At a glance

If your children accompany you during your research stay in Tübingen and you need childcare, you will find important information on childcare options here.

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German childcare system - general information

In Germany, every child is legally entitled to a childcare spot. There are childcare options for children under 1 year of age. However, there is no legal entitlement to a childcare place for this age, so only some facilities accept children of this age. Children over three years of age have an unrestricted entitlement to childcare until they enter school.

Types of childcare facilities:

Nurseries (Krippe/ Kindertagesstätte “Kita”)

  • age: 0 to 3 years
  • half-day or full-day
  • small groups with qualified educators
  • run by cities, churches, specially founded associations and other private entities

Preschool (Kindergarten)

  • age: 3 to 6/7 years
  • half-day or full-day
  • run by cities, churches, specially founded associations and other private entities


(Kindertagespflege/ „Tageseltern“)

  • age: 0 to 13 years
  • flexible, family-oriented and individual care by a designated caregiver
  • depending on the agreement, children will be looked after in the caregiver's household, in your home or at other premises
  • more information here (Tageselterverein)

After-school care (Schulhort)

  • age: 6-13 years
  • children attending primary school 
  • childcare before and after school for non-full-day schools
Childcare facilities for children resident IN Tübingen

The childcare situation in Tübingen is quite tense. Unfortunately, the city cannot provide enough places for all families because there are currently not enough educators. This is especially true for children under the age of 1 year. Furthermore, there is no legal entitlement for a childcare place for families who stay less than one year. Nevertheless, you can of course apply for a place.

  • Full-day places („Erweitertes Angebot“):

Full-day places are only available for families where both parents are employed more than 35 hours per week or are permanently prevented from caring for the child due to illness. The employment of both parents counts. Single parents are treated equally.

  • Half-day places („Grund-Angebot“):

Depending on the facility, you can also choose half-day places with up to 35 care hours per week.

  • Meals:

In the facilities with full-day opening hours (“Erweitertes Angebot”), your child will be served three meals a day (breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack). Many facilities with half-day offer (“Grund-Angebot”) also offer meals. Otherwise, parents are asked to provide a snack which children bring from home. The cost of the meals varies, depending on the meal services provided.

  • Pedagogical approach:

Childcare facilities differ in their pedagogical approach. More information can be found here. You can also check with the individual childcare facility for more information.

  • Note for new arrivals during summer:

Please be aware that childcare may not be available at all during August and the first two weeks of September because all childcare facilities close for three weeks during the summer break. The acclimatization period for new children does not begin until after the facility reopens. Because not all new children start acclimatization at the same time, it may take until October before your child can start attending.

  • Application – general information:

1. In Tübingen, there is a uniform, central online registration procedure for all facilities called “Zentrale Anmeldestelle Kinderbetreuung” (ZAK).

2. The official deadline for applications is 6 months before the desired admission date. Even if you can’t meet this deadline, please apply anyway, and the city’s childcare office will check if there are any remaining spots available. Remaining spots are also listed here under “Aktuell freie Plätze in Tübinger Kindertageseinrichtungen und bei Tageseltern“. The most important thing is to start the application process as soon as possible.

3. Most children start at the beginning of the kindergarten year from September to December, as many places become available when children leave school. Anyone wishing to be admitted during this period (main award round) must have registered their child with ZAK by the end of February.

4. Children born in the period from January to July (and desired place before September) OR families who move in after the deadlines have expired:

  • Registrations for a place in the current kindergarten year are possible at any time BUT for registrations outside the main award round it’s not possible to plan the allocation. They can only be allocated if a place becomes available due to deregistration or if places that have been blocked for internal reasons can be filled again.
  • Families moving to the city of Tübingen can register their child before moving - the six-month registration period then begins on the date of registration. However, participation in the respective allocation procedures is only possible once the Central Registration Office has been provided with a binding residential address.  This can be done by providing a copy of the rental or purchase contract. The previous residential address must be provided for contact with the Central Registration Office.
  • If no allocation can be made on the desired date, the registration remains active until a place is allocated. If no allocation can be made in the current kindergarten year, the registration is automatically transferred to the next main allocation round.

 5. Follow-up places:

  • In facilities without mixed-age groups, children turning 3 years old must be registered for a follow-up kindergarten place. If it is not possible to accommodate all children in the kindergarten area (> 3 years old children) at the start of a new kindergarten year, selection is based on the age of the children.  The older children come first. Siblings have priority for transfer. For the other children, parents must apply for follow-up places in other facilities.

  • Application – How to:

1. You can register online here:

  • First select the type of childcare: “Kindergarten” for children over three years, “Krippe” for children under three years and enter the street name where you live/ will be living in Tübingen.
  • After clicking on Search, the first results are displayed. The search options can then be changed again on the left side. You can specify the distance to your address and the caring hours “Betreuungszeit” (EA = “Erweitertes Angebot”, GA = “Grund-Angebot”)
  • The results list shows facilities that match the search. By clicking on the “i”, further information, profiles and pictures of the respective facility appear.
  • By clicking on the star next to the picture, a facility can be marked. A maximum of 8 requests are possible. Please make use of this and select 8 facilities. This will increase your chances of securing a childcare place. At the same time, it doesn’t reduce the chances of getting a place at the first-choice facility.
  • A one-time registration with a user account is required for the application. This requires a first and last name, a valid e-mail address and a password. After submitting, you will receive an e-mail that must be confirmed. Only then the user account is created.
  • If you are already registered, you can log in directly with your user data.
  • Families who do not have internet access can send a paper registration form to ZAK.

2. Supporting documents (“Formulare für Nachweise”):

As there are certain award criteria you can collect rating points (concerning the professional or family situation) and enable prioritization in the awarding process.

You can find the documents here. The signed documents have to be uploaded during the registration process. Prepare these documents in advance.

  • Employment Situation „Formular Bescheinigung Beschäftigungssituation“ (only page 1):
  • In the case of two parents, the period of employment of the partner with the lowest employment is taken into account. This document has to be signed by your contact person at the HR department (if you have a working contract) or by your host institute (if you’re here with a scholarship).
  • Support Needs/Language Support Needs „Formular Bescheinigung Förderbedarf/Sprachförderbedarf“: If your child is over three years old and needs special support in the German language. This form has to be signed by a pediatrician or integration worker.

Unfortunately, even if you apply in time there’s no guarantee that you will get a childcare place for your child. In this case you will be put on a waiting list. If no place is available at the desired facilities, parents can contact the ZAK and they will look for an alternative place.

Some facilities accept children under one year. If such a place is needed, the parents must prove the need. With a medical certificate of pregnancy, registrations for childcare are possible even before birth.

Childcare facilities for children resident OUTSIDE Tübingen

If you’re living in the surrounding of Tübingen, you will have to look for a childcare facility in the municipality where you have registered. You can find an overview of current childcare facilities in your town or municipality in the district of Tübingen at the website from “Landratsamt” (see further information "Weiterführende Informationen" and open "Kinderbetreuungen/Kindertageseinrichtungen".

Childcare places for children of researchers

Some research institutes have their own childcare support facilities; please consult your personal contact for further information. If you are a researcher at the University of Tübingen, please contact the family bureau of Tübingen University.

Fees and discounts
  • Monthly fees depend on the number of care hours per week. And they will vary considerably because they depend on the parents' income. This online fee  calculator provides a preliminary calculation of childcare fees. Just enter the following data in the fields marked in red:
  • number of children entitled to child benefit in your family
  • your annual net income
  • amount of care hours per week
  • If you have at least two children who are being cared for at the same time in Tübingen's childcare facilities, select yes ("Ja") in the last red box. You will then receive the reduced fee according to the sibling reduction.

The final fee amount may differ from this preliminary calculation because the specific childcare fee will be determined after verification of the submitted evidence, regarding income.

  • Families residing in Tübingen can apply for a fee reduction. The fees are reduced on a sliding scale according to the family's annual income, the chosen childcare hours and the number of children for whom child benefit is granted. The application must be made in writing. Forms are available at the facilities directly or here. Please always enclose the required proof of income.

If you need babysitting or private care for only a couple of hours you can contact:

University of Tübingen – support childcare cost

As a family-friendly university, the University of Tübingen offers employees and scholarship holders support in financing childcare costs that they incur in connection with an academic or official activity. 

Please find all information on the website of the University Family Office:

Intercultural Network Parent Education Tübingen (INET)

The Intercultural Network Parent Education Tübingen (INET) supports and informs parents with questions about education, daycare and school in over 25 languages. You can find more information and their contact details here: inet_fragen_kita_englisch.pdf (

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