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Kindergarten is part of compulsory education in Basel. In the new Harmos system, Kindergarten counts as school and therefore the entry into Kindergarten is considered as the beginning of school (‘Einschulung’). Kindergarten lasts two years. The Kindergarten your child attends will be close to your home, with a maximum of 20 children per class. The classes have two age groups and your child will stay in the same class for two years.
When will my child start Kindergarten?
During the transition period, until 2016, the cut off date will shift every year. If your child was born between:
June 16th, 2009 and June 30th 2010: he/she will start school in August 2014
July 1st, 2010 and July 15th, 2011: he/she will start school in August 2015
July 16th, 2011 and July 31st, 2012: he/she will start school in August 2016
During the transition period, requests for an early or delayed school start from parents of children born up to 15 days before or after the cut off date, will be dealt with flexibly.
From 2016, if you are four years old by July 31st, you will start school the following August.
You cannot choose which kindergarten your child attends. He/she will attend a kindergarten close to your home. You may say you have a preference, or ask for your child to be with a close friend, but these requests cannot always be fulfilled. If your child attends after-school care, you can ask for him/her to attend the kindergarten closest to the childcare. If you need lunches and day care, do make sure you discuss this early with the school administration as not all schools offer the service.
Kindergarten is every morning from 8:00 until 12:00 Monday to Friday, with one afternoon a week from 14:00 to 16:00, usually Monday or Tuesday.
How to register?
A form will be sent to you automatically by the administration. You can also contact the administration at the following address: Volksschulen Basel-Stadt, Kohlenberg 27, 4001 Basel
(this is just the example of one kindergarten, each is a little different)
8:00-8:30: arrive, take off coat and shoes, put on slippers. Shake hands with the teacher to say hello and engage in free play.
8:30 circle time with songs, a story, discussions about the current theme
9:00 project time – children work on an activity
9:45 break, play outside
10:15 free play in a variety of centers, such as a housekeeping, block or puzzle corner.
11:45 clear up, get ready to leave with a last song, shake hands with the teacher to say good-bye
Some special Kindergarten events: lantern parade for St Martin, Herbstmesse in kindergarten, visit by or to Sami Klaus in the forest on December 6th, Fasnacht (carnival) parade, gardening, weekly outings in the forest, school play, etc.
What about German?
Your child will attend the local kindergarten. At specific times during the week there will be two teachers in the kindergarten so that one can focus specifically on the needs of non native speakers and support their language development.
Lunch and After School
All families needing after school programs should find a suitable solution in Basel. The number of schools and private institutions offering such programs is increasing rapidly, so do check the Basel education website, or go and discuss your needs with the school or education department.
There are two types of after school programs: programs within the school (rare for Kindergartens) and private institutions that have a contract with the education department of Basel. The after-school program is divided into 4 modules: early morning (7:00 to 8:00, including a healthy breakfast), lunch (12:00 to 14:00) and two afternoon modules (14:00 to 16:00 and 16:00 to 18:00).
Attendance is flexible, but children must be signed up for a minimum of four modules. The cost depends on parents’ income. They can be found under: http://www.ed-bs.ch/bildung/volksschulen/tagesstrukturen/#die-im-kanton-basel-stadt, in the right column ‘Kosten von Tagesstrukturen’
There are special programs offered during the holidays.
Learning Objectives and Methods
In Kindergarten children learn through play, exploration and experience. The boys and girls are supported in their individual development. They learn to be independent, to develop their cognitive and verbal skills, and to increase their ability to concentrate. The children manipulate objects such as toys, tools and instruments as well as develop their speech. As well, they gain experience functioning within a large group and improving their social skills as part of a community. In a secure atmosphere the children develop self-confidence.
The teaching plans are all available on the following website (in German).
There is support for children with learning difficulties, ranging from in-school language support for children not yet fluent in German to assistance for language acquisition difficulties, behavioural problems (school psychologist), dyslexia, etc. There is even a kindergarten specialised in language difficulties.
Once again, it is important to contact the school and specialists to see what is available and find the best option for your child.