The file compiles all available data regarding the Kindergarten in Berlin. Different sources have been compiled, verified and are being kept up to date manually. Emails, phone numbers, full addresses, opening times and specifities (bilingual Kita, pedagogic influence such as Montessori or Waldorf, food diets such as vegetarian or hallal). The file is in Excel format, which makes it very easy for filtering down the daycare you want, organizing who to contact, taking notes and planning your follow-ups.

The Berlin Kita Navigator is meant for an easy search but in our personal opinion, it’s still not ideal. You need to use the Kita Navigator interface to look, search and apply to Kitas in Berlin. It also comes with some limitations (number of applications you can send simultaneously).

We think searching for a Kita in Berlin can be optimized and integrated with your own tools.
You can :

  • download the file in Excel format,
  • and then you can play with it (filter it down by post code, opening hours, pedagogic influence…).

With the full list of emails and phone numbers, you can easily collect information about the status of your preferred Kitas. You can even do a bulk emailing directly from your own email address.

Apply as soon as possible. We personally applied during pregnancy but it is not a must.
It also depends on when you actually want to use the daycare services (you don’t have to until your child is 6 years old).

When you know, you may want to start looking into gathering the documents needed as soon as possible, so when your child is here (and you have the official birth documents), you can already apply for the Kita-Gutschein (aka Kita voucher). A good practice is to apply between 9 to 2 months before the expected start of the daycare. The Kita-Gutschein is issued within 6-8 weeks according to Berlin’s website.

Once you get a spot in a Kita or at a Tagesmutter, you’ll have to take into account an acclimatisation period (Eingewöhnung).It can last from a few days to a weeks – depending on the Kita but also on how your child is coping with the daycare. Generally, it starts with you going there with him.her and looking around and then slowly increasing the time there until you leave him.her alone with the educators. It goes until your child settles in well (so it’s rather… subjective).

Kita: it’s the short version of Kindertagesstätte

Krippe: that’s a Kita, but for kids until 3 years old. It might be referred to as a Kita as well, as both Kita and Krippe might be in the same building

Tagesmutter: this term is referring to a childminder who will usually take care of children in her.his own home. You’ll need a Kita-Gutschein for that type of daycare too. This option is only available until 3 years old, after that the children go to a Kita.

Kita-Gutschein (Vollzeit / Teilzeit or Halbstag): a document delivered by the Jugendamt entitling you to cover the daycare costs. A Kita-Gutschein (literally a Kita’s voucher) can be granted for a full-time care (Vollzeit: 7 to 9 hours) or part-time (Teilzeit: up to 5 hours)

First of all, please note that you’ll need to register at your local youth office (Jugendamt). There are 12 – you’ll actually find to which one the Kita you’re targeting reports to in the Kita’s file.

Then here are the name of the documents translated to help you apply (original available here):

  •  Application Form “Anmeldung zur Förderung von Kindern”
  • Proof of the consent of the other legal guardian. For example, by his or her signature on the application form or by a written power of attorney. This is obviously not necessary if you are the sole legal guardian.
  • Copy of your ID, either your identity document or your passport
  • Proof of residence: in that case, your ID if your address is up to date or the registration document (“Anmeldung” or “Anmeldung bei einer Meldebehörde”) should be enough
  • Copy of birth certificate of the child
  • In the case of foster children: a copy of the foster care contract should be provided
  • For extended care needs and for children under 1 year of age
  • Evidence that you are unable to care for the child yourself.
    • For example:
    • a current confirmation from your employer about your working hours and how long you have been working there;
    • a confirmation from your employer that you have applied for parental leave;
    • a parental allowance certificate;
    • a certificate of study;
    • a certificate of training;
    • proof of your self-employment, e.g. by registering your business, a certificate from the tax office, a certificate from your tax advisor, a contribution notice from the artists’ social insurance fund;
    • an internship contract;
    • Proof of employment from the Employment Agency, the JobCentre (JobCenter) or a notice of unemployment benefits.

The Kita-Gutschein is free of charge.

  • Page 1 – Details of the child (Angaben zum Kind)
    • Your child’s first name (Vorname) and last name (Nachname)
    • Your child’s address
      • Street (Straße)
      • House number (Haus-Nr)
      • Postcode (PLZ)
      • Address supplement (Adresszusatz)
    • Date of birth (Gerburtsdatum)
    • Gender: female – male (Geschlecht:weiblich – männlich)
    • Nationality (Staatsangehörigkeit)
    • Is the child cared for in an institution during the day and night (home education according to § 34 SGB VIII) Yes – No (Das Kind wird in einer Einrichtung über Tag und Nacht (Heimerziehung nach § 34 SGB VIII) betreut).
    • The child lives permanently in a foster family: Yes – No (Das Kind lebt auf Dauer in einer Pflegefamilie)
  • Page 2 – Details of the care (Angaben zur Betreuung)
    • Expected care from “date” (Gewünschte Betreuung ab)
    • As a rule, the application must be made at least 2 months before the start of the desired funding! (Die Anmeldung muss i.d.R. bis spätestens 2 Monate vor Beginn der gewünschten Förderung erfolgen!)
    • Is this application on a short notice? (Liegt eine kurzfristige Anmeldung vor ?)
    • Scope of care required (Benötigter Betreuungsumfang)
      • half-day (at least 4 to a maximum of 5 hours daily) (halbtags (mindestens 4 bis höchstens 5 Stunden täglich)
      • part-time (over 5 to a maximum of 7 hours a day) (teilzeit (über 5 bis höchstens 7 Stunden täglich)
      • full-day (over 7 to a maximum of 9 hours a day) (ganztags (über 7 bis höchstens 9 Stunden täglich)
      • full day extended (over 9 hours) (ganztags erweitert (über 9 Stunden)
    • I/we require the following care time:from – to (Ich/wir benötigen folgende Betreuungszeit:ab bis)
    • At least one parent (mother/father or partner), who lives with the child is from abroad. The current nationality is not decisive here. (Mindestens ein Elternteil (Mutter/Vater oder Lebenspartner/in), der mit dem Kind zusammenlebt, stammt aus dem Ausland. Die aktuelle Staatsangehörigkeit ist hierbei nicht maßgeblich)
    • Is German spoken predominantly in the family ? (Wird in der Familie überwiegend deutsch gesprochen ?)
    • Is the child disabled ? (Ist das Kind behindert ?)
    • Do you live with the child in a homeless shelter or other emergency/collective accommodation? or another emergency/collective accommodation? (Leben Sie mit dem Kind in einer Einrichtung der Obdachlosenhilfe oder einer anderen Not-/Sammelunterkunft?)
  • Page 3 – Details of the parents / applicants (Angaben zu den Eltern / Antragstellern)
    • Caregiver (Betreuungsperson)
    • Holder of personal custody (Inhaber/in der Personensorge)
    • Sole authorised parent (Alleinige/r Empfangsbevollmächtige/r)
    • same address as child (gleiche Adresse wie Kind)
  • Page 4: Information on the determination of entitlement or need (Angaben zur Feststellung des Anspruchs bzw. des Bedarfs)
    • I am already or will be from the start of the child’s care in (Ich befinde mich bereits oder ab Betreuungsbeginn des Kindes in)
      • an employment relationship (einem Arbeitsverhältnis)
      • an apprenticeship (einem Ausbildungsverhältnis)
      • a self-employed or freelance activity (einer selbständigen oder freiberuflichen Tätigkeit)
      • school education (einer schulischen Ausbildung)
      • vocational training (einer beruflichen Ausbildung)
      • a course of study (einem Studium)
      • retraining (einer Umschulung)
      • further and continuing vocational training (einer beruflichen Fort- und Weiterbildung)
      • a measure for integration into employment under Book II of the Social Code (via the Job Centre) (einer Maßnahme zur Eingliederung in Arbeit nach dem SGB II (über das Jobcenter))
      • any other measure to promote integration into employment (einer sonstigen Maßnahme zur Förderung in Arbeit)
      • an integration course on the basis of the Immigration Act (einem Integrationskurs auf Grundlage des Zuwanderungsgesetzes)
      • equivalent voluntary language course (German) (gleichwertiger, freiwilliger Sprachkurs (deutsch))
      • I am registered as a job-seeker. (Ich bin arbeitssuchend gemeldet.)
      • I work in shifts. (Ich arbeite im Schichtdienst.)
      • I am not employed. (Ich bin nicht berufstätig.)
    • Duration of the work activity from: hour to hour (Dauer der bedarfsbegründenden Tätigkeit von)
    • Travel times (total/daily) (Wegezeiten (insgesamt/täglich)
    • Regularly changing care times Yes – No (Regelmäßig wechselnde Betreuungszeiten)
    • Are there other pedagogical, social or other reasons for increased for an increased need for care ? Yes – No (Liegen weitere pädagogische, soziale oder sonstige Gründe für eine erhöhten Betreuungsbedarf vor ?)
  • If all correct, then just click Next (Weiter) a few times until you can send the data (Daten absenden) ✅

Almost every childcare service will provide you with a form you’ll need to fill. You will need to provide standard information, such as your name, the name of your child, date of birth… Visit their website (often available in the Kita’s file) where you can find further information. You can also ring directly and ask about availability and when is the next visit.

Although you might be tempted to take the first one, it is often quite difficult to change your daycare once your child has already started – simply because obviously, having him.her to live such a change can be disturbing (but always doable!). That’s why, in the first place, you should consider how the Kita will fulfill your expectations:

  • Number of children: would you rather have a smaller Kita or a larger one?;
  • Number of educators (Erziehern): although there’s a maximum of children per educators, sometimes Kitas in Berlin also provide extra education assistants;
  • The cost: Kitas are normally free but some may ask for extra cash for activities or other regular fees;
  • Opening hours: daycare may provide late shifts (Spätdienst) and opening times may vary
  • Holidays: how many days per year is the Kita closed for holidays?
  • Type of food (standard, hallal, bio, organic, vegetarian, vegan…) and the price (23 EUR is standard but may vary depending on the diet) – sometimes you can even sample it
  • Paedagogic focus (Montessori, Emmi Pickler, Reggio, bilingual, Fröbel, Freinet, Waldorf…);
  • Another language spoken if you’re not too comfortable with German; there are many bilingual Kitas in Berlin;
  • Diversity of the groups: are there other bilingual kids? Is there a focus on a specific language?
  • Type of activities provided: it might be talking walks to the parks, the playgrounds (Spielplätze), swimming pool, forests but also cooking, musical discovery, DIY… it can be anything really;
  • Building setup: does it have an outdoor space? Access to a garden? A vegetable plot?
  • Time investment expected from the parents: some Kitas, also known as Eltern-Initiative, may expect you to give a specific amount of time for management, activities, maintenance… You want to check how much investment you’re ready to give

Of course, getting the right documents and navigating through the local bureaucracy might still feel out of your reach, so do not hesitate to seek help. There are different places and services in Berlin where you can actually get support in your Kita search:

  1. Contact your local Jugendamt
  2. Get help from a translator/interpreter
  3. Find a professional service, like Babyinberlin
  4. If you’re in need of temporary support, you may want to visit Work’n’Kid, a coworking space with child care at the same time, if required. And if you whisper that you come from BerlinKita, you’ll get the first hour for free 🙂

There are indeed different types of daycare. The standard one, known as KiTa or Kindergarten, has obviously a longer name in German which can sound very close to another one, which actually refers to a nanny. Let’s have a look:

  • Kita, or Kindertagesstätte or Kindertageseinrichtung actually refers to the state-provided daycare options. Literrally translatable as “children’s day site”. It’s often split into a:
    • Krippe (or Kinderkrippe) which welcomes the smaller children. The norm is from 1 year old onwards until 3 year-old. My first kid got in at 6 month old – the Kita-team was super welcoming and excited, I can’t say that everything was made for such a small person, but still, they all made it through!
    • Kita, which is then the part for the children aged between 3 and 6 years old. When in their last year before going to school, the children might be part of a pre-school (Vorschule) group, but that’s more a preparation than anything else.
  • the Eltern-Initiative-Kita, which basically refers to a day care service initiated and run by parents. The service is often structured as an association in which every parent must be part of. It may mean extra financial or time investment to run the daily activities. For example, you might have regular meetings about the general management of the place, regular work to carry, actual caring of the children every now and then… Every Eltern-Initiative has their own set of rules.
  • the Tagespflegepersonen (also know as Tagesmütter / Tagesvater, literally day mum/dad). This refers to a day care service run by stay-at-home parents or actual trained professionals. Often, they work in their flat -mostly on the ground floor ;). There are limitations, such as the number of children being taken care of: a Tagesmutter or -vater has on average 3 to 4 kids to take care of but also they can only have kids until they turn 3 years old, at which point they need to join an actual Kita.