So, we borrowed this German word and changed its meaning. Here in Germany, kindergarten is where you send children before they begin school- a day care center. Since my friend Maren is pregnant and since I will go anywhere with anyone to get some social time, I toured some kindergartens last week. I find the pint-sized world quite enchanting for short periods of time and loved seeing the tiny tables, tiny potties and all the little people spinning around my knees.
Two of the kindergartens we visited were in neighboring towns. And apparently, you have to get a note from your mayor if you want to place your child in a day care outside your own town. I couldn't come up with the words to ask about it at the time, but I'm wondering if it has something to do with tax money that towns get for child care facilities. I think there must be some subsidies because the rates sounded pretty cheap compared to what I've heard about day care in the U.S.
Maren wants to go back to work after her baby is born in June but unfortunately most day care centers do not take infants, only from age one and up. The alternative is to find a Tagesmutter- literally, day mother, or in-home day care. In a frightening show of friendship and trust, Maren suggested that I watch her baby! Yikes! I like babies, but all day, every day? That sounds like too much- that sounds almost like motherhood! I hope Maren comes up with a better idea soon.