Companies in the Familienbündnis
Paternity leave places
‘Family friendly’ is a prime focus in Jena. Among other things, that ensures Jena’s position as the place with the highest birthrate in Thuringia. To help reconcile the demands of family and job, there are, for example, more than 60 kindergartens, over 30 schools with different educational philosophies, and an extensive network of children’s day care centres, as well as many other facilities offered by Jena companies themselves to bring about that magic work-life balance. These include for example, working from home, flexible work hours, subsidised childcare costs, workplace nurseries, welcome-baby payments, parent-child workplaces, and many other initiatives. A wide choice of offerings to benefit the parents of the 15,600 children under 16 in Jena.
More than 70 companies are involved in the Jena Jenaer Bündnis für Familie (families federation), and more fathers in Jena take their parental leave than anywhere else in Germany. In Jena, 96% of children under 3 are in full-time childcare (i.e. > 7 hours) (German average: approx. 33.6% as of 01/03/2018).
Kindergartens and childcare
In Jena there is an extensive network of state and private nurseries, kindergartens and childcare providers who look after children until they go to school. They cater for children from the age of one, depending on the service provider, although some also accept younger children.
There are currently 66 childcare centres in the local area. Ten of these are operated by the local authority: the rest are privately run.
Children between the ages of one and three can also be looked after by childminders. Each childminder is allowed to look after a maximum of five children at a time.
The costs of childcare in Jena depend on the parents’ income. Currently, the maximum paid per child is €225 per month; €173 (per child) per month for two children; and for three children, €121 per month (per child). There are no childcare fees from the fourth child. The ‘Essengeld’ needs to be paid in addition for food provided: this can be around €60 – €90 per child per month, depending on the kindergarten and its ethos.
Primary school childcare
Primary schools in Jena will either provide full-day schooling, or if not they provide childcare for the children in the afternoon, up to fourth grade.
The cost of the childcare in state schools depends on several factors: the parents’ income, the number of children in the household for whom child benefit is paid, the number of children using the childcare facility, and the number of hours childcare required per week.
The cost of afternoon childcare in private or non-state schools is fixed by the schools themselves.
Schools in Jena
The range of schools available in Jena is both wide and attractive. They include schools that follow particular educational philosophies, e.g. Waldorf, JenaPlan and Montessori, as well as specialised secondary schools that focus more on bilingual lessons, science subjects, or sport. Here pupils have space to develop individually.
The local area has:
- 11 primary schools (Grades 1 – 4)
- 13 non-denominational and comprehensive schools (Grades 1 – 10/ 12/ 13 or 5 – 10/ 12/ 13)
- 6 secondary schools (Grades 5 – 12)
- 2 support centres
- 3 vocational training colleges.
In Thuringia, primary school runs from Grade 1 – 4; after that pupils go to different secondary schools. Throughout Jena’s schools, care is provided for the children during the midday break.
In addition to state and local authority schools, there are seven independently-operated schools. These charge school fees, because they receive a lower level of support from the Thuringia authorities than state schools.
There is a free choice of schools in Jena. This means that you are not obliged to register your child at the school nearest to where you live. Schools make their own decisions regarding admissions. If you want to send your child to a school in another district, you can apply for a grant from the city council towards the cost of the child’s transport. This is discretionary and is paid for children in Grades 1-4 for a school journey of over 2 km, and for children in Grade 5 and upwards for a school journey of over 3 km. The amount of the grant depends on the number of children in the household.