Finding a Kita in Berlin is a marathon, not a sprint. 🥵 Once you’ve applied for your personal list of Kitas, one of the most important parts is yet to come!
After submitting your application and hopefully being put on a waitlist, follow up with your favorite Kitas regularly. That way, you can let them know that you are still interested in the spot, find out when and how they allocate their spots and learn if they are hosting any upcoming information sessions.
Check your list and prioritize – perhaps you are no longer interested in some of the Kitas you originally applied for, so focus on those that are truly relevant for you.
If you are looking for a spot in the summer, most Kitas want you to follow up early in the year (January/February) for spots. If you want your child to start in winter, things are more tricky, so check our article to learn how to find a Kita spot in winter.
One head of Kita recently told me that when a spot opens up, she first looks for families with a kid of the “right” age and gender (see our article on how Berlin Kitas fill their spots) and then picks the families that have been in touch regularly because she knows they are still interested in the spot.
Other Kitas will tell you to call once every couple of months or else they will remove you from their waitlist 😱 Ask each Kita how they would like you to proceed and keep notes of your followups. You may just get lucky and call on a day that another family just notified the Kita that they are moving away, and you will be able to take over their spot.
Finally, you should also pay attention to Kitas that clearly state on their website that they do not want you to follow-up with them and respect this.
Here is some sample wording for your follow-ups:
"Gerne kommen wir hiermit auf unsere Bewerbung für unseren Sohn/unsere Tochter [name of child] ([date of birth]) vom [date of when you first contacted them] zurück. Wir haben nach wie vor großes Interesse an einem Platz in Ihrer Kita ab [month year you want to start].
Insbesondere gefällt uns an Ihrer Kita, dass [reason why you like it]. OR
Wir haben soeben unseren Kita-Gutschein für [number of hours] bewilligt bekommen. OR
Wir haben den Kita-Gutschein für [number of hours] bereits beantragt und er ist nun beim Jugendamt in Bearbeitung. Sobald er bewilligt ist melden wir uns gerne wieder bei Ihnen. OR
Gerne würden wir in Erfahrung bringen, wann Sie Ihre Plätze für [month year you want to start] vergeben werden?
Familie [family name]"
So, go get them! We’re keeping our fingers crossed for you 🤞