Your children must be insured to cover medical and hospital fees. You can find more information about this on the Health Insurance page.
Basic-level insurance does not cover dental fees. It can be worth taking a complementary insurance covering not only dental expenses but also medical expenses. You do not have to arrange insurance for your child with your own insurance company. Take the time to do some price comparisons with Comparis.
Vocational training/education allowances are paid for young people aged between 16 and 25 who are students or apprentices (supporting documents need to be presented).
There is a minimum federal benefit payment, but each canton is free to invoice a higher amount.
Applications to receive this benefit must be submitted by your employer.
School education is compulsory in Geneva for children who have reached the age of 4 as of 31st July.
To enrol your child in a public school, you will need the following documents:
- Livret de famille (family record booklet) or birth certificate
- Certificate of residence (‘attestation d’établissement’ for Swiss nationals) or residence permit
- Certificate of health insurance
Useful links :
- Canton of Geneva’s Public Education Department website (in French only)
- Information on school hours (in French only)
- School term times/holidays in Geneva (in French only)
- Information on State education in the Canton of Vaud (in French only)
This card offers a range of attractive discounts for those under 20 years of age: 20ans/20francs (in French only)
Medical costs during pregnancy and at birth covered by health insurance
Family and birth allowance:
Claims for family allowances must be submitted through your employer. Get in touch with your contact person in HR.
The maternity department or clinic will inform the civil registry office of the district in which your child is born. You will then have to go to this office to have the birth officially registered. A child born in Switzerland needs to be registered within 3 days of the birth.
Where to find the Official Registry Office where you live
One word of warning: the birth certificates of both parents are needed to register a birth (unless the parents are married and both are Swiss nationals).
Make sure you undertake the necessary administrative steps to make ready your own birth certificates BEFORE the baby is born in order to ensure you have the documents in time.
What to do to have paternity recognised (either before or after the birth) (in French only)
For more information please visit: https://www.geneve.ch/en/demarches/registering-birth
To the attention of non-french-speaking parents whose children attend public compulsory school : https://www.ge.ch/en/french-courses-parents-whose-children-attend-public-compulsory-school
With a Junior railcard, children aged 6 to 16 can travel free of charge on all public transport in Switzerland if accompanied by one of their parents.
Accompanied children can travel free of charge on public transport up to the age of 6.
From age 6 up to age 15, children pay reduced fares. For annual/monthly passes, they can benefit from reduced rates up to age 24.
From the age of 6 up to the date of their 16th birthday, children will pay a reduced fare (or travel free of charge with the Junior railcard.)
For young people under 25, the Track 7 travelcard can offer a cheaper way to travel.
For more information on railcards
Up to the age of 12 or a height of 150cm, children must be seated in appropriate car seats. For more information please visit:
- bfu.ch (in French only)
Wearing protective headgear is not compulsory when cycling, but it is strongly recommended.
For more information about transporting your children on your bike
Various childcare solutions are available to have your child looked after until they reach compulsory school-age (aged 4 as of 31st July). Some private schools do accept children from the age of 3.
Places are very hard to secure so it is vital you look for childcare solutions as early as possible. Some waiting-lists can be as long as one or two years.
Group childcare on full or part-time basis: city of Geneva website (in French only)
A childcare assistant looks after your child in her/his own home
Combination of both above systems: childcare assistant/nanny looking after your child in her home as well as regularly taking the child to a crèche
A young person lives at home with you and, for a limited number of hours, looks after your child(ren).
Childcare in the home
Your child are looked after in your own home. See further information below.
Regular group childcare on a part-time basis.
Group childcare on occasional basis: for further information (in French only)
For public childcare services: the cost depends on the chosen type of childcare arrangement chosen and parental income.
For private services with no State subsidy: a fixed price not subject to State regulation.
City of Geneva authorities
- Facilities subsidised by the City of Geneva authorities: contact BIPE, application form (information in French only). You can only register after your arrival as you will be asked to provide your swiss adress.
- Meyrin petite enfance (in French only)
- Vernier petite enfance (in French only)
Other municipalities in the Canton of Geneva
- Childcare facilities for early-years children (in French only)
If you are employed by the University of Geneva or the University Hospital of Geneva, you can also enrol your child on the waiting-lists for the following facilities (information in French only). You can register before your arrival ( it is best to register ASAP).
- The UNIGE crèche
- Application form for enrolment in advance
Please contact the HR officer of your department.
Structures not subsidized by the City
Please contact the structure concerned directly. Non-subsidized nurseries ( in French only).
Some private schools accept children as young as 3 years old.
- Pro Filia (in French/German/Italian only)
- International Au Pair Organisation
- Chaperon Rouge (emergency care, respite care, care for sick children) (in French only)
- Priorité enfants (daycare at home and babysitters)
- Mary Poppins (daycare at home or with another family living nearby) (in French only)
- Les 3 fées (babysitting and night-time care by students at the Haute école de santé)
- City of Geneva: integration of children with special needs
- Childcare of pre-school in the City of Geneva
- EVE: the University’s childcare facilities
- BIPE – City of Geneva’s information office on pre-school children
- Genève Famille information on childcare on pre-school children
- CAGI information on childcare centres
SWISS SCHOOLING SYSTEM
Your child will attend a school close to your home. It is not possible to choose the school. Procedure for enrolling a child in a school in Geneva: DIP ( in French only)
Word of warning: Your child must be aged 4 before 31 July in order to start his/her first year of schooling in the following September. If that is not the case, please go to our web page on Preschool childcare.
Between ages 4 and 12: primary school
- General information: Department for primary school education (in French only)
- In Geneva, children who do not speak French are given a period of adaptation assisted with an intensive course in the French language in dedicated classes as from age 6, or in their class for the youngest children. To find out more about this, please contact the department dealing with integration of non-French speakers in primary schools (in French only)..
- Virtually all schools in Geneva offer childcare arrangements over lunch and after school hours. For more information: : Groupement Intercommunal pour l’animation parascolaires ( in French only)
- To enrol your children for school lunches, the principal of your children’s school will tell you how to proceed.
- Your child may walk to school, with other friends, thanks to a ‘walking-bus’ arranged by the association pedibus-genève : liste des lignes Pedibus ( in French only)
Between ages 12 and 15: compulsory secondary education (known as the ‘cycle d’orientation’)
- From 12 years old, your child moves into the stage of compulsory secondary education, the ‘cycle d’orientation’. Your child will be enrolled in a class corresponding to their level and preferred options (modern languages, scientific, etc.). It is possible to transfer from one stream to another via transition pathways during this stage of secondary education.
- For further information on this stage of education (in French only): Cycle d’orientation’ in the State-school system ( in French only)
- This ‘cycle d’orientation’ stage of secondary education also has classes for new arrivals who do not speak French : New arrival classes
- Geneva Association of Private Schools (AGEP)
- Association Vaudoise de Ecoles Privées
- Swiss Federation of Private Schools
Word of warning: Some private schools have waiting lists.
INTEGRATION OF CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
Your are living in France
Your child’s school place is allocated on the basis of the local municipality in which you are living. The town hall for that municipality can provide you with the information.
You are living in Switzerland
Subject to certain conditions (availability of school places, payment of school fees), you can arrange for your child to go to a school in France.
In order to find out which schools (either State-run or private) are located near to where you are living in France, please consult the Annuaire de l’Education Nationale ( in French only)
Private lessons/tutoring and educational support
- ARA offers individualised private lessons provided by senior school or university students (website in French only).
Educational and pedagogical support for parents
- Ecole des parents provides information and support services relating to parenting (website in French only). Assistance in educational matters or therapeutic help are also available.
- Ecole des parents au cycle d’Orientation This enables parents to follow educational courses that are the same as those their children are following in various subject areas. This ‘school for parents’ also provides French-language courses for non-French speakers.
Parents’ associations :
- Association de parents d’élèves du cycle (secondary school) (in French only)
Department for Safeguarding of Minors
The Cantonal Youth Department’s Service de protection des mineurs (SPMi) can help families with bringing up their children and protects the child’s interests and the child him/herself. In this role, the Department provides the following services:
- Social/educational interventions in families with or without legal court orders (in French only)
- Information for parents and social assessments during separation and divorce procedures (in French only)
The services provided range from straightforward advice and counselling to children being placed into long-term care.
HIGHER VOCATIONAL EDUCATION
Several options are open to young people who have completed the compulsory stage of their secondary schooling:
- General academic education, leading to the Matura school-leaving certificate enabling successful students to enrol at university or other centres of higher education;
- Specialist education, leading to the Specialised Matura school-leaving certificate enabling successful students to enrol at specialised centres of higher education or at university via a transition pathway/course;
- Vocational or professional education (apprenticeships), leading to a Federal VET (vocational education & training) diploma enabling successful students to apply to higher vocational institutes. Such training and education are generally provided in conjunction with an employer.
Regardless of which education route is chosen, there is an arrangement for transition pathways/courses to enable students to apply to university or one of the higher-education establishments.
For further information, please consult: https://www.ge.ch/parcourir/ecoles-formations (in French only) or Cité des métiers careers service ( in French only).
In Canton Vaud, post-compulsory studies to obtain a so-called gymnasium maturity (allowing entry to the University) last 3 years.
Click here to see the school plan
Click here to see a description of the gymnasial studies
Students from abroad must pass an entrance examination.
The registration deadline is January 31st for the September academic year.
A child care centre are available in Geneva where children can be looked after on an occasional basis, but only for a maximum of 3 hours a day, three days a week.
City of Geneva web page (in French only)
- Emergency crèches in the City of Geneva (in French only)
- Chaperon Rouge (emergencycare, respite care, care for sick children) (in French only)
- Priorité enfants (nanny recruitment agency)
- Mary Poppins (nannies at home; in French only)
- Priorité enfants (nanny recruitment agency)
- InforFamilles ( in French only)
- Chaperon Rouge ( in French only)
- Les 3 fées: babysitting and night-time care by students at the Haute école de santé)
LEISURE & HOLIDAYS
- Loisirs jeunes ( in French only)
- Passeport vacances (holiday activities; in French only)
Local community, youth and leisure centres (‘Maisons de quartier’), run by the Fondation genevoise pour l’animation socioculturelle (FASe) (in French only), are open to young people living in the local area. Children and teenagers can gather in friendly settings where they can meet outside school hours and participate in many activities. Some local community centres are open for children on Wednesdays and during school holidays.
Take full advantage of the broad array of traditional and multimedia libraries which are open and free for children to use: traditional and multimedia libraries (in French only). Libraries also offer a range of free activities, such as storytelling and reading sessions.
Various local associations have set up some toy libraries (in French only): for a modest price, you can borrow toys and games. These libraries are also friendly meeting-places and activity centres.
- Sports disciplines and clubs
- Sports training schools
- Sports for people with disabilities
Confédération des écoles genevoises de musique, rythmique, danse et théâtre (Confederation of Music, Rhythm, Dance and Theatre Schools in Geneva – French only)
The Welcome Center compiles a list of students at Geneva’s Conservatory who give private music and singing lessons.
- Amstramgram theatre
- Ballenberg Swiss Open-air Museum
- Marmot Park and Trail; Adventure Forest Park, Vercorin
- What’s On on the loisirs.ch website (in French only)
- Labyrinthe (maze adventure park; in French only)
- Swiss Vapeur Parc (miniature steam trains)
- Signal de Bougy (Parc Pré Vert nature reserve and open space; in French only)
- Yatouland (fun parks/centres)
- Les Aigles du Léman (eagle nature park/sanctuary in France – in French only)
- Vitam Parc (water park, spa, fitness park)
- Les Evaux (intercommunal sports/leisure/nature park – in French only)
- Dimanche à pied (organised walks/rambles on Sundays – in French only)
- Samedi du vélo (organised bike-related activities on Saturdays – in French only)
- Recreation grounds and children’s play areas