For infants from three months to three years old, there are three different types of childcare facilities in South Tyrol: the asilo nido (Kinderhorte), the microstruttura (Kindertagesstätten), and Tagesmütter services.
The asilo nido or Kinderhorte system comprises childcare and educational facilities run by the province and is based on an educational concept that favours children spending longer, more regular periods of time together. They are open all year round, Monday to Friday, with the exception of national holidays and a summer break. The children are divided into groups (no more than 15 per group) according to age. The children may arrive between 7:30 and 9:00 and stay at the nursery until 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. (sometimes as late as 6:00 p.m., depending on the centre). Parents must be residents of the municipality in which the nursery is located in order for their children to attend. Admission is based on need, utilising a point system; if there are additional places available, children living outside the municipality may be admitted. The costs differ from facility to facility but average around € 300 to € 350 per month.
The microstruttura or Kindertagesstätten system is a little different: the individual municipalities commission cooperatives or associations to run these facilities, which try to offer parents the greatest degree of flexibility possible. Here, there is at least one caregiver for every 5 children. The cost, which is determined on the basis of the economic situation of each family, can be paid even on an hourly or half-day basis; there is a maximum allowable per-hour fee. There are 37 of these facilities in the province, run by the following organisations: Casa Bimbo-Tagesmutter, Coccinella, the Tagesmütter/-väter social cooperative, the Kinderfreunde Südtirol social cooperative, the Babycoop and the Popele social cooperative.
The Tagesmutter (meaning “day mother” or Tagesvater meaning “day father”) system is publicly subsidised and is run by social cooperatives: the cooperative, in effect, acts as a mediator between the caregivers and the families. The caregiver provides childminding services, inside his or her private home, for a maximum of six children (if the caregiver has children under the age of 10 at home, they have to be included). There are certain prerequisites regarding the size of the home and sanitary conditions. This type of service exists throughout South Tyrol, and is well adapted to the individual needs and habits of the child—and the family’s schedule The province provides financial support for children from three months to three years old, according to the economic situation of the family. There are four organisations that offer this type of service: Casa Bimbo-Tagesmutter, Coccinella social cooperative, the Mit Bäuerinnen lernen-wachsen-leben social cooperative and the Tagesmütter/-väter social cooperative.
There are also day-care facilities for children of pre-school and primary school age.
For more information (German-language) about nurseries and childcare in South Tyrol, please visit: www.familientipps.info.

ELKI Parent/Child Centres: In South Tyrol, the acronym ELKI stands for an open meeting place for young families. A total of 13 parent/child centres offer playgroups for young children and they also run a wide variety of training courses. In addition, parents and children can spend time together at ELKI and make new acquaintances — of both the large and the small variety! For further information, please visit www.elki.org.