Family Service


General Information

All children living in Germany are required to attend school at least between the ages of 6 and 15. You usually decide which school to choose after a visit and an interview with the headteacher. The school must have capacity for your child at the time it is supposed to enter (e.g. in the middle of the school year).

The first four years, beginning at age 6, are spent at elementary school. After that children attend secondary schools (see below).

Most of the schools in Germany are public schools without a school fee.
Nevertheless you will have to pay between 20 and 50 EUR at the beginning of the school year for e.g. school teaching materials, copies and books. In addition there might be extra costs for excursions and class trips.
Only very few private schools (in Kiel for instance there are Waldorfschule, Lernwerft, Gemeinschaftsschule Düsternbrook, Christliche Schule) charge a fee.

Children in Germany do not wear school uniforms and can dress as they like.

From March 1, 2020 onwards all children attending school have to be vaccinated against measles by law. Information about measles

The school year begins after the summer break (the 6-week-break is between July and September) with the first grading period. The second grading period starts February 1 and ends with the summer break. School holidays are two weaks Easter break, six weeks summer break, two weeks autumn break and two weeks Christmas break.


Elementary school 

Children that turn 6 years of age until June 30, have to attend elementary school (Grundschule) after the summer break. Generally you have free choice in selecting an elementary school, except your child does not speak German properly. In this case your child usually has to attend a DAZ-Class (see "Schools for children with no or only very few skills in German language").

Elementary schools are from grade 1 to 4. Subjects are for instance German, Maths, local History, General Studies including traffic education, English, Music, Sports, Religion / Ethics and Art. Lessons only take place in the morning, school ends around noon. Most of the schools provide a warm meal and afternoon daycare or do so with help of a partner organisation. Usually there is a waiting list for afternoon daycare places.

After three and a half years pupils will have a conversation about their school performance together with their parents and their teacher, to find out which type of school they should select after elementary school. The elementary schools will also give information about the registration procedure for the secondary schools.


Secondary schools

Secondary schools offer, in addition to the subjects known from elementary school, most of the following subjects: second and third foreign language (French, Spanish and Latin are common), Biology, Chemistry, Physics, History, Geography, Philosophy or Religion, Computer science, Engineering, Handicraft and others. The websites of the schools usually inform about the subjects they offer.

Most secondary schools offer afternoon daycare where homework can be done under supervision to some degree, especially for grades 5 and 6. In addition there are often opportunities for leisure activities in the afternoon.

There are only two types of secondary schools in Schleswig-Holstein and Kiel: Comprehensive schools and Gymnasiums.

Comprehensive schools (Gemeinschaftsschulen)

Comprehensive schools start with grade 5. The main focus is to prepare pupils for qualified jobs and apprenticeships. In grade 7 pupils are divided  into groups - in some subjects - according to their performance .

In comprehensive schools you can achieve "Erster allgemeinbildender Schulabschluss" (general school leaving certificate) after grade 9 and "Mittlerer Schulabschluss" (intermediate school leaving certificate) after grade 10. Few comprehensive schools in Kiel provide the possibility to achieve "Abitur" after grade 13 (senior school leaving certificate, the entrance qualification for higher education): Toni-Jensen-Gemeinschaftsschule, Gemeinschaftsschule Hassee, Gemeinschaftsschule Friedrichsort.


In Gymnasiums pupils aim for the senior school leaving certificate (Abitur). Usually pupils are recommended for Gymnasium by the elementary schools. Abitur is the entrance qualification for higher education that gives access to University and academic training. Abitur is achieved in 9 years (after grade 13), in the former system it was achieved in 8 years (there are still some classes in the old system).  At Thor-Heyerdahl-Gymnasium you can choose between 8 and 9 years to reach Abitur (it is the only Gymnasium which offers this).

Lessons in Gymnasiums will also take place in the afternoon, at least on one day per week. The weekly hours in different grades (one school hour is usually 45 minutes) range between 30 and 36.

DaZ: Schools for children with no or only very few skills in German language

Children that have no or only very few skills in German language must attend a DaZ center. DaZ means "Deutsch als Zweitsprache" (German as second language). Besides other subjects a DaZ class has a special focus on the subject German and offers intense individual support for each child. After your child has achieved enough German, reading and writing skills it will switch to a regular class. Usually this takes about one year.

After the childs arrival in Kiel and it´s registration at the Kiel City Hall to get the proof of residence (Meldebescheinigung), you have to contact the "Zentrale Anmeldestelle DaZ" (central office for DaZ) to get a place in a DaZ center for your child. The DaZ-Coordinator, will look for a school with a vacant place in a DaZ class for your child.

Address and contact:
Zentrale Anmeldestelle DaZ
Gutenbergstraße 61
24118 Kiel

Phone: 0049-431-260912-81 (General Office)


A visit is only possible by appointment! Call (Mo.-Fr. 09.00 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
phone 0049-431-260 91 283 
or mobile 0049-171-61 300 68
to make an appointment.

Here you find more information: Zentrale Anmeldestelle DaZ (in German)


International schools / Bilingual schools

International schools

There is no "International School" in Kiel. The next international schools are in Hamburg ( or in Louisenlund (

Bilingual schools (German - English)

There are only very few bilingual schools in and around Kiel. Bilingual is understood as teaching single subjects (for example HSU, Geography, History) in English language instead of German language in addition to the regular English classes. All other subjects are held in German. Children profit from these additional lessons by improving their English skills in vocabulary, speaking and listening comprehension and therefore get more secure in discussing topics in English.

Muhliusschule is a primary school (Grades 1 - 4), that teaches the subject HSU (General Studies) in English language instead of German language.
Here you find their page about  bilingual instruction and here you get to the school homepage (both in German)

Directly opposite the main university campus you find Ricarda-Huch-Schule, a secondary school (Gymnasium) from grade five upward. Ricarda-Huch-Schule gives the option to take Geography and History lessons in English language from grade seven to nine. All other subjects, except English, are taught in German though. You find more information on the school homepage or their page about bilingual instruction (both in German)

Gymnasium Altenholz:
Another bilingual school just outside Kiel in Altenholz is Gymnasium Altenholz, that has the same option as Ricarda-Huch-Schule. You find more information on the main school homepage or their page about bilingual instruction (both in german)

Afternoon daycare for school children

Elementary school usually ends around noon. If you have to study or work in the afternoon, you generally need afternoon daycare for your child. Most elementary schools, but also secondary schools, provide a warm meal and afternoon daycare, but it still can be difficult to get a place. Normally there are waiting lists. Also the opening times provided vary and daycare ends between 2 and 5 p.m.. Please ask your school directly about afternoon daycare possibilities.

Our service


If you need further information and help while selecting a school for your child, please contact the Family Service directly (Bettina Bolterauer). We give information about the schools close to Kiel University and how they differ from each other. If we can´t answer your question right away, we will try to find out for you.

We also help to fill out forms and accompany you and your family to school interviews if necessary.