Child care services in Switzerland
Child care centres are managed and funded by communes within each canton. Children are admitted to facilities in their local community. Fees for public centres are charged on a sliding scale according to income. Private child care centres have fixed fees and are generally more expensive. However, waiting lists for public centres are frequently longer. It is advisable to apply for child care as soon as you know where you will be living.
Crèches (day care centres) are generally open Monday to Friday, 07:00-18:30. The age of admittance is from about three months to four years. They usually follow a pre-school curriculum. Some crèches also offer lunch and after school care for older children, up to about age 11.
Child care in Basel
Here are a few places to begin looking for different types of child care in Basel:
- Globegarden has three nurseries in Basel that are often close to big employers or hubs like railroad stations or business centers so parents have short bringing and pick-up distances.
- The Red Cross (Croix Rouge, Rotes Kreuz) (DE/FR) offers qualified babysitting services, bookable in advance. This service is for occasional child care support.
- Tages Familien (DE) is a network of families in Basel offering childcare in their homes.
- Basel Stadt (DE) provides information on childcare options in the canton. You will need to apply individually to each provider. Preference will be given to those living close by and to families where both parents work.
- ELA Basel provides early education and care for children between the ages of three months and four years. It also has a primary school up to 12 years.
- Profawo operates eight day care centres in the Basel area.
- Bilingual Kids Academy provides care and activities for children between three months and 12 years old.
- Kids Camp International offers private, bilingual educational programs for children three months to six years old. They also have a primary school up to grade six.
Starting primary school in Basel
From the age of four it is compulsory for children to attend kindergarten in Switzerland. Primary school is compulsory at age six. Children attend the school in their neighbourhood. Curriculum in schools includes languages, science, mathematics, art, music and sport.
Public schools in Switzerland often close for the lunch period and children go home to eat. Check with your school to see if they offer lunch for the students. Parents from the school often share care responsibilities so it is always a good idea to speak with other parents at your school.
Each public school district has its own website with contact and application information. It is advisable to contact the local school as soon as you have a permanent address. Attending public school can help children learn the local language and make new friends. Integration classes are available for non-German speaking children and will be organised at a central schoolhouse in Zug, Baar or Cham until your child has sufficient German skills to attend their local school. In outlying villages, integration classes generally take place in the village school itself.
Instruction in English is available at private and international schools. International schools in Switzerland have their own programmes and do not require German knowledge. These are private fee paying schools and must be applied to individually.
Find listings of all international schools in Switzerland in the Hello Switzerland Directory. Below are direct links to some of the major international schools in the Basel region.
- Swiss International School - a top bilingual school for kids from kindergarten through to college
- International School Basel
- Academia Basel
- International School Rheinfelden
Learn more about public and international school options in the following articles: