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Every child above the age of three has a legal right to a place in kindergarten. This right should be used as children make friends and playmates in the kindergarten (also called "Kita"), and they have the chance to learn German while playing. Parents have to pay some of the costs for a place in kindergarten: the amount due depends on the income of the parents. Most kindergartens are half-day crèches (mornings until noon). Around 30 per cent offer full day-care. Kindergartens are run by the local authorities ("Kommunen"), churches and charitable organisations ("Wohlfahrtsverbände"). There are also kindergartens ("Kitas") run by parents’ associations and by companies for their employees ("Betriebskindergarten"). Parents should look for a suitable kindergarten as soon as possible in order to find one close to the family home. Information can be found at the local town hall. Children under the age of three do not have a legal right to a place in kindergarten. These places can be rare and the chances of getting a place are better the earlier a place is applied for. There are also a number of pre-school programmes in many towns and cities. Many primary schools offer children the chance to get acquainted with school life one year before real school life begins. This gives the children a chance to improve their German in a fun atmosphere. These half-day programmes are free.

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