft, November 2006 (PDF)
  50. Art. 9b para. 2 BayKiBiG: “When registering to attend a day care center or when a child is admitted to day care, the parents must submit a confirmation of the child's participation in the last due age-related screening examination. Failure to submit a confirmation is not detrimental to funding under this law. The carrier is obliged to record in writing whether such evidence has been submitted by the parents. "
  51. Section 34, Paragraph 10a IfSG: "When first admitting to a day-care center, the custodians have to provide written evidence that a medical consultation with regard to a complete, age-appropriate, according to the recommendations of the Standing Vaccination Commission is sufficient The child is vaccinated. "
  52. § 7 Paragraph 1 SächsKitaG: "You must also prove to the provider that the child has received all publicly recommended vaccinations according to his age and state of health, or declare that you will not give your consent to certain vaccinations."
  53. Compulsory kindergarten year is extended , the standard on February 15, 2013.
  54. Free kindergarten year not for sick children . Kleine Zeitung , June 29, 2012, archived from the original on April 30, 2014 . ;.
  55. ^ Chinese school . In: »Time«, April 2006.
  56. Japan Statistical Yearbook 2012 , Table 22-1 Schools by Founder , Online ( Memento of the original dated December 20, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. ( MS Excel ; 29 kB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  57. Disturbing scenes from kindergarten: Palestinians play war against Israel , » Focus «, June 1, 2018, accessed on June 2, 2018.
  58. Toi Staff: Gaza preschoolers stage mock killing of Israeli soldier , Times of Israel, June 2, 2018, accessed July 11, 2018.
  59. Maayan Groisman: Islamic Jihad 'cubs' demonstrate killing of IDF soldiers at Gaza kindergarten , Jerusalem Post , June 2, 2016, accessed on July 11, 2018.
  60. there is no English word for kindergarten, so this German loan word is used in English

Web links

Commons : Kindergarten  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Kindergarten  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations