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.
Child & Family Benefits
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.
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.
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.
State-run crèches, nurseries/kindergartens, etc.
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.
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).
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.
- 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)..
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.
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.
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:
The services provided range from straightforward advice and counselling to children being placed into long-term care.
HIGHER VOCATIONAL EDUCATION
Education after compulsory schooling in Geneva
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.
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.
Traditional libraries, as well as multimedia & toy libraries
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.