TechnologieRegion Karlsruhe TechnologieRegion Karlsruhe


How does the German school system works, what are the childcare options, and what is the legal framework to help Family members immigrate? You will have many questions when moving to the TRK.

Are you searching for daycare providers or centers that can look after your children? This section is meant to offer all of the information you need on the various forms of childcare (including a list of bilingual services) available in the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion.

From the age of one until he or she turns three years old, each child is entitled to early childhood education and care 

  • provided by a daycare center (either a nursery or a mixed-age group that includes the child's current age) or 
  • another form of childcare service.

The amount of daily care each child receives is based on his or her individual needs.

Children remain entitled to education and care at a daycare center (a kindergarten or mixed-age group) after turning three years old.

In Germany, a distinction is made between state-run and private kindergartens and daycare centers. If you opt for a state-run daycare center or kindergarten, you will need to choose from those present in your place of residence.  

Along with the state-run kindergartens, independent (and typically faith-based) organizations also offer childcare services. Spaces are usually allocated in September each year, which is also when older children are enrolled in schools. In many cases, however, the allocation process begins in March, and many kindergartens already have long waiting lists. In other words, it is very important to start making childcare arrangements sooner rather than later. 

As an alternative to kindergartens, there are also private individuals who offer childcare services, typically in their own homes. These individuals hold certifications that qualify them to look after children. In addition, parent-child groups are available in which parents organize private care for their children, usually with the help of education professionals. 

Open spaces in kindergartens, with private childcare providers, and in parent-child groups are often advertised in regional publications like Karlsruher Kind.

In Karlsruhe (and the greater Karlsruhe district), you also have the option of sending your child to a bilingual daycare center. The following overview covers the German-French and German-English centers available in the region. 

German-French daycare centers

Kita Pamina

D - 76187 Karlsruhe
Tel. +49 (0) 721 476 7802
Fax: + 49 (0) 721 484 7824
To the website


Structure: Pamina provides all-day care to 45 children between the ages of one and six in three mixed-age groups.

Opening hours:
7:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. 

Kita Polyglott

Nursery of the European School Karlsruhe
Albert-Schweitzerstr. 1a
D - 76139 Karlsruhe
Tel. +49 (0) 721 680 69 2510
Fax: +49 (0) 721 680 69 2525
To the website

Structure: Polyglott provides care to 40 children between the ages of two months and three-and-a-half years in four nursery groups.

Opening hours:

7:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. 

Kita "les explorateurs - die Entdecker"

An der RaumFabrik 8
D - 76227 Karlsruhe
Tel. + 49 (0) 721 464 710710
Fax: +49 (0) 721 464 710719
To the website

Structure: Les Explorateurs provides care to 88 children between the ages of two months and six years in five age-mixed groups (including morning, all-day, and nursery arrangements).

Opening hours:

7:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. (all-day groups and nursery),
7:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. (morning group)

Kita "les petits amis - die kleinen Freunde"

D - 76137 Karlsruhe
Tel. +49 (0) 721 819 89315
Fax: +49 (0) 721 819 89316
To the website

Structure: Les Petits Ami provides all-day care to 45 children between the ages of one and six in three mixed-age groups.

Opening hours:

7:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Kita SieKids Villa Pusteblume

G.-Braun-Str. 16
D - 76187 Karlsruhe
Tel. +49 (0) 721 531 69797
Fax: +49 (0) 721 531 69798
To the website

Structure: SieKids Villa Pusteblume provides care to 83 children between the ages of one and six in four mixed-aged groups (including morning and all-day arrangements) and two nursery groups. 

Opening hours:

7:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. (all-day and nursery groups),
7:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. (morning group)

Kita Mikado

D - 76131 Karlsruhe
Tel. +49 (0) 721 476 9674
Fax: +49 (0) 721 476 9746
To the website

Structure: Mikado provides care to 55 children between the ages of one and six in two all-day mixed-age groups, one morning mixed-age group, and one nursery group.

Opening hours:

7:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. (all-day and nursery groups),
7:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. (morning group)

German-English daycare centers

Kita Monelli

D - 76135 Karlsruhe
Tel. +49 (0) 721 841020
Fax: + 49 (0) 721 8314889
To the website

Structure: Monelli provides care to 40 children between the ages of three and six in two all-day groups.

Opening hours:

6:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. 

Educational opportunities in the TRK

From kindergarten up to university and on to life-long learning: The educational services in Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion are characterized by diversity, high standards, broad networks, and short distances. Schools of all kinds are represented: 446 elementary, lower secondary and special schools, 51 intermediate secondary schools (Realschule) as well as 33 vocational schools and 47 general high schools (Gymnasium). In addition to this, there are also specialized schools like the Waldorf schools and private high schools, as well as the multilingual European School Karlsruhe.  Wherever you live within the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion, your children are not far from any school type of your choice. The education system is connected with one another which is another advantage of our region and an aspect both parents and children appreciate and benefit from. This section gives you an initial overview of the German school system including its different types of school. 

Types of schools in Germany 

In Baden-Wuerttemberg - as in all of Germany - school is compulsory. All children and young people whose residence, habitual abode or place of work or vocational training is in Baden-Wuerttemberg must attend school.

Compulsory schooling requires attendance in class and at other mandatory events organized by the school as well as compliance with the school rules of the school type attended. A vast majority of schools in Germany are state-run. Therefore, your children can attend these schools free of charge.

Children who reach the age of six by September 30, i.e. who celebrate their sixth birthday before then, are subject to compulsory schooling and must attend an elementary school.

Since the 2005/2006 school year, the age requirement has become a bit more flexible, as it was expanded to the entire sixth year of the child's life (from October 1 to June 30). Children who turn six between October 1 and June 30 can be enrolled in school by their parents without further formalities. Ultimately though, it is up to the school directors to decide whether a child is accepted in that school.


In general, the elementary school in question will send invitations to parents with the dates when their child can start school. If this is not the case, parents must personally contact the elementary school where they live.

Parents are not free to choose the elementary school their child is to attend. In general, children attend the elementary school in the district where their parents have their residence or habitual abode. In specially justified exceptions, your child can apply to change school district and go to a different elementary school. Children attend elementary school for four years.

To register for school, the child must go to the school for evaluation and the following documents must be submitted:

  • Identification card of the legal guardian (generally mother or father)
  • Birth certificate or certificate of descent of the child
  • Registration certificate of the school administration office

After elementary school, children must attend one of the following secondary schools: technical secondary school/lower secondary school, intermediate secondary school (Realschule), comprehensive school or general high school (secondary level I). Attendance at these schools is compulsory for five years.


At a glance

  • In Germany, all children of a certain age must attend school
  • The compulsory school period, or full-time school attendance requirement is nine or at most ten years everywhere in Germany.
  • Legal guardians are responsible for ensuring that their children attend school.
  • Elementary school lasts 4 years. The elementary school your child attends is determined based on your address; you are thus not free to choose any elementary school.
  • Elementary school is followed by secondary schools: technical secondary school/lower secondary school, intermediate secondary school, comprehensive school or general high school.
  • Intermediate secondary schools end after 10th grade when students receive their diploma (intermediate level), which is required for most vocational training professions.
  • High schools end after the 12th or 13th grade (depending on whether they follow the G8 or G9 model), after which students can earn their Abitur certificate, which entitles them to study at university.

Technical secondary schools and lower secondary schools

The primary educational goal of technical secondary Schools ("Werkrealschule") and lower secondary Schools ("Hauptschule") is to identify and develop potential talents of the students, to contribute to successful educational biographies. The guiding didactic vision is continuous individual support of students, with an emphasis on planning career options in all grades.

The following elective subjects are a core element of technical and lower secondary schools' curriculum:

  • Healthcare and social occupations
  • Business and information technology
  • Nature and technology

They are taught in 8th, 9th and 10th grade. They are part of a long-term concept for broad-based career guidance based on their scholastic needs. The elective subjects are intended to provide an orientation to help students choose a vocational training program.

The guiding principle of the technical and lower secondary schools is continuous individual support in all grades.

Junior high school

In six years (years 5 to 10), intermediate secondary schools (so-called “Realschulen”) provide a self-contained, extended general education and expanded general knowledge. This forms the basis for practically-oriented careers where tasks with higher independence, responsibility and management requirements must be performed.

On passing the final examination after 10th grade, students earn intermediate educational qualifications (intermediate level).

Graduation from any type of Realschule entitles students to

  • start vocational training in a recognized training profession and in a regulated training program
  • transfer to single or multi-year vocational schools
  • transfer to single or multi-year vocational colleges
  • transfer to a vocational or general high school.

At this point, your children can transition from a Realschule to a Gymnasium (regular high school), for example. To do so, they must have good to very good grades.

Comprehensive school

Comprehensive schools are efficient, socially just schools particularly committed to democratic values that offer all educational standards of schools of general education.

Comprehensive schools can encompass grades 5 to 10 (secondary level I), possibly also grades 1 to 4 (elementary level) and 11 to 13 (secondary level II). Until the end of secondary level I, all graduation options remain open.

Possible qualifications:

  • Lower secondary school diploma after 9th or 10th grade
  • Intermediate level school diploma after 10th grade
  • University admission qualifications after secondary level II (three more years after 10th grade) either at the comprehensive school itself if there are enough students, or at another general high school or vocational high school.

Students can transfer from comprehensive schools to any school of general education in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Germany at any time. In addition to this, from 8th grade on, students can also transfer to six-year “add-on” vocational high schools in Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Comprehensive schools can be chosen regardless of where the child lives, students are not bound to a specific district.

General high school (Gymnasium)

General high schools teach a broad-based and in-depth general education, which enables students to study at university afterwards.
As of school year 2004/2005, an eight-year high school system was introduced for all students entering fifth grade. For information on this, see the Ministry of Culture website in the section on general high schools.
Starting from the 2012/2013, the Ministry of Culture offers the option at 44 selected schools of an alternative nine-year program, leading up to the university admission qualification exam (Abitur) at general high schools. For the locations of these model schools and for further information, see section “Modellversuch G8/G9” (in German) on the Ministry of Culture's website.

The following types of general high schools exist:

  • High schools specializing in languages
  • High schools specializing in the humanities
  • High schools specializing in the natural sciences
  • High schools specializing in the fine arts
  • High schools specializing in music
  • High schools specializing in sports
  • “Add-on” high school (from 7th grade or from the introductory year of the upper high school level)

On completing 10th grade or 11th grade in the G9 model schools (end of secondary level I), students are credited with the high school diploma (technical college admission qualification).
If they pass the university admission qualification examination (Abitur), students are entitled to be admitted to university.If students drop out of high school after one year in the course system or do not pass the Abitur, the high school can subsequently issue an admission qualification for universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulreife) on request, if the pre-exam sections of the requirements were completed and the student can verify an at least two-year vocational training program or a one-year internship (including a voluntary social or ecological year or corresponding work as part of the German voluntary service). The Fachhochschulreife entitles students to study for degrees at universities of applied science in all federal states except Bavaria and Saxony.

Private Schools

A vast majority of schools in Germany are state-run. In addition to these schools, you can also choose from private and international schools, which charge fees.

The German Constitution guarantees the right to establish private schools. Private schools can be run by private individuals or legal entities of private or public law (e.g. foundations, associations, churches, companies).

There are private schools of general education and vocational private schools (e.g. vocational schools, vocational colleges, vocational high schools).

Private schools which have an equivalent in the public school system are called supplementary schools (Ersatzschulen); they also include the Waldorf schools.

Attending private schools (supplementary schools) fulfils your child's obligation to attend school. At supplementary schools, you as parents can assume that the didactic objectives, facilities and academic education of the teaching staff are no worse than at public schools. Non-state-recognized supplementary schools, known as approved supplementary schools, are not authorized to award state qualifications themselves; examinations are held externally (external examinations). Therefore, you should inquire whether your chosen supplementary school is state-recognized, and thus authorized to hold examinations and award certificates.

European School Karlsruhe (ESK)

Albert-Schweitzer-Straße 1
76139 Karlsruhe
Tel.  +49 (0) 721 6 80 09 0
Fax.  +49 (0) 721 6 80 09 50

Go to website

Now that you and your family have arrived in the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion, are you looking to take advantage of the wide range of opportunities our region offers in terms of recreation? In this section, we'll show you some of the ways you and your loved ones can have fun together in your free time.

Germany is a country full of playgrounds! Virtually every residential area has one, with the local municipality handling the necessary upkeep in most cases. Playgrounds are a great way to have fun and get some exercise, so don't be shy to get out there with your young ones and their buckets and shovels. They can then use the sandboxes, climbing frames, slides, seesaws, and swings to let off some steam. Meanwhile, Germany is also home to many amusement parks that are sure to get your kids excited. Along with the usual outdoor adventure parks, you can choose from a variety of nature parks, zoos (such as the one in Karlsruhe), and aquariums featuring every imaginable creature of the sea. In addition, numerous farm parks across the country can give your children a taste of living among cows, pigs, and fields of grain. But what if the weather looks set to ruin your outdoor plans? A trip to a museum can save the day, particularly with the movies and activities modern institutions now offer for kids.



If you're interested in meeting like-minded adults, parent cafes are an excellent way to do so. They are designed to serve as meeting places for parents and their families.

Parent cafes enable parents to:

  • Meet new people
  • Share information
  • Find answers to their questions
  • Enjoy a coffee
  • Find play mates for their children
  • Attend a STÄRKE course for parents
  • ...and much more.

Bringing Your Family to Germany

The Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion is a family-friendly place to live -- it's a big part of our high standard of living, after all! In particular, the ability to balance one's career, family, and health is gaining more and more importance in the eyes of many workers. This is why our region is thoroughly committed to helping its citizens do exactly that. We can offer your children outstanding schools and care services, along with countless child-friendly recreational opportunities and intriguing career perspectives for parents like you. As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to bring the rest of your family to the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion. This section explains how this process works for citizens of the EU and of other countries.

Legal requirements for bringing your family to Germany

The children and spouses of foreign citizens living in Germany can obtain residence permits based on their familial relationships. With these permits, they can:

  • Join their family members in Germany
  • Acquire an occupation on the same scale as the family member already living in Germany

The same applies to the following same-sex civil unions:

  • "Registered civil unions" within the meaning of the related German legislation (Lebenspartnerschaftsgesetz)
  • Civil unions that are recognized by the laws of other countries and correspond in essence to Germany's registered civil unions 

These residence permits are temporary, but you can apply to have them extended. The duration of your permit will be based on that of the family member already living here.

To obtain a residence permit, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  • You meet the applicable passport and visa obligations. 
  • You can support yourself without having to rely on public welfare services.
  • There is no outstanding reason for which you could be deported.
  • Your stay presents no hindrance or danger to the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • The member of your family who is already living in Germany has:
    - a settlement permit,
    - an EC permanent residency permit, or
    - residence permit
    - sufficient living space available
  • Spouses must also:
    - be at least 18 years old (both spouses)
    - have a basic understanding of German
  • Children between 16 and 18 years of age must also:
    - enter Germany along with their parents as a family unit
    - have a solid command of German or attributes that may aid their integration (growing up in a German-speaking home or attending a German-language school, for example), or;
    - be facing especially difficult circumstances

You may also need to meet additional requirements, which you can find out about by contacting the authorities responsible.

An overview of all of the necessary documents and the costs involved in the process is available here.

German language skills

Getting your feet on the ground in a new country is always easier when you speak the local language. For this reason, people who want to join their spouses in Germany first need to provide proof of their basic understanding of German. This represents part of the country's effort to ensure that these individuals will be able to adjust to German society and be active members of it. The language requirement does apply if the spouse in Germany is a citizen of an EU member-state, Switzerland, or one of the EEA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Norway). The requirement is also waived in cases in which an individual is seeking to join his or her German spouse in Germany and said spouse has already made use of his or her right to move freely within the EU, or if an attempt to acquire basic German skills is impossible, unreasonable, or unsuccessful over the course of one year with respect to the spouse abroad.

Having a basic understanding of German means that you can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very simple sentences -- to ask for directions, introduce yourself and others, and answer questions about yourself, for instance. This corresponds to level A1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).

There are a number of exceptions, however.

Your spouse does not need any German skills to obtain a residence permit if:

  • You have an EU Blue Card.
  • You work in Germany as a researcher or a highly-qualified employee.
  • Your spouse has a university degree.
  • You are a citizen of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, or the United States of America.

Still, your family will probably feel the most at home in Germany if you all speak some German. If you apply for a visa in order to join your spouse in Germany (as described above), you can submit proof of the required German skills during your appointment at the embassy or consulate-general. Generally speaking, your application documents will need to include a certificate of your successful participation in one of the following language exams: "Start Deutsch 1" from the Goethe-Institut or telc GmbH, "Grundstufe Deutsch 1" from ÖSD, or "TestDaF" from TestDaF-Institut e.V.

For more information on how you can provide proof of your basic understanding of German, please visit the websites of the visa sections of Germany's embassies and consulates-general. These sections can guide you through the visa application process and will determine the validity of your language certification.


You can also bring your children to Germany, of course! If you and your spouse have residence permits in Germany or you have sole custody of your children, they will also receive residence permits (provided they are 16 years old or younger). Children over 16 are subject to special regulations, which you can ask about at your home country's German embassy or a foreign citizens' office in Germany.

At a glance


Step 1 -- In your home country:

Your spouse and children apply for a German residence permit based on your relationship to them at the German embassy or consulate in your home country.

Step 2 -- In Germany:

After your family arrives in Germany, you register them at the registry office and the foreign citizens' office responsible for your place of residence.  

The necessary documentation includes passports, birth and marriage certificates, statements on your earnings or taxes, and proof that you are renting or have purchased a home. Your particular family situation may involve varying requirements, so please ask the foreign citizens' office whether you will need to submit further documents.

Please note:

Depending on the current circumstances, your case may take some time to process. We thus recommend familiarizing yourself with the necessary documents in good time and submitting your application as soon as you can. 

The website of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees can provide plenty of additional information and tips on bringing your family to Germany.