There are over 3500 Kitas in Berlin and finding a spot in one of them is harder than finding an Apartment.
It was the summer of 2021 when we decided to move to Berlin from Augsburg.
While I was creating the checklist of items that I need to do before moving to Berlin, I came across several articles that stated that finding a Kita spot is one of the most difficult things in Berlin.
I took it as a challenge and applied to 100s of Kitas in Berlin within a week and got 3 Kita offers for my daughter.
In this post, I will walk you through the strategy that I followed and I am sure if you replicate this, you will be able to get a Kita spot for your kids as well.
What is a Kita?
Kita literally means Daycare.
It is the place where you can drop your kids off for a period of 5-9 hours and go to your day job.
If you are moving to Berlin and you have a day job, then you definitely need to find one Kita from thousands of Kitas in Berlin.
Kita Gutschein (Kita Voucher)
Kitas in Berlin operates differently from Kitas in other places in Germany.
Here, you need a Kita voucher also called Kita Gutschein to enroll your child in a Kita.
This is a formal letter from the Jugendamt (Youth welfare office) that you need to get before your child starts going to a Kita.
I applied for the Kita gutschein as soon as I booked a rental apartment in Berlin while I was still residing in Augsburg.
Please visit the official website to understand the process and to apply for a Kita Gutschein.
How to find Kitas in Berlin?
Berlin has an official website called Kita navigator that lists all the Kitas in the state of Berlin.
This website is very useful mainly because you can get a list of all the Kitas that are near a given address.
You can also specify the radius within which you want to find a Kita from the given street address.
This is how I searched for a Kita when I moved to Berlin:
Enter the street address – e.g: Brunnenstrasse and the radius as 2km
Hit the search button and you will find the list of Kitas with the availability information.
Note: Even though the website shows the availability, it is usually not up to date.
You can switch to the list view in the top left corner to see a simple list of all the Kitas in Berlin that matches your search criteria.
Open each one of these search results in a new tab and copy the email address to a Google sheet. Do this for all the search results from the previous step.
How to contact Kitas in Berlin?
Once you have created a list of email ids of the Kitas that are nearby your address, follow the steps below to send them an email requesting a Kita spot for your child.
Suggestion: Send the email in German to increase your chances of getting a positive reply.
Create a separate email id just for this purpose. I recommend this so that your original email id doesn’t get blacklisted or marked as a spammer by ISPs.
You will be sending emails to 100s of email ids in a short interval and doing this might reduce the reputation of your email id. So, better to create a new email id for this use.
Please make sure that you add this email id to your phone and check the incoming emails on a regular basis.
Draft an email with the required information about your child, the parents, and some additional information.
Here is a sample email template for you:
Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren
Wir sind eine indische Familie, die derzeit in Augsburg lebt und in die <Your address here> am 15. Juni 2021.
Wir haben eine Tochter, <Your daughter’s name> (<Birth date>), die Englisch, Deutsch und Hindi versteht und spricht.
Wir suchen für <Your daughter’s name> in der Nähe unserer neuen Wohnung in <Your locality> einen Platz in der Kita.
Könnten Sie uns bitte vorab mitteilen, ob Sie einen Platz für unser Kind haben? Wenn nicht, könnten Sie bitte unsere Namen auf die Warteliste schreiben?
Wir freuen uns, Sie bald persönlich kennenzulernen.
Danke und Grüße
<Your Name> & <Your Spouse’s name>
Make sure that the subject line is drafted correctly and grabs the attention of the reader.
Here is what I used as a subject line:
Verfügbarkeit in Kita für unsere 5-jährige indische Tochter
Send emails in batches of 10 and repeat this step every day.
It is important that you don’t send emails to all the 100+ Kitas in one go. If you do it, your email might end up in the spam folder of the recipients.
So, copy the email ids from the sheet you created earlier and put them into the bcc field of your email 10 at a time, and hit Send.
Repeat this every day until your list of email ids is exhausted.
Do you have further questions?
Join our community of job seekers and expats from Germany. You can ask your doubts and get suggestions on topics related to getting a job in Germany and several other related topics.
Create an excel sheet or use your previously created sheet to track the status of each Kita.
Below is a screenshot of the sheet that I used for keeping track of the emails, replies, dates, and other information.
Make sure to schedule an appointment for the Kita visit. Usually, they have Open days when the parents can visit the Kita.
Ask them if you can visit the Kita on one of the Open days or request for an appointment just for you.
While requesting an appointment, it is good to inform them about your German language proficiency.
If you do not speak German, it’s better to inform them and ask if someone in the Kita speaks English and if they could assist you on that day.
Usually, you will get a positive response from the Kita officials and they will arrange someone who can understand and speak English.
Suggestion: Try to get appointments that are close to each other. E.g: If you have an appointment on Monday with one of the Kita, try to schedule another appointment on the same day or the very next day with another Kita.
When you have more than one option, you will be able to choose the right Kita that suits your needs.
On the day of your appointment at the Kita, make sure that you carry all the relevant documents that were requested by the Kita officials.
Also, have a friendly conversation with your child about the appointment so that he/she is prepared for a casual and friendly chat with the Kita representatives.
You do not have to sign the contract on the day of your appointment.
If you have offers from more than one Kita in Berlin, you can make a decision after you have visited all of them.
In my case, I had offers from three Kitas in Berlin and we visited all three in two consecutive days.
We had the information brochure from all three Kitas, visited the Kita in person, and also interacted with the officials and the caretakers.
Finally, we decided to go with the Kita that matched our requirements the most.
We signed the contract and informed Kita via email that we accept their offer and will hand over the signed contract on the first day of the Kita.
Everything went well and most importantly, our daughter loves the Kita that we chose for her.
Everyone says “Finding a Kita in Berlin is hard”. I agree with this statement.
But, I think with proper planning and the right approach, you can easily find the right Kita for your child.
I hope the steps mentioned above and the resources listed in this article help you find the best Kita in Berlin for your child.
Feel free to share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.