I’ve been a little quiet over here for the past week, but I wanted to completely focus on Amy and making sure that she’s settling into school without any problems. It was her very first day at school last Monday, and if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that starting school in Germany comes with a ‘First Day of School Ceremony’, something we call ‘Einschulung’. I’ve written about my first day at school before and I’ve also shared my thoughts on Amy starting school, but today, I thought I’d tell you a little about Amy’s ‘First Day of School Ceremony’.
‘Einschulung’ is a pretty big deal in Germany. It marks the step from daycare/nursery to formal education and is a big change in your child’s life. To make it less daunting for children, schools and families all around the country celebrate the first day of school with a ‘First Day of School Ceremony’ that is hosted at the child’s new school and a family celebration afterwards.
Amy’s Einschulung / First Day of School Ceremony
We arrived for Amy’s ‘Einschulung’ at 10 AM on the Saturday before her official first day. The new Y1 students (reception is integrated into nursery here) sit down in the first row of the auditorium and their parents and families take place somewhere behind. After a short welcome by one of the teachers, older students take the stage to perform a little program of songs and poems surrounding school and what life as a student is like. It’s really quite cute and a great way to take away some of the fears that some of the kids still might have before starting school.
After the official welcome by the school’s principal, the really exciting part of the ceremony starts. The children are called onto the stage in groups of five and meet their class mates and teacher for the very first time. They receive a little certificate and flower before heading to the classroom for a little taster session and receiving their Schultüte, a cardboard cone filled with treats.
No First Day of School Ceremony without Schultüte
The whole concept of the Schultüte might seem odd to the rest of the world but it’s a tradition that goes back to as far as the 18th century, so there’s no first day at school without it here in Germany. Amy was super excited about hers, especially as it was pretty much unicorn-themed, but if you want to hear more about it and what was inside, leave me a comment below and I’ll write a blog post on it for you.
The rest of the day was very much a family affair. Amy’s great-grandparents, my parents, as well as my sister and her boyfriend had come to celebrate the day with us and after a lovely time at Amy’s first day of school ceremony, we went for lunch at a local restaurant, ate heaps of cake and mountains of food for dinner. Admittedly, Amy didn’t eat much all day because she was way too busy raiding her Schultüte and laughing with her guests but all in all, we had a fab day celebrating yet another milestone in Amy’s life. She loved all the balloons and party decorations that we had ordered to decorate my parents’ house and we still have four of them floating around our flat because she just can’t part with them. She even wanted to take one of them to school…
Amy’s first week at school
If you’re wondering how she got on during her first week, I can tell you that it went great. I’m very excited for the coming ten to twelve years (depending on Amy’s path of education) and if week one is anything to go by, it will be a fun journey to accompany her on. Amy loves learning. She’s excited about reading and writing and while I’m sure that there’ll be mornings when she won’t want to get up or homework that she won’t want to do, I’m sure that she’ll enjoy school.
The beginning of this week was very much about getting used to their new routines, classmates and teacher but towards the end, they started to work on numbers, did some pre-writing exercises as well as colouring in and singing. They’ve had their first PE lesson and could choose a couple of after-school clubs, which Amy was very excited about.
Something that might be a little unusual is that most of Amy’s lessons are taught in English instead of German. Her school is one of only a few in Germany that offer bilingual lessons to promote early language learning and with Amy being bilingual already, choosing this path was a natural step for us. I might write a more detailed blog post about this in the future if this is something you are interested in. I think it’s such a gift to children.
So that’s all about Amy’s first day of school ceremony and her first week, how did you guys get on? Are you all back to school? Did your little ones maybe have their first day too?