If you or your partner are employed in Steiermark, you will most likely receive twice a year a €60 ‘Bildungsscheck‘ from the Arbeiterkammer. You, your partner or children can use this to study at the Volkshochshule (adult education). They have a huge range of courses from fitness, languages, art, parent & kids, music, computers, make your own soap etc.
Classes are often in the evenings but not always. Most happen in the center of Graz at their new main building (Köflacher Gasse 7). There are additional VHS branches in the surrounding areas of Graz such as Seiersberg.
To see which courses are eligible for the Bildungsscheck, just look for the AK logo next to the course listings. Also in the Ermäßigungen section in the course details for “Bildungsscheck erlaubt: ja”
The VHS has lots of German learning courses. The classes are often pretty large but it’s a great affordable addition to any other classes you might be doing. They offer all levels from A1 – C2 and also special courses focusing on conversation, writing, grammar etc. Plus there are classes for kids (learning through music 3 – 6 yrs or for school kids 6 – 11)
Courses can fill up quickly so I recommend registering sooner than later. You can also check on-line to see how full the course is.
The VHS Köflacher Graz location also offers free childcare while you attend a course. I visited the brand new ‘Krabbelstube’ kids room (run by Die Kinderfreunde). It looked really cozy and they accept babies and kids up to 14 years. They have a similar pedagogical approach to regular kindergartens. They also have a garden to play in, sleeping room, area for older kids to do their homework etc. Opening hours are 8:00 – 19:00 Monday – Thursday and Fridays 8.00 – 14:00. You need to register separately for the Krabbelstube at firstname.lastname@example.org or 05-7799-5000 in addition to your course registration. Once accepted, you can then attend a ‘schnupperstunden’ – 1 hour session together with your child. So they can get used to the room & staff before your course starts.
Plus while on maternity leave, if you are a AK member (i.e. been working in Styria) you are eligible for €1,000 to be used for classes up until your child’s second birthday (just look for the AK logo next to the course title for eligible classes). So another good reason to take advantage of the free childcare and learn something new during your leave!