Advice on kindergarten, primary schools in Berlin

81 posts in this topic

Posted

Dear all,

I plan to move to Berlin with my little boy and was hoping if someone could recommend a german kindergarten or perhaps tell me an area which is good for children. I would be grateful for any tips. Thanks.

Anne marie

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Posted

Berliners usually chose a kindergarden that is in their "kiez" (neighborhood) and only travel further afield if they are looking for something special i.e. Waldorf or a bilingual kindergarden. This is because the local kita's seem to do just fine. My advice is to first find a neighborhood and apartment that suits you and then walk around the area to see what is available.

Or, you could take a look at this list of kita's, broken down by neighborhood:

www.kitanetz.de/bezirke.html

I would say there are many child friendly neighborhoods in Berlin. Urban areas like Prenzlauerberg & Charlottenburg are nice but if you prefer more residential neighborhoods then Zehlendorf or Kladow just to name a few.

Wikipedia has decent write ups and descriptions of the various Berlin boroughs, fyi.

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Posted

Thanks sunny much appreciated. Posted again before i saw your reply!

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Posted

Is it likely that Kindergarten teachers in Berlin know some English? I want my daughter to learn German, but I'm concerned about the transition period. We just moved. She's 2.5 and doesn't yet know any German. (Her English is pretty good though.) I'm hoping to put her into a Kita part-time after she's had a few months to adjust to her surroundings.

Thanks for your help.

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Posted

I'd suggest you don't worry about the transition period - kids of that age can handle the multiple languages without any problems.

Our son is now 25 months old. We put him into the local kita (kindergarden) when he was 18 months old - German only. The teachers know no English. He was already speaking English and Russian - the languages spoken at home, but no German. He had no problem, and he is now also speaking german words. Of course at home he still speaks English and Russian.

In general you can't expect the German kita teachers to speak English - especially if in an old East German district. Bot don't worry, it will all work out fine. Pick the area that suits you best for day to day living (i.e. do you want nightlife - with a 2.5 year old I doubt it! - do you want lots of parks, or shopping, or culture, be central etc.) THen you'll find a suitable kindergarden.

All the best with the move, and enjoy Berlin - it's a great place to bring up kids.

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Posted

I recommend Berlin Kids International in Prenzlauer Berg - it's bilingual and well set up - each group has 1 English speaking Erzieher and also 1 German speaking person plus often an extra helper (Praktikant). There are about 15 to 18 kids per group and 4 groups or so.

There are hundreds of kids waiting for a place but if your child is English speaking or bilingual you often have a good chance. The kids stay there till they are about almost 6.

http://www.berlin-kids-international.de/kindergarten

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Posted

After a year on the waiting list, it looks like my kids may have a spot at Berlin Kids International kita. I am excited but a little nervous as I feel like I don't know too much about it, other than what is on the website.

Are there any Berlin Kids kita parents out there? What are the kita's good and the bad points? I think we are going to send them there, but I like to go in with my eyes open.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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Posted

We live in Steglitz with our almost 3 year old who goes to a German only kita (they also have English classes once a week). We love it here and so does he. He's learning German at a faster rate that I. Most of the staff do know basic English but I WANT them to speak to him in German only.

There is a English childrens bookshop near-by and a couple of kinder cafes aswell. It's a little quiet around here but we love the Steglitz park. We have a choice of at least 6 great spielplatz's to chose from where we live. Steglitz has an S and U Bahn so great for commuters, two decent shopping "malls" and I feel very safe here.

I don't have much experience of living anywhere else in Berlin but we don't see ourselves leaving this area anytime soon.

Hope this helps! Good luck. Berlin is a great place - lots to explore, whatever age you are!

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Posted

Actually, I was asking if there were any other parents on Toytown who send their kids to a specific kita "Berlin Kids International" and what they thought of it? Thanks for your help though!

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Posted

I was replying to the OP :D

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Posted

@ Saraz, I have two children in a Froebel Kita in Friedrichshain (exact details on PM). There are few English speaking children there, one of them has arrived with no German and I have noticed that the teachers in his class sometimes speak English with him, if he seems not to understand their German. I have also noticed that he had learnt German very quickly (so don't worry about that aspect). In addition, there is (for a surcharge) an English class once or twice a week.

However, as I said, I have two children there and while I am very happy with the attitude of the teachers of the younger one, I am not very pleased with those of the older (I don't want to sound racist, but it is the stereotypical East German attitude). Therefore, I have explored my alternatives, and have found out:

(1) There is a shortage of Kita places in Friedrichshain and the area

(2) If there are any places left, they are at private kitas

(3) If I will find a public one, it would probably be another "German" Kita, which might have the same attitude problems my current teacher has

(4) But - I really grew to hate her, so we are considering option (2), and more specifically, the Be Smart Kita that is about to open in Friedrichshain: http://www.bsa-villaheimat.de/startindex.html

Now, I pass the ball: if there is a parent here who had sent their children to Be Smart (also the one on Torstrasse), I would be happy to learn more about the place and how they like it.

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Posted

I have a friend who had a really bad experience with the Be Smart Kita in Mitte. I don't think it is a kita that fits every child well, so be careful.

If you are willing to go outside of Friedrichshain there are some spots available here and there.

We will be at Berlin Kids International which is in Prenzlauer Berg. It has a huge waiting list, so I can't recommend it for the near future, but if you get on the list and your kids are native speakers your name could come up sooner than you think. http://www.berlin-kids-international.de/

Also, in our hunt, we found a lovely small bilingual kita in Weisensee area that currently has openings: Zilli-Willi-Billi http://www.zillibilliwilli.eu/

upsides: great student-teacher ratio; nice indoor space; mixed ages all together, so sibilings would be around each

other

downsides: extra 60E month fee, no garden on site (but they have several nearby parks they use)

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Posted

I'm looking for a kita for my son starting in June next year in Pankow. It doesn't necessarily have to be bilingual but I think as all parents will understand, recommendations are really important to me, especially as he'll only be 1 year old when I go back to work and I'm already nervous!

So I'll throw this out there- anyone in Pankow / with kids in a kita there?

Just as an aside: I checked out Berlin Kids International and there's a stop on registrations now as the waiting list is 2 years!!

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Posted

I'm looking for a kita for my son starting in June next year in Pankow. It doesn't necessarily have to be bilingual but I think as all parents will understand, recommendations are really important to me, especially as he'll only be 1 year old when I go back to work and I'm already nervous!

So I'll throw this out there- anyone in Pankow / with kids in a kita there?

Just as an aside: I checked out Berlin Kids International and there's a stop on registrations now as the waiting list is 2 years!!

I hear Lara Kindergarten in Pankow is good, they are German with some English I think - I know a British parent with kids there and they really like it. There is a new one in the post office building in Pankow - Parnasius or something like that and that will be bilingual.

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Posted

[adminmerge][/adminmerge]

Would really appreciate info on options for Berlin primary school. We are moving to Berlin from London Jan2011 and have a 4/5 yr old. I know there are probably international high fee paying school, but we can not afford it. Would ideally like bi-lingual or German state school. Any info about the application and option from experience would be great. Also my son will be 5 in Dec 2010. When does he apply for primary school. Much obliged

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Posted

A child goes to school in the same year they're turning six, even if it means for many kids (born after August) that they'd be younger than six when they go to school. In the case of your child, if I understood correctly and he was born in December 2005, he has to go NEXT AUGUST (2011) to school, which means one thing: hurry up in putting him in a good preschool, preferably bilingual.

A bit about what I know and have gathered about bilingual (and reasonably financed) schools in Berlin: You have three types of bilingual schools in Berlin:

(1) There are few English-German bilingual public primary schools in Berlin :

Charles Dickens Grundschule - http://www.charles-dickens-gs.de/

Nelson Mandela Grundschule - http://sisberlin.de/

Quentin Blake Grundschule - http://www.quentin-blake-schule.cidsnet.de/

John F Kennedy Grundschule - http://www.jfks.de/

These are FREE. All three are in the West side of the city (two in Charlottenburg, two in Zehlendorf), so if you want to attend them, I think it would be better to live in the area. NMS is an "international" school, basically meant for highly mobile families (e.g. journalists, academe, etc.). CD and QB are "Europaschule", which means half native English speakers and half Germans who have managed to get in. JFK is oriented towards, and supposed to serve, the American expat community.

(2) There are private schools which are ran by associations and are very inclusive in the financial sense - not meant for rich parents who want their children to fraternise only with equally rich kids, but for "normal" people who want to have smaller classes, bilingual education in the East side of the city, or similar things. I can think of two schools :

Berlin Kids International

http://www.berlin-kids-international.de/school

Platanus in Prenzlauer Berg

http://www.platanus-schule.de/

I have also seen other schools that seem to have fair prices for parents who are not extremely rich, e.g. the Metropolitan School, the Klax, the Familienservice Schule, but I have no idea about them.

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Posted

Donno, thank you for that very informative post. Would you have any views about the Berlin Cosmopolitan School?

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Posted

A word about the BKIS Berlin Kids International School.

We are new to the school but are surprised at how well our child has adapted. The teachers are accomplished and very international, parents all greet each other, staff very cheerful, the principal is very approachable and the general feeling is completely different to our kinder experience in Berlin.

Parents need to contribute 6 hours of time per month or pay an extra levy, and the school fees are modest ( around 180 a month ).

The advantage is that the school community is made up of fairly established Berlin residents, the school is small and it is in the inner city.

Somehow the place is full of positive energy.

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Posted

Many many thanks for the reply/advice.Didn't know it was so soon to apply. Does anyone have experience or know of anyone from English backgound who sent their child to German state school? My immediate thought is that an English speaking child may struggle with a German state school. Also how to you go about to select a German state Primary school. In the UK there is the ofsted reports to guide you. Is there an equilvalent in Germany/Berlin?

I must say my first reaction is to try and enrol in a bi-lingual state school , but from the threads it seems that there is a high demand for them and German parents do get priority. I really appreciate info on the affordable bi-lingual private school. It seems to be an alternative. I will definitely check it out.

Many thanks in advance for advice

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Posted

The Rütli School in Neukoelln is said to be a very international institution and indeed well-known nationwide. It's definitely bi-lingual...

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Posted

@ Yanyan - http://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=169700&st=0&p=1964020&fromsearch=1&#entry1964020

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Posted

A child goes to school in the same year they're turning six, even if it means for many kids (born after August) that they'd be younger than six when they go to school. In the case of your child, if I understood correctly and he was born in December 2005, he has to go NEXT AUGUST (2011) to school, which means one thing: hurry up in putting him in a good preschool, preferably bilingual.

I think here in Bavaria (or at least our area) it is if the birthday is Sept 30 or earlier...just wondering if it is different in Berlin?

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Posted

I think Berlin changed to December 31st several years ago. It's confusing because each state has its own cut off date.

And Berlin is also one of the states that starts the kids between the ages of 5 and 6 instead of 6 and 7.

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