Understanding the Vorschule concept in German Kindergarten

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I am looking for information on a couple of points about schooling in Germany, Hamburg in particular. Early thanks for your help.

 

My daughter was born in August 2013, and she started going to a kindergarten close to where we live just this week. She has been in Germany for 4 months, and speaks no German. Information that I am currently in search is,

 

  1. There is a Vorschule concept in Germany, where between the ages of 5-6, last year before the Grundschule starts, children either go to, or continue with the Kita. I wonder the basis for the decision of either sending the children to Vorschule, or going on with the Kindergarten until the Grundschule starts.
  2. Only after I came here, I learnt that one needs to be planning things very early on, and this caused so much stress on me in my search for a place in a Kita. I applied to many  Kitas, and was told that I had to apply at least 1-1,5 year earlier than the date I want my kid to start. Luckily I managed to find a spot. In order not to be late next time, I started searching about the Vorschule, and Grundschule. Based on your experiences, should I register my daughter to a Grundschule from today? How should I manage this process ?

 

Thanks a lot.

 

 

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Here is a link to a couple of flyers about Hamburg Kindergarten Vorschule and Grundschule including enrollment dates in case you have not seen them.

 

KIGA Vorschule:

http://www.hamburg.de/contentblob/6821056/79a06936fadb4be95e567f0ac1760368/data/kita-oder-vorschule-flyer-dl.pdf

 

Grundschule:

http://www.hamburg.de/contentblob/4131938/c452c369dbf251325fa2a448ea7886dd/data/en-einschulung-viereinhalgj-flyer.pdf

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Thank you for the links but I am a bit puzzled. It is written that I will be contacted by the responsible school. So should I not search for a school by myself?? Is it not the parents who decide which school they will send their children to?

 

"Around 18 months before the planned first day at school you will be invited to the locally responsible school with your child. You are obliged to comply with this invitation. This will give you the opportunity to get advice on how your child can best be supported when they start school."

 

And AFAIK the children start going to Grundschule when they turned to 6 years old, but this table is not suggesting that. What am I missing?

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1 hour ago, TurMech said:

Thank you for the links but I am a bit puzzled. It is written that I will be contacted by the responsible school. So should I not search for a school by myself?? Is it not the parents who decide which school they will send their children to?

 

"Around 18 months before the planned first day at school you will be invited to the locally responsible school with your child. You are obliged to comply with this invitation. This will give you the opportunity to get advice on how your child can best be supported when they start school."

 

And AFAIK the children start going to Grundschule when they turned to 6 years old, but this table is not suggesting that. What am I missing?

 

 

(Edited to correct an error.)

 

In most places parents aren't given a choice of public primary school - their child is automatically assigned to the school in whose catchment area their residence is located. You are required to attend the school registration appointment at the school to which your child is automatically assigned. There may be a local procedure for requesting a change of school if you wish for something else; for that you have to contact the local Schulamt (school district, basically); they will inform you as to the process as well as the likelihood of a change being approved (in general).  In our city, for example, it used to be that heads of school could decide on such matters, or negotiate between them (effectively swapping pupils, for example, or seeking to maintain numbers or whatever), and under those circumstances parents could make requests based on e.g. their favored school being convenient to their workplace, or their child wanting to go to school with a dear friend.  Recently the system was changed so that decisions are made centrally by the Schulamt and they accept relatively few requests (though some still do go through).  In Hamburg parents do nominally get to choose their child's primary school, though - see my post below for links re: info.

 

As far as school age goes, children who turn 6 by a certain deadline date (where you are the date is 1 July) are admitted to school in any particular school year. Where you are, if you turn 6 on or before July 1st, you can start school in the August immediately after that. If you turn 6 on July 2nd or later, you are expected to wait until the next school year to start school (hence starting at age 7 or nearly age 7 on the first day of school).  You can probably petition to have your child start school early (frühe Einschulung), but that has to go through the Schulamt as well, and often involves getting the support of the child's Kindergarten teacher (or at least a report from the Kindergarten), a report from an educational psychologist or pediatrician (at least), and perhaps an interview of the child at his/her prospective school. 

 

Hope that helps.

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Thank you Liebling, this was very enlightening. It is good that the children get assigned automatically to a school in the district, as the parents will not have to struggle to find a place unlike the case for the Kitas, but at the same time may be not that good, if the assigned school is not the preferred one.

 

And is it possible to know early on, based on the living address, which school my child will be assigned to?

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Oh, wait!  Hamburg appears to do things differently than other Bundesländer, but to be sure about any of the issues that concern you, you can contact the Schuinformationszentrum of the City of Hamburg.  

Hamburger Straße 125a

22083 Hamburg

Tel. 428 99 22 11

schulinformationszentrum@bsb.hamburg.de

www.hamburg.de/bsb/siz

 

Beratung und Unterstützung für Eltern, Schüler und deren Gremien Kristiane Harrendorf Tel. 428 63-2897 kristiane.harrendorf@bsb.hamburg.de www.hamburg.de/bsb/elterninfo

 

I see from the city's Grundschulen website that they do indeed support parents' choice of primary schools; I think the text you quoted from the document above is just about the school readiness visit, when you take a child 18 months ahead of their starting school so that the school authorities (any school authorities) can have a look at them/have them on record. Apparently you are assigned a school to go to for the purposes of that appointment.  It may or may not be the school your child will attend, but is probably one in your neighborhood all the same.

 

It says on the city's primary school webpage :

Every school will accept your registration and help you with questions and any formalities.

After providing a list of the documentation required for registration, it says: 

 

Please bring your registration to the school of your choice.  We will do our best to accomodate your choice of school.  The school will inform you before the summer holidays whether it can indeed accommodate your child.  To be on the safe side, please name two additional schools you would like your child to attend if your preferred school is not an option. This helps us to find a school for your child in case we cannot accommodate your first choice.

Also, have you seen this document ? It may help answer some of your questions about individual primary schools.

 

Hope that helps.

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On 9/8/2017, 11:13:53, TurMech said:

I am looking for information on a couple of points about schooling in Germany, Hamburg in particular. Early thanks for your help.

 

My daughter was born in August 2013, and she started going to a kindergarten close to where we live just this week. She has been in Germany for 4 months, and speaks no German. Information that I am currently in search is,

 

  1. There is a Vorschule concept in Germany, where between the ages of 5-6, last year before the Grundschule starts, children either go to, or continue with the Kita. I wonder the basis for the decision of either sending the children to Vorschule, or going on with the Kindergarten until the Grundschule starts.
  2. Only after I came here, I learnt that one needs to be planning things very early on, and this caused so much stress on me in my search for a place in a Kita. I applied to many  Kitas, and was told that I had to apply at least 1-1,5 year earlier than the date I want my kid to start. Luckily I managed to find a spot. In order not to be late next time, I started searching about the Vorschule, and Grundschule. Based on your experiences, should I register my daughter to a Grundschule from today? How should I manage this process ?

 

Thanks a lot.

 

 

hi i have the same situation and the kid will start Sprint Classes in February - once a week. After summers will start schule at gottfriend keller - But we are in norderstedt - Might be different in your area.

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Unless you want to opt for a private school you won´t have to worry about a vacancy at Grundschule. You won´t be able to choose anyway if you go public. It will have to be the one in the catchment area of which you´re living in.

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5 minutes ago, jeba said:

You won´t be able to choose anyway if you go public. It will have to be the one in the catchment area of which you´re living in.

 

Of course this is wrong.   The kid will be enrolled in a "default school" which is normally the closest one.    But if the parents do not like the school of prefer another one for whatever reason, then you go to your default school and get paperwork for your transfer intentions, then you bring that to the school of your preference and apply for a place.    If you get a place in the other school then they will inform the original school about it so they can release the original spot.    This is what we did with both of our kids.   Not sure if it is like that in every state but I am almost sure there should be similar alternatives.

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2 minutes ago, Krieg said:

 

Of course this is wrong.   The kid will be enrolled in a "default school" which is normally the closest one.    But if the parents do not like the school of prefer another one for whatever reason, then you go to your default school and get paperwork for your transfer intentions, then you bring that to the school of your preference and apply for a place.    If you get a place in the other school then they will inform the original school about it so they can release the original spot.    This is what we did with both of our kids.   Not sure if it is like that in every state but I am almost sure there should be similar alternatives.

I remember having read of a court case about whether parents had the right to choose a different school outside the respective catchment area. They lost. IIRC that was in Hesse. Some people even move to get their kids into the "right" catchment area.

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It is totally different to have the right to get the place in the school you want and to have the right to apply in the school you want. If the school is full there is not much they can do, maybe opening other class if the people press enough, but it is not easy. And some cities do not allow to apply in different districts, you still can apply in other school in the same district.

You said the kid is stuck with the school that was assigned, that's incorrect.

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Well, it may be different in different states. Where I grew up (Bavaria) I had to go to "Schillerschule" even though "Goetheschule" was closer. But it was a different catchment area. 

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33 minutes ago, jeba said:

Well, it may be different in different states. Where I grew up (Bavaria) I had to go to "Schillerschule" even though "Goetheschule" was closer. But it was a different catchment area. 

 

Sometimes I don't understand your attitude,  

 

This a HAMBURG thread, so here the info about it in HAMBURG:

 

http://www.hamburg.de/grundschulen/

 

" Bitte geben Sie Ihre Anmeldung an der Schule ihrer Wahl ab. Es wird in jedem Fall versucht werden, Ihrem Schulwunsch zu entsprechen. "

 

Please bring your registration to the SCHOOL OF YOUR CHOICE.   We will try to fulfill your school wishes.

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Jeba, slightly up-thread from your post came this:

 

On 8.9.2017, 16:33:14, liebling said:

Oh, wait!  Hamburg appears to do things differently than other Bundesländer,

 

and from that we see how in Hamburg things are not the same as we are used to in other parts.

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Jeba probably grew up in a small village 65 years ago. Of course if there is only one school in the village you have to go to that school. But I will be surprised if nowadays any city did not allow the parents to change the kids' school, specially in this time when people feel so entitled to everything.

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5 hours ago, Krieg said:

Sometimes I don't understand your attitude,  

Attitude? What attitude? I was just saying how it was when I was a child. Anyway, I stand corrected. Seems that things are different in Hamburg. My main point was to put the OP´s worries at rest that she might not get a spot at the Grundschule.

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Munich definitely allows you to apply to other primary schools; however, if you want a Hort place at that school then you were lower priority than if you were at your catchment area school. 

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37 minutes ago, sluzup said:

Munich definitely allows you to apply to other primary schools; however, if you want a Hort place at that school then you were lower priority than if you were at your catchment area school. 

 

Are you sure about that?

I see that you live in Niedersachsen.

 

Source: https://www.muenchen.de/rathaus/Stadtverwaltung/Referat-fuer-Bildung-und-Sport/Schule/Grundschulen.html

 

Kinder, die sechs Jahre alt werden, sind schulpflichtig. Die Kinder müssen dabei an der für Ihren Wohnort zuständigen öffentlichen Grundschule angemeldet werden.

  • Das Wichtigste in Kürze

    Zu Beachten

    Die Kinder müssen an der öffentlichen Grundschule, in deren Schulsprengel sie ihren gewöhnlichen Aufenthalt haben oder an einer staatlich anerkannten bzw. staatlich genehmigten privaten Grundschule angemeldet werden. Auch Kinder mit sonderpädagogischem Förderbedarf werden grundsätzlich bei der Sprengelschule angemeldet. Auskünfte über die Sprengeleinteilung der staatlichen Grundschulen geben die Mitarbeiterinnen des Servicetelefons im Referat für Bildung und Sport sowie die Schulleitungen. Wird das Kind an einer privaten Grundschule angemeldet, ist aus Gründen der Überwachung der Schulpflicht die zuständige Grundschule zu informieren.

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