Pre-Primary Education in Germany

Based on a study, run by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Germany ranked only average in the pre-primary education sector. This study researched kindergartens and day-care centers in 25 industrialized countries.

When the results of this study were announced in Berlin in December 2008,  UNICEF particularly found fault with Germany’s children poverty (16%) was too high.  It was also pointed out that Germany’s prerequisite to become a kindergarten teacher, was set too low. (To become an early-years educator in Germany, the only prerequisite is a 10th grade education. The length of vocational training varies from state to state. Some states only demand a three-year vocational training including a year of hands-on experience in a kindergarten.)

Critics call German kindergartens, run by non-academic educators, cheap day-care centers as not that much is being taught. In the last year of some kindergartens, one morning a week gets scheduled for Vorschule, where the children are supposed to get an idea what school will be like. On the other hand, I have often heard of cancellations due to mismanagement. Also kindergarten teachers themselves often were not willing to teach the kids the alphabet as the German elementary school teachers frown upon kids who already know how to write. Some German elementary school teachers claim these kids come with “bad habits from pushy moms”.

Most Germans believe kindergarten children (ranging from three to six years of age) are meant to play only and have a good time. Any kind of early education is supposedly too hard on the child. Once I mentioned my four-year-old son attending the Frankfurt International pre-primary school and I immediately was labeled a Rabenmutter by a German mother at the playground. She thought attending “school” at this age was too early and the kid should have fun. I tried to explain to her that this kind of schooling is fun, but most Germans think of school as a burden, not a privilege. Again, any education that is free of charge (in reference to public schools) or subsidized  (kindergartens) must not have much value…


  1. […] my daughter’s Kindergarten there is a so-called Vorschuljahr, or “pre-school year”. But right from the beginning of that […]

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