International Preschools and kindergartens in Budapest 2013

by Andi Lustak on March 6, 2013

Editor’s note: This blog was originally written by Lorna Kralik and was first published in June 2010 and first appeared on MoveOne’s Expat Echo blog. Budapest Moms took the time to update the list in March 2013 as applications for both state Hungarian and private pre-schools will take place in April. Open days are already happening in March so get in touch with the daycares for more information.

Budapest Moms started a ‘crowd-sourcing’ exercise of listing the most popular daycares where some personal experiences are shared which can be found here: Budapest Moms List of Nurseries, Kindergartens and Schools

If you would like to add a school to the list, click here:
Submit a nursery, kindergarten or school to our list!

Preschool and Kindergarten Options in Budapest

By Lorna Kralik
07/06/2010
My son’s class was on the top floor, a solid season hotter than the bigger students’ rooms on the ground floor.   It was September, and I was there for my first parent-teacher meeting since our move to Budapest. Thirty-some adults were pinched into miniature seats facing forward, and the rest of us, the late-comers, lined the borders. The yelling didn’t start until the principal came in. These were early days, and my Hungarian wasn’t good enough to know (a) what everyone was so worked up about, (b) why we were there or (c) whether I was at fault for any of this.

We had made the decision, this move around, to go with the public schools. Between my husband, the kids and myself, we had directly experienced just about every type of schooling option available to international families: public, private, international, private/religious, international bilingual…the whole lot except for home schooling (not to knock it, but I know my limits well enough to not consider this). Sitting there, with sympathetic looks being shot my way, I seriously doubted we had made the right choice.

For expat families, schooling can be one of the most critical factors in determining whether your experience abroad will ultimately be considered a success, both in the moment and twenty years down the line. If kids don’t feel comfortable in their surroundings, it is difficult for parents to feel much better.  David Pollock and Ruth Van Reken, authors of Third Culture Kids, and gurus of all things expat, acknowledge that “there is no perfect schooling formula that guarantees a happy outcome for all [third culture kids].” I agree.  My own children have sometimes struggled despite having every resource we thought they needed, or conversely, thrived in spite of our decision flops.  Not having a stake in promoting any one choice, I would urge families to consider the whole spectrum of options available.

Fortunately, expats moving to Budapest have a ton of preschool and kindergartens to choose from. Many, if not most families who are here for a limited stay go with one of the bigger, international schools.  These institutions provide understanding of the expat experience, a familiar curriculum, ease of communication, and an instant community. Often overlooked, however, are smaller schools that can provide a similar quality of education with low cost and a local feel.

It was precisely that neighborly connection that we felt was missing from our latest, pre-Budapest, experience, and that’s why we went local.  It took me six months to fully appreciate the story behind that first class conference (the argument ran deep and predated our arrival), and then another year before I felt we hadn’t totally bungled the future of our child. Of course there’s plenty I would change about the school, but it helps to remember that there was plenty I would change about every class in every place we’ve ever lived.  All said, I’m satisfied that this was the right choice for us, and would encourage other expat families to consider the whole range of options when looking for the best preschool setting for their child.

How Hungarian preschools and kindergartens might differ from what you expect

One of the reasons that I am lumping preschool and kindergarten together is because that’s the way the system is organized.  Elementary school begins with the first grade.  Kindergarten, rather than being the first year of the primary school career, is the last year of the preschool journey. A best-guess reason that I’ve heard for this structure is that schools would like students to be ready to sit for hours on-end in elementary, and the under-seven set are simply not ready to do that.

It follows, then, that one of the biggest complaints on the playground bench revolves around low academic expectations during the preschool years.  One mom wondered why no one seemed to worry that her six-year old was not yet sounding out sentences.  Whereas parents and teachers in an American context might be calling in the reading specialist, the atmosphere here is more low-key and in-due-time-ish. Not to worry, though.  Hungarian students, as well as expat students in Hungary, do fine by international standards; it’s just that the race isn’t considered on until elementary begins.

The schools themselves

Following is a directory for those interested in considering small, local, multilingual preschools and kindergartens though the list will include the bigger establishments too. If you would like to look at national schools, some of which also have bilingual classrooms, your district office should be able to provide you with a list of what’s available according to your address.

Apple Tree Kindergarten and Nursery
Address: 1026 Budapest, Trombitás út 11.
Language of instruction: English
Cost: please contact school
Contact: Phone: + 36 30 708 2248; www.appletree-kindergarten.hu
E-mail: info@appletree-kindergarten.hu
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/appletreekindergarten
Term: 29 August – 29 June
Extras: Arts, Judo, Chess, Musical Theatre, Yoga for kids, Pop Singing, Cooking, Extra Gym
Bus service: No information, contact school

A-Z International Centre of Children
Address: 1125 Budapest, Zsolna street 2.
Language of instruction: English
Cost: please contact school
Contact: 3612120133, www.atoz.hu , info@atoz.hu
Term: 1st September-31th July (8am-5pm)
Extras: gym, swimming, judo, piano, dance, skiing
Bus service? Available

Belvárosi Játékóvoda
Address: 1055, Honved utca 27 (heart of Downtown Pest near Parliament)
Language of instruction: English and Hungarian (Classrooms have both Hungarian and English speaking teachers
Cost: less than 100.000 HUF per month
Contact: www.jatekovoda.hu +36 (20) 564 4252

Busy Bee
Address: 1121 Budapest, Távcső street 12.
Language of instruction: English and Hungarian
Cost: 115000HUF (food included), 30000HUF registration fee
Contact: 36309527553, www.busybee.hu , busybee@busybee.hu
Extras: swimming, judo, ballet, ice skating, piano

English Garden Pre-School
Address: 1089 Budapest, Villám street 25.
Language of instruction: English
Cost: 170000HUF/month (food included), 25000HUF registration fee
Contact: 36202245070, www.englishgarden.hu , englishgardenpreschool@yahoo.com
Term: Sept-Jun.

Five Senses Nursery
Address: 1 Bartók Béla út, Gellért tér, 11th district
Language of instruction: English, Hungarian
Cost: 85.000 – 140.000 HUF per month plus catering on top according to service level
Contact: http://www.officeovi.com/day-care-centers/five-senses-nursery Childcare Like-home Nonprofit Ltd. Email: sarolta.jaszai@officeovi.com ;corrin.pitluck@officeovi.com
Phone: +36 30 383 2291
Bus service: Available

Greater Grace International PreSchool and School
Address: 22/B Szilagy Erzsebet Fasor Budapest, 1125. District 2
Language of instruction: English
Contact: www.ggis.hu
Ages: From 3 years up

Habakukk
Address: 1022 Budapest, Marczibányi square 12.
Language of instruction: English and Hungarian/German and Hungarian
Cost: 96000HUF/month (food included
Contact: 36309588629, www.habakukk.hu , habakukk@t-online.hu
Term: Sept-July
Extras: swimming, skiing, judo, ice skating, music

Happy Kids
Address: 1124 Budapest, Fodor street 36.
Language of instruction: English
Cost: 216000HUF (food included)
Contact: 3613562440, www.happykids.hu , info@happykids.hu
Time: 8am-5pm
Extras: gym, horse riding, ski camp, swimming, music
Bus service? Available

Heidi
Address: 2084 Pilisszentiván Szabadság street 219.
Language of instruction: English, German, Hungarian
Cost: 85000HUF (food included)
Contact: 3626367369, www.heidi.hu , marcsi2084@t-online.hu
Extras: swimming, horseback riding available for the ones who live in Hidegkút (+10000HUF)

Kikelet
Address: 1026 Budapest, Bimbó street 194-200.
Language of instruction: English and Hungarian
Cost: 117000HUF/month, 60000HUF registration fee
Contact: 3613914445, www.kikeletovoda.hu , kikeletovoda@gmail.com
Term: 1st September-31th July
Extras: swimming, skiing, football, ice skating
Bus service? no

Kids Kiosk
Address: 1023 Budapest, Bogár street 26/b.
Language of instruction: English
Cost: 125000HUF/month +25000HUF food/month
Contact: +36706677655, www.kidskiosk.eu , info@kidskiosk.eu
Extras: swimming, dancing, gym, yoga

Little Angels Kingergarten and nursery
Address: Budapest, 14th district., Ajtósi Dürer sor 5. near Oktogon on Pest side
Cost: Contact daycare
Contact: http://budapestkindergarten.hu/en/aboutus ; Tel: (+3602808028)
Email: rozamali@rediffmail.com ; info@budapestkindergarten.hu
Extras: Yoga, Aerobics, Swimming, Judo etc besides other extra-curricular activities options available for the kids. Home cooked food and balanced diet.

Mother Goose
Address: 1121 Budapest, Széchenyi emlékút 22
Language of instruction: English
Cost: 129000HUF/month (food included),50000HUF registration fee
Contact: +3613917227 www.mothergoose.hu info@mothergoose.hu
Term: 1st September-30th June (8am-4pm)
Extras: swimming lessons, ski-lessons, dance, pre-gym, crafts
Bus service? no

Maria Montessori Bilingual Nursery
Address: 1214 Budapest, Akácfa street 20.
Language of instruction: English and Hungarian
Cost: 75000HUF/month, 610HUF catering/day
Contact:+36303724502 , http://www.amiovink.hu/ montessoriovi@akacfaovi.t-online.hu
Term: 1st September-31th August (7.30am-5pm)
Extras: chess school, piano, drawing, aikido, Irish step dance
Bus service? No

Penguin International Kindergarten
Address: 1121 Budapest, Eötvös út 38/b
Contact: Takács Györgyi , Mobil: 06 20 434 1519 E-mail: pingvinovi@tvnetwork.hu
http://www.pingvinovoda.hu/english/about-us/
Language of instruction: Hungarian and some English classes. One class of mainly bilingual children with one English speaker (not native but lived abroad) and a Hungarian teacher
Cost: Full time: 8am – 5pm, 120.000 HUF, Half-day: 8am – 12.30 pm: 95.000 HUF includes all meals

Planet Kids
Address:  1021, Budapest, Budakeszi ut 73
Language of instruction: English
Cost: 145000HUF/month (food included), 25000HUF registration fee
Contact: 3612006537, www.planet-kids.hu , info@planet-kids.hu
Term: 1st September-31th July (7am-5pm)
Extras: gym, guitar and music classes, computer lab, yoga, judo, dance, swimming
Bus service? Available

Picoti Nursery
Address: 1029 Budapest Zsolt fejedelem street 50.
Language of instruction: French and Hungarian
Ages: 5 months to 4 years
Contact: 3612746785, www.picoti.eu , picoti@picoti.eu

Pinocchio
Address: 1026 Budapest Harangvirág street 4.
Language of instruction: Hungarian with some English lessons
Contact: 36303437754, www.pinocchio.hu , pinokkioovoda@gmail.com
Extras: swimming, horseback riding, judo, skiing, fitness, ice skating, gym, skating, tennis
Bus service? Available

Plum Pudding
Address: 1026 Budapest, Gyergyó street 6.
Language of instruction: English
Contact: 36309915481, www.plumpudding.hu , info@plumpudding.hu
Time: 8am-5pm
Extras: swimming, karate, ballet, folk dance, arts and crafts, ice skating, skiing
Bus service? no

SEK International School and Preschool Budapest
Language of instruction: Spanish-English-Hungarian
Address: 1021 Budapest, Hűvösvölgyi u. 131.
Contact: +36-1-394-2968 Gabriella Gidró (Assistant Principal)
Erdélyi Zsuzsanna (School Secretary) secretary.sekbudapest@iesmail.hu
contact.sekbudapest@iesmail.hu www.budapest.iesedu.com
Age: 3+, has to be toilet trained

Superkids
Address: 1022 Budapest, Csopaki street 8.
Language of instruction: English
Cost: 143100HUF/month (food included)
Contact: 3613943858, www.superkids.hu , info@superkids.hu
Term: 1st September-19th June
Extras: (mostly included in tuition) arts, crafts, music, swimming, judo, dance, ESL, tennis, gym, ice-skating, drama
Bus service? available

Rainbow Hills
Address: 2045 Törökbálint, Csiri street 3.
Language of instruction: English
Cost: 150000HUF/month (food included), 35000hUF registration fee
Contact: 3623332496, www.angolovi.hu , ovi@angolovi.hu
Extras: swimming, gym, ballett, music
Bus service? no

Under the Rainbow
Address: 1029 Budapest, Fekete Rigó u. 20.
Language of instruction: English
Contact: 36302318181, www.undertherainbow.hu , info@undertherainbow.hu
Term: Sept-June (7.30 am – 5.00 pm)
Extras (included within tuition fee): ESL classes, dance, aikido, music, tennis, yoga, piano, movement development
Bus service? available upon request

Winnie the Pooh Kindergarten
Address: 1125 Budapest , Rőzse köz 4
Language of instruction: English and Hungarian
Contact: www.kindergarten.hu 06-1 355-59-27, 06-30-313-72-34, info@kindergarten.hu

Additional information and other resources
Nothing can replace a personal school visit, however, to check out facilities and staff.
A starting point for Third Culture Kids’ issues can be found at www.tckworld.com .

Budapest Moms started a ‘crowd-sourcing’ exercise of listing the most popular daycares where some personal experiences are shared which can be found here: Budapest Moms List of Nurseries, Kindergartens and Schools

The list is missing many of the kindergartens listed above so if you have any experience with any of them you can submit your input here:

Submit a nursery, kindergarten or school to our list!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Sherry November 13, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Lorna,

Thanks for this great article. I have my 5 and 7 year olds in ovoda and iskola in the 2nd district. I am wondering if you know of indoor soccer possibilities for my 5 year old boy and girl’s basketball for my daughter. I don’t know where to find these things. Thanks so much.

Sherry

Reply

Maria April 22, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Actually it is not allowed to teach any reading or writing in preschool/kindergarten (óvoda) in Hungary, because experts consider it harmful to the child’s social development and later reading ability.

I don’t know how these experts explain that British and American kids are well-developed despite early reading:), but the fact is that only international schools can teach reading in Hungary before first grade.

Reply

budapeşte macaristan estergon March 23, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Great information. I found at one second what i was looking for days. Thanks

Reply

Daniel May 11, 2013 at 2:16 am

Any idea where we could find information on english language public schools in 3rd, 4th, or 15th district? We are moving to Budapest with 5 children (8th, 5th, 3rd, 1st, and a young one. They are 1/2 hungarian – but not fluent… We would love for them to ease the transition by going to a hungarian school – that teaches in english. Any ideas or help would be appreciated.

Reply

Bóbita Vár November 21, 2013 at 10:17 am

Our International DayCare is waiting for your little loved ones between 12 months to 7 years!
We offer full time or part time services from Monday to Friday from 7.30 am to 5.30 pm.
We are located in the exclisive building of DunaPest Residences, IX. distict of Budapest.
Please contact us for further information!
http://www.bobitavar.hu/en

Reply

Snjezana July 14, 2014 at 11:36 pm

Very useful article. One year ago I moved to Budapest with two kids (who didn’t love kindergarten+not spoke English) and after lot of searching, calling and recomendations found one in 2nd district Kids Kiosk. Such kind of articles and people’s experiences help to everybody who must applay children in kindergarten in foreign country. After one year result is that kids like to go there (for me the most important), they are much more self-confident and everything because (in my opinion) good apprach to children and lot of various activities (eg. daughter goes to ballet, swimming and German…). Also, I am very satisfy with a preparation of my son for the school in English language (with intensiv English language program for that purpose). I have feeling that are very flexible regarding needs/wishes of parents…

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post:

COPY AND PASTE your Google Analytics Code Here (about 8 lines of code)