Every child between one and six years is entitled to stay in a child day care centre, Kindergarten or other similar institution. Your children are entitled to this as soon as you transfer from the initial reception facility to one of the Thuringian districts. If parents cannot pay for their child’s day care centre the youth welfare offices can help. The social care staff as well as the district employees can help finding a day care centre and applying for it.
Girls and boys attend day care together. The children can spend a few hours or the whole day (including lunch) in the day care centre. It is important for children from different countries of origin to attend a day care centre. This way, they can learn the language, play with other children and the transition to school becomes easier.
Education is very important in Germany. When they turn six years children in Thuringia start their 10 years of compulsory schooling. Children of non-German origin who moved to Germany are required to go to school three months after their arrival. If your children have a lack of German skills they will have additional German language classes.
Children first go to primary school (grades one till four). There they will learn how to read, write and calculate. Depending on your child’s performance in primary school he or she will then attend a Regel- or Gesamtschule (non-academic or mid-level secondary school) or a Gymnasium (academic secondary school).
After they have completed the ninth grade children at the Regel- or Gesamtschule will receive a Hauptschule school-leaving qualification. They can then begin a vocational training and learn many different professions. Children with good grades can also complete 10 years of school and receive a Regelschule qualification or an eligible Hauptschule qualification. These degrees qualify for almost all vocational trainings. At the Gymnasium the children receive a diploma after the Abitur examination and 12 years of school. They are then entitled to study at a university in Germany.
The local social care staff as well as the education authority can help finding a school and applying for it.
It is possible to have your foreign school qualifications and certificates recognised. The Thuringian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport can help you with that. If you want to have your school qualifications recognised to apply at a university, you can contact the relevant university directly.
Adults can continue their education at adult education centres, for example at the Volkshochschule or other organisations. There are literacy courses, German language classes for beginners and advanced students, integration courses (language and orientation courses), work-oriented language classes (ESF-BAMF courses) as well as courses for the completion of school qualifications. Additionally, there are language classes for young adults who intend to start a vocational training.