What about your family?
What about your family?
Moving to a new country can be difficult for anyone, let alone children, but Vienna can be an exception. Here are some great reasons why bringing kids to Vienna can be a huge positive.
Vienna has been ranked 3rd safest city in the world, so you don’t have to worry about crime. You can rest assured, even as they get to the age where they start to explore by themselves, that this is one of the safest places they could be.
Vienna is famed for its green spaces, including an abundance of parks and playgrounds for children to enjoy. They’re sure to soon catch the Austrian bug of wanting to be outside all the time!
There is a strong international community here, so kids and adults alike never have to feel alone. It’s easy to connect with other expats and swap stories or give advice on living in Vienna.
There are numerous educational options – with bilingual and international schools and universities as well as pure Austrian schools. Whether you want your children to have the full Austrian experience, or learn in their mother tongue, there are plenty of options here for you. Why don’t you check out the other tabs above for more information on the childcare and schooling options available?
Vienna also has hundreds of activities that are suitable for children. Check out our article here on how to keep them entertained with a huge variety of things to do here in the city!
0-3 Years of Age
One of the childcare options specific for this age group is finding a Childminder (German: Tagesmutter). For those of you who are not familiar with this term, here is a brief explanation: a childminder is an individual who offers childcare in his or her home. Given that this service can only be provided for a small group of kids at once, the childminder is able to devote enough time to each child. At the same time, unlike in the case of hiring a babysitter, the children are able to spend time with their peers, which teaches them to adjust and how to deal with others.
In Austria, all childminders must have a permit from the Vienna Youth and Family Offices (MAG ELF) so you can be sure that you are leaving your child in the hands of a trustworthy and licensed person.
Here is a list of websites to help you start off the search for your ideal childminder:
Another option is choosing a nursery (German: Krabbelstube/Krippe) for your little one. Vienna has both private and state-run nurseries, but we must warn you: it is relatively difficult to get a spot in either of the two. If you wish to send your child to a nursery starting at a young age, it is advised to begin the application process even before the end of the pregnancy. For state-run nurseries, applications should be sent in November in order to secure a spot for the following September. Private nurseries are slightly easier to get into although the demand is still relatively high.
Application for state run nurseries has to be filed at the MA10 which is responsible for kindergartens in Vienna.
Link for finding state run nurseries: Here
Link for finding private nurseries: Here
Alternative options: Babysitters, Au Pair etc.
3-6 Years of Age
For this age group the most common choice is kindergarten. There are state kindergartens which are run in German but also private ones which offer a language choice (German, bilingual, English).
State institutions usually consist of classes with a capacity of approximately 24 children which are cared for by a teacher and an assistant. Kindergartens are a great solution for parents who have long working hours as their children can be taken care of for up to 51 weeks per year, normally from 07:00-18:00. State run kindergartens have another advantage: low costs. Given that the majority of kindergartens in Vienna are subsidized by the city, parents usually have to cover only food costs (approx. €60/month). Unfortunately, the story regarding application and the difficulty of finding a spot for your child is similar to the one described in the previous section (nursery).
Parents have to register their children at the MA10 and can expect an answer regarding the allocation, sometime between March and May. If your child didn’t manage to get a spot in a public kindergarten, the MA10 will inform you about your options on the private market.
Here are a few websites to visit if you are searching for a bilingual or English speaking kindergarten.
Austrian Education System
In Austria, the compulsory age for starting school is six and has a mandatory nine year duration. Austria’s education system might differ from the one in your home country so hopefully the following text will make it clear for you how everything works.
PRIMARY SCHOOL (Volksschule)
The primary education level lasts for four years.
Make sure that your child is registered at the municipal authority of your district (German: Bezirk) as all families with children reaching the mandatory school starting age, receive an information letter followed by an invitation for a school meeting. These letters can be expected during December, while the school application period generally starts at the beginning of January.
Schools organize open house days (German: Schnuppertage), during which parents get an opportunity to meet the staff and have their questions answered. As the dates for these events vary across schools, it is best to contact the school of interest and receive firsthand information.
It depends but normally, a school day can last from 08:00 to 14:00. The majority of kids in Vienna go to after-school programs (German: Hort) which offer food, care and homework assistance for your children until as late as 18:00.
This level is further divided into two phases: lower and upper secondary school.
The lower level which lasts for four years offers three options: General Secondary School (Hauptschule), New Secondary School (Neue Mittelschule) or Academic Secondary School Lower Level (AHS Unterstufe). The AHS Unterstufe further gives you a choice between high schools (German: Gymnasium) with different focus; general, science-based or economic.
The upper level can last from one to five years depending on the type of education you choose for your child. This level offers a choice between different types of Gymnasium but also vocational education institutions which prepare your child for a specific career (more practical work). Austrian tertiary education institutions require a graduation diploma (German: Matura) which can only be attained by finishing a Gymnasium or an upper level 5 year vocational school. Those who are more interested in employment after secondary school, may find one of the following alternatives more appealing: polytechnic schools, vocational schools for apprentices (duration:up to 4 years) or secondary technical and vocational schools (duration:up to 4 years).
Vienna Bilingual Schooling
Given the high interest of parents to have their children grow up bilingual, the VBS system has been established. They provide primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education. Students attend classes in both English and German which prepares them well for an international environment which is common at Austrian universities.
For more information, visit their website.
Private International Schools
If you desire a smooth transition to Vienna, for both you and your child then choosing a private international school might be the ideal decision. All classes are held in English and the majority of kids and parents are foreigners/expats just like you. This will allow you to easily and quickly adjust to the new environment. One possible problem can be the fact that such schools are generally quite expensive. While in the contract negotiation phase with your future employer, it might be wise to ask for an allowance for school fees.
List of international schools in Vienna:
- Amadeus International School Vienna
- Vienna International School
- American International School
- Danube International School
- International Christian School of Vienna
- Lycée Français
- Mayflower Christian Academy
- Vienna Elementary School
Your children don’t have to be bored in Vienna!
There are hundreds of things for kids to do in Vienna. Here are a few ideas to get you started!Seilerstätte 30, 1010 ViennaPrater Theme Park / WurstelpraterSituated in a large public park in Vienna’s second district, this amusement park is nothing but fun, with plenty of rides, food stands and shops. The rides are sure to attract people of all ages, with rollercoasters, free-fall towers and even a ghost train. By the main entrance there is also a wax museum, so you certainly won’t be short of things to do. This park is particularly good in summer, but if you want to go at another time of year, check their website beforehand to find out what’s open.Prater 9, Vienna 1020Bogi ParkThe largest indoor playground in Vienna, equipped with a climbing net, go karts and trampolines, not to mention free Wi-Fi for the adults! Every Monday they also have ‘baby day’, for any parents of infants who are worried about the presence of older children. It’s even free for children under 3.
Children’s museum (Kaiser Kindy) Set in the heart of the beautiful Schönbrunn Palace, this children’s museum allows kids to find out all about imperial Vienna in an accessible and interactive way. Children can dress up as princes and queens, sit on thrones or play with toys from imperial times. They can even decorate baroque wigs or set the table for an imperial banquet.
Vienna Zoo (Tiergarten Schönbrunn)Vienna’s zoo is the oldest in the world. Today its main focus lies on conservation, and it is one of the few zoos in the world to house pandas. Other features include a rainforest house, an aquarium and a “polarium” for all the Arctic animals. Children are rarely disappointed!
- Maxingstraße 13b, 1130 Vienna
- Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47, 1130 Vienna
- Gutheil-Schoder-Gasse 17, 1230 Vienna
- Built in 1897, this giant wheel is one of Vienna’s most iconic landmarks and offers incredible views. A ride on this fascinating structure is a must-do for any visitor, children and adults alike. In addition to a ride ticket, visitors can see an exhibition all about the landmark, to make the trip educational as well as fun.
- Giant Ferris Wheel / Wiener Riesenrad
- Prater 9, Vienna 1020
- This completely interactive sound museum has everything you need for families – interesting things for the adults, and fun for the kids. The museum opens onto a piano staircase, which plays notes as you walk up it, and every floor has videos, interactive games and puzzles. The fourth floor is even decked with a virtual stage, in which individuals can create their own musical performance just through movement. If that’s not enough, how about the chance to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic? Kids will love the chance to wave their arms about and watch the professional musicians respond to their every move.
- Haus der Musik
Useful links for family groups in Vienna
- Vienna Baby Club – http://www.viennababiesclub.com
- Bfamily (mother + child courses) – http://www.bfamily.at/en
- Service4kids (qualified short-time childcare) – http://www.service4kids.at/en/index.php
- Musical Munchkins (music education for children) – http://www.musicalmunchkins.at/
- Emma´s Art Room (art education for children) – http://emmasartroom.at
- Gymboree Play & Music Vienna – http://www.gymboreedach.com/de/?location=741
- SUSA Soccer academy – http://www.susasoccer.at
- Language classes for children – http://www.citykids.at/en/page/language-classes.html
- Music and art classes for children – http://www.astrakidsacademy.at/en
- Drama school for children – http://www.showtime.co.at/index_en.html
- Flag football & cheerleading for children – http://www.motionkids.at
Online family forums