Daycare services, Preschools & Schools

Daycare services, Preschools & Schools

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Having a child is a life changing experience for everybody. But at some point you might be thinking of reinstating things from your old life, like going back to work or just having some all important time for yourself. Without families close by, most of us are reliant on finding suitable child care. Fortunately, in Vienna there are plenty of options available and you should be able to find something to suit your needs and your budget.

There are two types of childcare specific to the 0-3 age range, namely Tagesmutter (Childminder) and Krabbelstube/Krippe (Nursery). Leih-Oma (rent-a-granny), Babysitter and Au Pair cover a wide range of ages, however they are included in this section as they may well provide the ideal solution to your personal childcare needs for young babies and toddlers. 

There are two forms of kindergarten in Vienna: public and private. Public kindergartens are run by the City of Vienna whereas private kindergartens are run by companies (note that a company could mean a family owned business). The City of Vienna subsidizes all kindergartens, public or private. For further information please click here.

Schools in Vienna

In Austria, compulsory education lasts for nine years from 6 to 15 years of age and is taught in German. Anybody can register their child for any school in the public school system (as well as the private ones, although these can be quite expensive).

The school system is divided into primary schools (Volkschule - grades 1-4), middle school (Neue Mittelschule, NMS - grades 5-8) and secondary school (grades 9-12). Specialist/technical schools have a 5-year secondary school.

In Austria, children are required to be age 6 by the 1st of September in the year they enter school. Children are normally held back a year in kindergarten if they were born between September and December and placed in a “Vorschule” (pre-school) before starting primary school. However, a child born between September and December can be accepted if the director of the school considers that the child is ready to attend school (“schulreif“), despite their young age, and there is a place available. As for a lot of things in Vienna, it’s worth asking.

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Parents in Hungary choose to either send their children to public (state-run) or private (fee-based) daycares and schools. Bölcsőde (nursery) for children up to the age of 3 is followed by Óvoda (kindergarten/preschool) until the age of 6-7, then by Általános iskola (primary school) until the age of 14 and Középiskola (secondary school) until the age of 18/19. Compulsory education begins at the age of 3 and lasts up to the age of 16. For more information on the entire education system and the general operation of institutions, please consult this Parent’s Guide.

Enrollment to public daycares/kindergartens

Daycare (bölcsőde) registration typically occurs in mid-April to mid-May, but some daycares have rolling registration and others require more advanced registration.

Children who turn three between January 1 and August 31 are required to start kindergarten (óvoda) that year in the fall. Children who turn three between September 1 and December 31 can start kindergarten that fall if space is available. The kindergarten registration period is in April and May for next year's school year.

There are exceptions to this procedure and late applications are accepted but it depends on whether there are available spaces at the daycare/kindergarten. One must visit the daycare center/kindergarten in person and submit the following documents:

  1. registration certificate & address card (EU students) / residence permit & accommodation report slip (non-EU students) for both the parent and the child - more information can be found at:
  2. certificate of enrollment: verifying the legal title for residency in Hungary
  3. child's birth certificate (along with a certified Hungarian translation)
  4. child's social security (TAJ) card (or a certificate proving that the child will receive health care services and is insured in Hungary)
  5. child's certificate of inoculation

Important: Parents are required to find a daycare/kindergarten based on the location of their address (district). If they chose another district, they must prove that they work / study (certificate of enrollment) there.

Enrollment to schools

The registration period for public primary schools in Hungary is April 1 to April 30. Parents can choose to register their child in a school in their home district or elsewhere, however if the out-of-home-district school cannot accommodate the child, then the parents have five days to enroll their child in a local district school. When selecting a school, parents often attend "open days" to meet teachers, observe lessons, and ask questions.

To register your child at a private primary school, we recommend contacting the school directly as soon as possible.

Lessons at most public schools are conducted in Hungarian, so most non-Hungarians enroll their children to private schools. For this reason, this detailed list of childcare facilities as well as foreign-language schools in Budapest and around CEU prepared by the Human Resources Office focuses on private school options.