gms | German Medical Science

GMS Journal for Medical Education

Gesellschaft für Medizinische Ausbildung (GMA)

ISSN 2366-5017

Services and Institutions of the Heidelberg Association for Student Affairs

Abstract medicine

Search Medline for

  • corresponding author Ulrike Leiblein - Heidelberg Association for Student Affairs, Managing Director, Heidelberg, Germany

GMS Z Med Ausbild 2012;29(2):Doc31

doi: 10.3205/zma000801, urn:nbn:de:0183-zma0008010

This is the English version of the article.
The German version can be found at:

Received: April 6, 2011
Revised: May 4, 2011
Accepted: May 5, 2011
Published: April 23, 2012

© 2012 Leiblein.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.


The Association for Student Affairs Heidelberg sees itself as a modern service company, which is why we have made “services for students” our motto. Approximately 320 full-time employees and numerous student helpers create this service.

With some pride we can look back to having set up Germany’s first nursery for students 40 years ago to offering competent childcare to this day. We have cooperated with University Hospital and University of Heidelberg for more than 20 years to provide these services so that not only students who are parents but also members of other institutions and, of course, the Association for Student Affairs may bring their children to us. In total we provide care for about 215 children.

In our planning we have risen to meet the wishes of the University and the Clinic and therefore offer childcare from 6.15am to 8.15pm Monday to Friday all year. Should there be demand, this offer could be extended to include Saturdays.

The Association operates five childcare facilities, three of which are aimed at children aged two months to three years and two at children up to six years. It’s a personal goal of ours to offer the best possible care and support appropriate for all ages and stages of child development. In terms of financing, we are able to rely on the City of Heidelberg as a reliable partner.

In the toddler groups in particular the focus of our care staff is on emotional education to give the youngest self-confidence and social skills outside the home at this early stage.

In our day care centres, our trained staff places emphasis on the educational component of early childhood education. The young academic offspring is engaged physically through movement games, while language skills are in the foreground both for German and foreign children. In addition to the Würzburg language training program, English is taught through play in our program “English for Kids” using songs, games and English picture books from the age of four.

The children’s scientific interests are also encouraged. The collaboration with the Klaus Tschira Foundation at one of our nurseries is especially valuable. To make sure the musical element is not neglected, we offer the early childhood musical education in cooperation with Heidelberg music students.

The canteens at Heidelberg, some of which have won awards as being the best nationwide, supply our childcare facilities, which means our quality requirements for the food are particularly high. Many of the prepared meals are organically grown and produced locally. For example, the baby food only comes from certified organic farms. For us it goes without question that the food we serve is not genetically modified in any way and that baby food in particular contains no artificial flavour enhancers.

As a communal catering company, we are aware of our responsibility to the people and the environment. For this reason many of our fish components come from MSC-certified fish and our eggs from non-caged farming, for which the Association for Student Affairs was awarded the animal welfare award “The Golden Egg”. In addition, meals served in the care facilities are included in the monthly parental contribution. Thus all meals, including breakfast and snacks, lunch and dinner, are included in the €125 net contribution the students have to pay. So the children are well cared for throughout the day. Through our program “Mensa for Kids”, children of student parents can also eat free in our canteens.

A key point of our childcare is the provision of affordable and family-friendly housing, as the Heidelberg housing market is very tight. We therefore offer 35 apartments with two to four rooms in our family house in Heidelberg’s inner city. Thanks to a parental initiative, tenants have the opportunity to place their children in a toddler playgroup for aged one to three within the building. A further 55 two-bedroom apartments designed especially for single parent students are also centrally located on Heidelberg’s inner city.

If anyone feels overwhelmed by problems that may arise from studying with a child, they can approach our social counselling service. It takes place at fixed times within the care facilities and personal appointments can be arranged. So both children and parents are well cared for by us.

Competing interests

The author declares that she has no competing interests.