Elementary and Primary Education
The first level of education is called elementary education and consists of kindergarten for children ages three to five (see fig. 9). Attendance is voluntary. In the first half of the 1990s, about 80 percent of children were in kindergarten. Beginning in 1996, all children will be guaranteed a place in kindergarten. Because the former GDR had maintained an extensive kindergarten system, the new Lšnder had enough kindergarten places to meet this requirement. In contrast, in the early 1990s the old Lšnder had only enough places to accommodate about 75 percent of children in the relevant age-group.
The second level of education is called primary education and consists of the Grundschule (basic school). Children between the ages of six and ten attend the Grundschule from grades one through four. Children are evaluated in the fourth grade and tracked according to their academic records, teacher evaluations, and parent-teacher discussions. The three tracks lead to different secondary schools and play a significant role in determining a child's subsequent educational options.
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