Bringing your family
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Service for international researchers
Bringing your family
Are you planning to bring your family to Oldenburg?
If your children will be coming with you to Germany, you should find out as early as possible what child care facilities are available. Day care spots are in high demand, and there are often waiting lists. So it's a good idea to apply for and try to get day care spots for your children prior to arrival in Germany.
Children between the ages of three and six years have a statutory right to a place in a kindergarten, though kindergarten attendance remains voluntary. As childcare provisions and care times vary from facility to facility we recommend that you contact these facilities prior to your arrival. In addition to kindergartens, there are "Krippen" (crèches) that provide childcare for babies and toddlers. A fee based on the parents' income level, on the range of services the respective facility provides and the number of siblings is charged for places at childcare facilities. For children over 3 years of age, attendance at a childcare facility is free of charge (except for a fee for meals, if applicable).
If you wish to bring your children to Oldenburg, you should find out about daycare options and facilities prior to your arrival. The kindergarten year usually starts in August, and only in exceptional cases is it possible to get a place in a facility on short notice.
There is a signing up period in January of each year. Many facilities have an Open Day (Tag der offenen Tür) for parents who would like to see the facility and meet the staff before signing up. In Oldenburg, places in childcare facilities are assigned in a centralised procedure.
A childminder (in German: Tagesmutter) is a more individualised, flexible childcare option. Childminders generally look after several children during the day in their own home. Childminders are required to hold a valid state certificate and a licence from the child protective services (Jugendamt). They are also required to update their paediatric first aid training every 2 years. You can find Tagesmütter in the classified ads sections of newspaper or through the child protective services. If you are looking for a babysitter to look after your children for a few hours a day or for an evening, it is a good idea to ask your colleagues and neighbours for recommendations.
Compulsory school attendance (Schulpflicht) in Germany requires that all children between the ages of six and eighteen attend school. The German general school system has two stages of school education: primary and secondary. Primary education runs from years 1 to 4. Secondary education (Sekundarstufe I) runs from years 5 to 10 with three different tracks of schooling: Hauptschule, Realschule (in Lower Saxony, these two tracks are combined into Oberschulen) and Gymnasium. Students receive an intermediate-level qualification once they have successfully completed year 10. Students who are eligible to take Abitur exams continue secondary education until year 13 (Sekundarstufe II). The German school system also has Gesamtschulen (GS) and Integrierte Gesamtschulen (IGS). These schools combine all three tracks of schooling and allocate students to different course levels according to performance: remedial, basic, and advanced. Kooperative Gesamtschulen (KGS), on the other hand, keep the three tracks of schooling separate and teach students separately even though they all attend the same school.
As each federal state has its own school holiday dates, the school year starts in either August or September. In the past, part-time education was more common in Germany than full-time education, with the school day ending early, between 13:00 and 14:00. In recent years, however, full-time education has become increasingly prevalent and many schools now offer full-time education until 15:00 or 16:00 and provide lunch at cafeterias and/or dining halls (Mensas).
Most schools in Germany are public and do not charge tuition. Parents do, however, have to pay for learning materials and school trips and outings. Private schools are less common in Germany.
The Amt für Schule und Bildung of the City of Oldenburg is responsible for schooling and education and informs on the various schools in Oldenburg. You can consult the school administration (Schulleitung) and go and see the schools for yourself before choosing one for your children.
Family benefits vary greatly within the European Union. Your economic status and on your place of residenc determine which country is responsible for providing your family benefits:
- If you live in a European country and pay contributions to the (national) social security system, the country you live in is responsible for your family benefits.
- If you live in a European country temporarily (i.e. for less than two years) and continue to pay contributions to the social security system of your home country, your home country remains responsible for your family benefits.
- If your family lives in a country other than the one where you live, your family could be entitled to family benefits from different countries. The relevant national authorities will then take account of your situation and decide which country has primary responsibility for paying the benefits (priority rules). You will not receive benefits twice.
You can find further detailed information on the website of the European Union.
The following family benefits are statutory in Germany:
If your partner is accompanying you to Oldenburg and would also like to work during his or her stay here, you should find out about the employment regulations as soon as possible. The City of Oldenburg's Welcome Center is your contact for such inquiries and can inform you about whether you are allowed to be gainfully employed in Germany and how to apply for jobs. Current job offers are listed in daily newspapers (generally in the weekend editions) and online, on the university's notice-board, or at the Employment Agency in Oldenburg.
You will also find job advertisements and information for partners of visiting academics on the EURES (European Job Mobility Portal) website. You can make an appointment with a EURES advisor at the Federal Employment Agency in Oldenburg.