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Creative family on sabatical - childcare? meets?

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Posted

Hi Everyone,

 

I'm arriving in Berlin in early April 2013 along with my husband and our 2 year old boy (he'll be 3 in June). We'll be in Berlin on a research trip. We are both Arts PhD students. I'm a professional author (fiction) and my husband is a multimedia artist. He does a lot with music, spoken word and film.

 

I'm sure Berlin has a lot to offer, but we are hoping to meet some like minded people too. I'm also hoping to find some flexible intensive German tuition. Any recommendations?

 

Ideally we'd love to find a temporary place at a bilingual Kita for our little boy. We're quite open to the kind of Kita it is. He goes to forest school here, and also has a childminder. Do you think it's likely we'd find somewhere willing to offer us perhaps half days? Or should we assume this is unlikely and start looking for a nanny? Do you have any advice about this?

 

We'll be staying in the Prenzlauer Berg area, and most of my research will be in the Mitte area, so any nurseries would have to be within a reasonable distance.

 

I'd also love to know about any meet ups in that area. Does the area we'll be staying in have toddler groups? Not necessarily for English speakers. I don't have good German but I am a linguist at heart and love to immerse myself. We'll try anything and it would be nice to get involved.

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Posted

How long are you staying? If you register as residents, which should not be a problem as I guess you are UK citizens, then your boy is entitled to a kita place once he turns 3 - monthly cost being very small to cover lunch and a few bits and bobs.

 

The problem may be to get a bilingual kita place, as the are often waiting lists. As visiting academics, you may get prioritised, but as always here, make sure you understand the process and fill out all the right forms. There should be some people on Toytown who have been through this and can help.

 

If you are staying for a year or more, I think your boy will pick up German very well in a standard German kita - may be a bit of effort for the first few weeks, but my experience is my kids were speaking German well after a few months in the kita.

 

Hope. it all. works out well, and once you are settled let me know, I have 1 or 2 contacts that could be interesting for your husband.

 

Colin

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Posted

Hi Colin,

 

Thanks very much for your reply. We're not staying long this first trip, just April, May, June, but hopefully more will follow. I guess with the Kita starting at 3, it wouldn't apply really, so we'll be looking mainly at groups we can take Ivor to. It would be a shame for him not to see another child for 3 months! Also, I'd like to get care for him a couple of days a week, or just a few half days perhaps. I'm open to a childminder or even a student, as long as it was someone I trusted and they spoke some English - doesn't have to be fluent, just enough to understand the important stuff like "I need a pee", "I'm hungry", "I want a cuddle"!

 

I will be conducting some interviews while I am there and visiting some archives, so those are really the periods I need to cover. My husband will be able to help some of the time, but he'll be writing his PhD thesis at the same time, so an extra helping hand would be great. I can do a nanny-share type thing too, if anyone was interested.

 

I know that Berlin is a real hub for the kind of experimental music my husband does. This is his latest music release by the way, reviewed on a German blog:

 

http://de-bug.de/reviews/52496.html

 

More info about us both here:

www.eleanorthom.com

www.dooks.org

 

Mine website is out of date, but nevermind. My grandmother came from Berlin, which is what takes us back to the city now.

 

Other stuff we love, junk shops, flea markets, live music (particularly if during the day so Ivor can come with us), collectable vinyl, cinema, and good food.

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Posted

Hello stormy79,

 

Here are a few contacts you may find useful:

 

Affordable/ flexible German lessons - Expath (www.expath.de)

 

Babysitting service - The Babysitters Club (www.thebabysittersclub.de)

 

English language activity centers for kids - The Center (www.thecenter-berlin.de) and Kids Corner Berlin (www.kidscornerberlin.de)

 

Online community of English-speaking mums and dads with young children with meet-up listings, an active message board etc - Mr. Barnaby's Baby Babble (www.meetup.com/babybabble)

 

Facebook pages with information about what's going on around town for kids - Mr. Barnaby (www.facebook.com/MrBarnabyBerlin) and Berlin with Kids (www.facebook.com/BerlinwithKids)

 

Best wishes,

Melanie

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Posted

Actually because your child is growing up in a family where German is not spoken at home, you are entitled to a kita place for 5-7 hours a day from the beginning of the month in which your child turns 2. How much you have to pay for the place depends on how much you earned in the previous year, as you are coming from the UK, they (the Jugendamt) will want to see proof of what you earned in the UK last year (it is a bit of a hassle, but worth it unless you plan to earn a lot here and do not mind paying the maximum amount: 466 Euro per month) Depending on what you earn, you might end up paying only slightly more that the 23 Euro a month that you have to pay for food, so it is worth going through the hassle of getting the gutschein. From my experience, it was quite hard finding a kitaplatz in my area of Berlin as most of the kitas were full and only planned to take new children in August. However, you have to keep your ears open and talk to people down at the parks, telling everyone that you are looking for a place etc.

 

Once you get childcare set up in Germany it is very good and affordable, however, it takes a while to get it all up and running, so if you are only here for 3 months, you might find it quicker and easier to find someone from this website: http://www.kinderfee.de.

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Posted

Hi there

 

I am also a writer living in Prenzlauerberg (creative/fiction). You are most welcome to contact me when you arrive in Berlin and I could show you around a bit. I also have many reliable friends with babysitting experience if you still need someone for Ivor. My boyfriend is studying sound engineering and produces experimental post-rock, so maybe he and your husband could compare notes :)

 

All the best with the preparations!

 

Caroline

 

Email me

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Posted

Thank you so much for the many useful links and all the advice here. Sorry I only just logged back in, I wasn't getting notified of any posts. It's lovely to see that there are things we can join in with. I'm feeling very positive about it. Caroline, I'll definitely be in touch :) And Mr Barnaby, will join the facebook groups you mention now. :)

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