Welcome to the online portal “Frühe Chancen”!
The portal “Frühe Chancen” (“early opportunities”) by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth offers information about early childhood education and care in Germany. It is aimed at pedagogical professionals, parents and anyone responsible for shaping child day care.
The portal provides a comprehensive overview of news and current topics, childcare numbers, the quality of child day care in Germany, as well as various topics like integration, equal opportunities or qualification in the area of early childhood education and care.
Improving quantity and quality of child day care in Germany
Access to high-quality early childhood education and care creates equal opportunities for all children and has a positive impact on their later course of education. Child day care plays a crucial role for many parents, especially when it comes to maintaining the balance between work and family life. In order to meet the demand, the Federal Government is strengthening its support of the expansion and improvements in the quality of child day care.
The Childcare Funding Act (Kinderförderungsgesetz – KiföG), which became effective on 16 December 2008, marks a significant step towards ensuring that day care for children under the age of three in Germany meets the demand in a high-quality manner. It regulates, among other things, the legal entitlement to a childcare place for all children from the age of one, which must by law be assigned to them in Germany as of 1 August 2013. Likewise, children of families with a refugee background also have a legal entitlement to early childhood education and care in a day care facility from the age of one.
The financing of the development of child day care has a solid backing. Due to the high demand for child day care places, the increased structural, spatial and equipment-related requirements for the places, there continues to be a significant financial need in child day care facilities and in childminding. Thus, the Federal Government is currently providing an additional one billion euros through the fifth investment programme. This allows for the creation of up to 90,000 new childcare places in day care centres and childminding services. Through the fourth investment programme, the Federal Government provided 1.126 billion euros until the end of 2020 to fund the creation of 100,000 childcare places. Unlike the previous investment programmes, the fourth investment programme focused on childcare places for children between the age of three and the age of school entry. The objective: equal educational opportunities for all children and a better work-life balance. Through the three Childcare Funding investment programmes 2008-2013, 2013-2014, and 2015-2018, the Federal Government already contributed around 3.28 billion euros to the expansion of day care places for children under the age of three.
The Act on Good Early childhood Education and Care – more quality, less fees
With the Act on Good Early Childhood Education and Care (Gute-KiTa-Gesetz), the Federation will improve the quality of child day care throughout Germany and reduce the financial burden on parents by reducing or even abolishing childcare fees. To this end, the Federation will be investing 5.5 billion euros in the coming four years until 2022.
The 16 Länder will conclude individual agreements with the Federal Government. This will ensure that federal funds arrive at the right place. The Act on Good Early Childhood Education and Care came into force on 1 January 2019. The act is accompanied by annual monitoring and evaluation.
Good, high-quality day care for children is a common goal of the Federal Government, Länder, municipalities and associations. 2014 saw the start of the joint quality development process. Two milestones: In 2016, joint quality goals were approved by the Federal and Länder governments for the first time in the interim report titled “Developing and Financially Ensuring Early Education” (PDF, 1 MB, not barrier-free). In May 2017, the Youth and Family Ministers’ Conference agreed upon the cornerstones of a quality development act by a large majority. These formed the basis for the Act on Good Early Childhood Education and Care.
Various federal programmes support the improvement of quality
The Federal Government is currently supporting the qualitative improvement of day care through various federal programmes:
The federal programme “Language day care centres: Because language is the key to the world” (“Sprach-Kitas: Weil Sprache der Schlüssel zur Welt ist”) promotes language education in the daily routine of day care centres. This is an important step towards ensuring equal opportunities.
Childminders provide early childhood education and care in a family-like setting with small and manageable groups. The federal programme “ProChildminding: Where Education for the Smallest Starts” (“ProKindertagespflege: Wo Bildung für die Kleinsten beginnt”) contributes towards improving the pedagogical work of childminders and the structural quality of child day care in general.
Good childcare means equal opportunities for all children. Currently, however, not all families benefit equally from childcare in its role as a form of early education. The federal programme “Stepping into Childcare: Building Bridges into Early Childhood Education” (“Kita-Einstieg: Brücken bauen in frühe Bildung”) supports low-threshold services which aim to prepare and accompany children's entry into day care.
Childcare professionals contribute to ensuring access to high-quality education and care for all children in Germany. The further expansion of child day care places, the implementation of the legal entitlement to all-day care at primary schools and improvements in the quality of care require additional professionals in early childhood education. Thus, the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, through the federal programme “Skilled Labour Initiative for Attracting Talent and Retaining Professionals in ECEC” (Fachkräfteoffensive für Erzieherinnen und Erzieher: Nachwuchs gewinnen, Profis binden”), supports Länder and providers in attracting pedagogical professionals and to retain already trained professionals working in this sector and to strengthen their skills.
Integration courses foster social participation of and equal opportunities for migrants in Germany. The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community, will launch the federal programme “Integration Course with a Child: Building Blocks for the Future” (Integrationskurs mit Kind: Bausteine für die Zukunft”) in January 2022 to enable parents of children below school age to participate in an integration course.
All-day care for children of primary school age
The transition from child day care to primary school poses a challenge for many families. Lessons often finish at noon already. To reconcile family life and work, more good childcare options are needed beyond noon. The "Act on Providing All-Day Care and Education for Primary School Children" (Ganztagsförderungsgesetz/All-day Childcare Act) and the legal entitlement to all-day care for primary school children enshrined in it, are aimed at closing this care gap. From August 2026, initially all primary school children in first grade are to be entitled to all-day care. The entitlement will be expanded by one grade in each of the following years. Thus, from August 2029, every primary school child from grade one to four is to be entitled to all-day care.
Further information regarding child day care in German and English is provided by the International Center Early Childhood Education and Care (ICEC).