We don't necessarily visit daycare, play schools, nurseries or kindergartens and definitely don't look at them as thoroughly as the primary and secondary schools (and only publish full GSGI write-ups on them if they are part of a primary or K-12 school), but these are amongst the ones in Basel recommended or mentioned by parents. We list them here just to give you a place to start, to help you make up your own short list.
We always appreciate any feedback from parents (contact us), and we'll remove schools or add them as we hear about them or receive updates, even from this informal list.
What are your options in Basel for the under-five set? Are you looking for full-time childcare while you head to the office or just a morning here and there to give yourself a well-earned break? Well, whatever you are looking for, Basel probably has it, albeit often with waiting lists and huge fees.
Making an appointment to visit in order to get a feel for the place in advance is a must. Also ask for a free trial morning.
All places listed below are accessible by public transport. Insurance for your child is required at all establishments.
Elisabethenanlage 7 4051 Basel
tel: 061 / 534 33 90
From mother and baby classes to pre-school. Situated very close to the SBB main railway station. Highly recommended for fun & letters and numbers learning. Run by bubbly Canadian Anissa Heyse and her brilliant team of enthusiastic and cheerful assistants. Various classes available. Uses Zoophonics system to teach the alphabet.
Mainly English (American and British), some German integrated. Free play on bright colourful soft play apparatus, followed by crafts session then songs and stories. Gymboree also offers a variety of other classes from baby play & learn classes for mothers and babies to ballet and kung fu classes for older children. Relaxed and enjoyable.
Pre-school class for children aged between 2 and 5 available every morning 8.30-12pm with extended day option (until 3pm) on Wednesdays. Drop off from 8am. Packed lunch can be brought along. Minimum one session per week. Free trial sessions available.
ELA Early Years
Gartenstrasse 93, 4052 Basel
tel:+41 61 313 0580
Centrally located not far from the main SBB railway station. Highly recommended by expats, although often mentioned as expensive, ELA is the only one of the international schools in Basel offering daycare for children younger than three. ELA Early Years takes babies, toddlers and pre-school age children from 3 months to 4 years subject to spaces. Run by English Bernadette Allison in a beautiful mansion building in a quiet residential street. With a reputation for nurturing and well-organised environment, children are engaged in arts, crafts, stories, games, music and physical activities plus free play.
All lunches are freshly made on the premises and are a very sociable occasion. Everyone sits down as a group with the teachers and are encouraged to have get involved in self- serving and to have good table manners. Minimum of 2 whole days including lunch. Early drop off and late pick up options available. Ideal for working parents. Primary school is also available from age 4-11.
Hohestrasse 150 4104 Oberwil
tel: +41613010069 email:
Situated in Baselland. Accept children in nursery 3-18 months and pre-school from 18 months to 4 years. English and German spoken. Good option if you are living in one of the large ex-pat communities in Oberwil. Easily accessible by public transport, although a but out of the way if you are living in Basel Stadt. Run by an American and a Swiss, both are professional sports woman and one is also a professional musician, so there is a lot of emphasis on music and sport, with feel of an American style 'holiday camp' about it.
Lots of green spaces around for afternoon walks to forest/farms. Also has a large private playground outside. Minimum subscription of 3 half days per week. Early drop off and late pick ups catered for for an extra fee, breakfast (if required) and hot lunch provided. Often the children are taken off premises for outings in kids camp's own bus. Whilst it is especially well known as a pre-school, Kids Camp in Oberwil does also have a small attached Primary School.
Sägestrasse 7 4104 Oberwil BL Switzerland
tel: +41 79 889 84 14
Traditional playschool for toilet-trained children aged between 3-5 years. This is a small but highly recommended English-speaking playgroup in Oberwil run by very friendly and experienced teacher Grainne, who's originally from Ireland.
Very welcoming and friendly group, housed in a small building close to the tram line in Oberwil village centre. All children speak english but culturally diverse. Engage in many craft activities, games and stories. Healthy snack provided. Minimum one session per week. Playgroup open Tuesdays-Fridays 8.30-12pm. No playground on site but children are taken out to nearby playground. One morning per week minimum.
Gundeldingerstrasse 171 (near Margarethen Park) 4053 Basel
tel: +41 76 248 9281
Another recommended traditional English speaking playgroup for children aged 2 to 4 run by British Sandra Willi, it runs from Monday to Thursday 8.45 am - 12.30 pm. Lots of messy and stimulating play. Daily outdoor activities and also may include walks to nearby parks, farm. One morning per week minimum. Long waiting list. This editor feels you'd be very lucky to get a place here.
Bilingual Kids Academy
Schutzengraben 35, 4051 Basel & Gellertstrasse 37, 4052 Basel. tel:+41612610402
Accommodates children from 3 months to 6 years old. Bilingual environment with English and German used side by side during the day. Daycare available 7am-7pm. Minimum 2 days per week (from 880CHF per month subject to change). Easily reached by public transport within Basel area. Schutzengraben site is a traditional town house with secure garden. The Gellert site is situated in a large park. One to check out if you need long hours of daycare.
Open Door Playgroups
Zwingerstrasse 20, 4053 Basel
tel: +41 61 361 1710
For very young children, there are various playgroups located around Basel centrally coordinated by Open Door. In order to see if there is a group near you (and a space) you are advised to call and leave a message.The Open door Coordinator will then call you back. She will either register your child in the most appropriate group according to age if a place is available or will place your child on the waiting list. You must pay The Open Door membership fee of 65CHF to be eligible for a place. See their website for more info.
Kannenfeldstrasse 28 Im Hinterhof CH - 4056 Basel
tel: +4161 271 64 69
Caters for children aged between 3 and 7. First Montessori in Basel and has been running for over 30 years. Week days from 8 am to 12 noon. The languages spoken are both German and English. Four times per week there are special afternoon activities on offer for an extra charge. This Montessori has its own school bus.
Ahead with English Pre-School
Kanelmattweg 5 4106 Therwil
tel: +41 61 421 4109/+41 61 901 8921
Accepts toilet-trained youngsters aged 3-5. Run by teachers with English mother-tongue. English only spoken. Pre-school is split into small groups with maximum of 10 children per group with one teacher and one assistant. The pre-school runs Tues-Friday 8.30-11.30am. Located in Baselland and accessible by public transport. A bit out of the way if you are based centrally in the City. Mornings are structured into a set routine and children are taken out to a nearby playground weather permitting.
SIK (Susanna's International Kindergarten)
Schonaustrasse 67 4058 Basel & Erlenmattstrasse 16-20 4058 Basel
Caters for children 3 months to 7 years. Popular with working parents due to its proximity to Novartis, Roche and Syngenta (the big 3 ex-pat employers) plus easily accessible to Badischer Bahnhof (German railway station), tram and bus. Bi-lingual German/eEglish. The Kindergarten is split into nursery, pre-school and Kindergarten 1 & 2. Each age group has its own space made up of multiple rooms.
Open 7.00-18.30 on weekdays, all year except Christmas week. SIK also offers afternoon care and holiday camps. Onsite playground and courtyard and both of its sites which are located a stones throw from each other. Minimum attendance 60% either 3 full days or 5 half days. An ad hoc evening babysitting service is available if you are enrolled.
Voltastrasse 98 4056 Basel
tel: +41 615 358 828
For children aged between 3 months- 6 years. Bi-lingual German/English. Another facility popular with working parents due to its long opening hours 7.00-18.30 weekdays plus late night options on Thursdays and Fridays. Garden and playground on site. Sibling discounts available. Open all year except Christmas week.
Spielgruppe Scherkesselweg 30 4052 Basel
tel:+41 61 378 9898
Playgroup sessions available Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 9am-12 noon. Minimum of one morning per week. Focus on preparing the children for joining Freies Gymnasium Kindergarten/pre-school. Children from age 2-3. German language is the main language of instruction, although teachers will have an understanding of english. Worth considering if interested in longer term education at Freies Gymnasium International School.
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS with PRE-SCHOOLS STARTING FROM AGE 3 ONLY
International School of Basel ("ISB")
Fleischbachstrasse 2 4153 Reinach, Basel
tel:+41 61 715 3333
The most well-known of the international schools in Basel takes toilet-trained children from age 3 (before 31 August). Their 'Early Years Centre' caters for children aged 3-6 (Pre-School 1, Pre-School 2 and Kindergarten) located south of Reinach in Aesch in its own modern purpose built campus. Pre-school runs to 3pm in the afternoon Monday-Friday with an extra option of staying in after school activities until 4pm subject to an additional semesterly fee. Pre-school 1 and 2 don't come cheap and cost upwards of 20,000CHF per annum. It's also out of town and parents have been heard bemoaning that it can be a pain to get to. On the plus side ISB has the best on site facilities of all the schools in Basel. North American in theme. IB education offered at ISB up to age 18.
Swiss International School ("SIS")
Erlenstrasse 15 4058 Basel
tel: +41 61 683 71 40 email:firstname.lastname@example.org
SIS is a bi-lingual German/English Swiss IB international school in inner city Kleinbasel. Children aged 3 -4 can start in Kindergarten 1 and ages 4 -5 in Kindergarten 2. Truly international mix of children with a mixture of German and English speaking children and teachers. 50% education provided in German and the other 50% in English.
Great if you already have some knowledge of German and/or have a flair for languages and a passion for learning and intergration into the Swiss culture. Not great if your child is lacking confidence and/or does not have any interest or desire to learn German.
Hours 8.30-3pm every day except Wednesday which is a half day. Extracurricular activities after school available some sessions for free, some for additional charge. Hot lunches available for additional cost. Kindergarten 1 & 2 are in the region of around 15,000CHF per annum.
Academia International School
Bonergasse 75 CH - 4057 Basel
tel: +41 61 260 20 00
A fairly new international school, AIS also offers a bilingual (German/English) education and has a pre-school for children aged 4 - 6 years. Word on the street is that it has a nice atmosphere and small classes so worth checking out if your heart is set on a bi-lingual pre-school. For Preschool 1 core hours are mornings only 4 days per week (9am start) and full day (until 4.15pm on Tuesdays). Pre-schools 2 is 8.30- 12pm Mon, Wed, Fri and until 4.14pm on Tues and Thurs. Lunches offered on site for 10CHF extra per day. Flexible extracurricular activities offered until 6pm daily at additional cost.
Freies Gymnasium Basel
Scherkesselweg 30 4052 Basel
tel: 061 378 98 88
Called the FG Basisstufe (Pre-School), this Swiss-run international school is officially German-speaking but offers German and English in pre-school. Unusually, pre-school aged children are mixed in class with first 2 years of primary school (idea being that older children will be role models for the younger and encourage them to develop their skills). Once a certain level of personal development is reached, children will move up to primary school. Probably only an option if you are planning on a longer term stay in Basel.