Schools and child care in Germany

Schools and child care in Germany

by: Stripes Europe | .
Stripes Europe | .
published: November 03, 2017

A variety of school and child care options are available to you, but keep in mind that many programs have waitlists, so don’t delay! 


Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) schools typically accept enrollments throughout the year to accommodate military families. Enrollment is based on four categories with different entitlements based on the sponsor’s and dependent’s statuses. See the enrollment resources below for more information. Your categorization will determine placement priority and tuition expenses, if applicable. 


Enrollment requirements:

Documentation: validation of sponsor’s status/DEROS and relation to child (PCS orders or birth certificate), age verification (PCS orders, birth certificate or passport), child’s transcripts and immunization records. 

School Liaison Officer (SLO): invaluable resource during transition; and

Additional resources:

AAFES School Meal Program – Students can pay for meals with cash or prepaid accounts. Learn more at School Bus Service – Check with your SLO or Housing Office for service availability. Transportation services are contracted with German companies, and drivers are not required to speak English. Instead of yellow school buses, stude nts ride European tour coaches or city transit buses. 

SAFETY INFORMATION: Vehicles are not required to stop for buses loading and unloading in Germany — ensure your children know not to cross the street in front of or behind a bus. 


Home schooling is a legal option open to all SOFA-sponsored active-duty military, DOD civilians, and contractors. You children may be eligible for auxiliary services offered by DODEA-Europe. Contact your SLO for more information and to connect with local homeschool groups. 


Contact your SLO for information about local school options. You should also ask around. Talk to American neighbors and co-workers to find out about their experiences and learn more about available options. 


Your installation’s offerings may vary, but many programs are available through force support squadrons or Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) services. Contact your local facilities to enroll. Most services have associated fees and waitlists; prioritization is based on a variety of factors. 

Child Development Center (CDC) – These centers offer weekday child care for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years or pre-school. 

School-Age Programs (SAP), Youth Programs, Teen Programs – Offered for children in kindergarten through high school, these programs focus on a variety of enrichment activities. Some programs have before- and after-school care, as well as activities on holidays and during summer break. 

Family Child Care (FCC) – Providers are certified and regulated by the DOD to care for children in their homes. Caregivers must provide written contracts for parental review. Some offer extended hours. 

For more on available programs, visit and your local Force Support Squadron website. 


Being a parent is never an easy job, especially when placed in a new environment. Many on-base and private resources are available for you, such as AFRC, ACS and spouses’ clubs. Also look for websites and social media resources, such as Spouse Buzz and Circle of Moms to find support and friendship.

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