In Hamburg, each child from one year until the start of school is entitled to free childcare of five hours per day including lunch. There are two types of care: kindergarten (Kita) and day care (Tagesmutter/Tagesvater)
This type of daycare is a family-oriented form of care in which qualified and certified daycare mothers or daycare fathers look after up to five children at the same time. The care can be provided in the childminder’s own household, in the child’s household or in rented premises.
It is particularly suitable for children up to the age of three, as the small care setting creates a manageable situation for the child. It is a more family-like setting and the child can be given more individual attention.
When parents decide to send their child to Tagesmutter/Tagesvater, they contact their responsible district „Abteilung Kindertagesbetreuung – Kindertagespflege“. The professionals in the district office can help find a caregiver in your area.
Kindergartens are usually divided into two age groups: „Krippe“ (0-3 yrs) and „Elementarbereich“ (3 yrs – school entry). Due to their size, they offer children a wide range of activities and often have a large outdoor area where children can play.
There are different pedagogical concepts in Kitas, about which parents should inform themselves in advance in order to find a suitable facility for their child. For example, there are facilities in the area of Montessori, forest kindergarten, Waldorf, bilingual, Reggio, movement kindergarten, situational approach, or open and partially open concept, to name just a few.
What they all have in common is that they are guided by the state framework agreement („Landesrahmenvertrag“), which creates structural standards for quality in the daycare centers.
For Kita, parents contact Kitas in their area themselves to find a free space. There is a database available on the Hamburg-website:
It is possible to switch from Tagesmutter/Tagesvater to a regular Kita and vice versa, however keep in mind to plan accordingly, as there is a high demand for Kita spots. It may take a while until one gets accepted to a care facility of their choice.
The city of Hamburg funds the attendance of a care facility in order to lower the financial burden for parents. In excess to the law of offering free childcare of five hours per day for all children from age 1 – school entry, children aged 0-14 have the right to childcare ranging from 2-12 hours daily, if:
• Parents work, study, are in training or seek further education
• Participate in work-related re-integration programs
• Take German lessons for immigrants or take part in an integrational course
Depending on the hours of care needed and the type of facility the child is planned to visit, parents have to fill out different types of application forms with the city to be granted the voucher. For all care hours apart from the free 5 hours, parents are to pay „Elternbeitrag“ (Parental fee) based to their income. This way, the financial burden is distributed fairly depending on economic status. The highest rate for children under the school age is currently 204€/month for 10/12h of daily care.