Just in time for back to school I wanted to share some German Back to School Traditions.
In Germany school starts in 1st Grade, we have Kindergarten, but that’s like Pre-school in the US. Schools, at least in my region start at 8AM and end anywhere from 12PM – 2PM depending on the age group.
We only have 9 years of school then you have a choice of either graduating and moving on to a Higher education for another 3 years or starts a career. I know, it can be scary having a 15 year old graduate High School. BUT, it is mandatory to get a Job and get qualified in the job field.
For example, if you wanted to be a car mechanic ( like most of us Mom’s do…lol) you would apply for a job opening and if they accept you, you then are hired for 3 years.
You will work part time at the shop and attend school the rest of the time. Each year is strictly laid out by the School Board and will have to be followed, tests are taken and exams are written through the course of the 3 years. it’s not easy. But once you finish your education you are certified in that field. If you want to be a cashier, yup, the same 3 years schooling will go into the field of a cashier. Crazy isn’t it?
But it’s so worth it. The knowledge and experience you gain from the 3 years of hands on education are priceless. Of course all is FREE and guess what, you actually get paid for your time at work. There is also a set tier for the first year X amount $, x amount of $ for the second year and then another X amount $ for the last year.
I actually got a degree in Early Childhood education, for the Elementary Crowed and loved it, I’ve learned so much.
This is so different then in the US. Of course, you can go on for 3 more years to higher education and then start your career training. There are good things and bad things to this system.
I love the education that you get, even as a little cashier you are highly qualified, BUT the downside you cannot get a job in any other field, unless you go through 3 years of training in that particular field. So, a 15 year old has to make that decision and stick with it for the rest of their life. I guess it works out, has worked the past 50+ years in Germany.
My kids are always jealous when they hear that you “can” graduate High School after the 9th grade, however, they do not listen to the 3 years in the field or higher education path .
We also have a very cool school tradition. Each year when the 1st graders get ready to start school, they receive a Schultüte, which is a cone filled with goodies, almost like a Christmas stocking . Anything that will fit inside the cone is a go, I remember mine like it was yesterday, I had a pink cone with some kind of little design and inside I had every little girls dream… I had hopes for Toys, candy, markers all the good stuff a 6 year old would want….. What I actually got was “underwear, socks and school supplies”. I felt kind of cheated… but it was fun. I love this tradition and it has been very hard to find the Schultüte in the US, I did find one company called Kindercone in the US.
In case you want to follow this very fun tradition with your little one this year, here is some more info about the Schultute and how to create one of your own.
Another cool product that we’ve used ALL the time is the Fountain Pen. I recently came across the Fountain pen on Amazon.com and was super excited. Growing up in Germany, this was the only pen we were allowed to use in school. No pencil, no ball park pen, we had to use the Fountain Pen. Our Teachers always said anything else would mess up our writing. I think these are so cool and now that I’ve found them, I defiantly will order some for my kids to look at and enjoy. Have you ever used a Fountain Pen? They are actually very affordable and they have lighter ones for children to learn how to write, they also have pens specifically for left or right handed. How cool is that? I love these pens and can’t wait to get one and use it for my day to day office work. I’m super excited, can you tell?
Now isn’t that different? What cool and unique school traditions do you have? Would love to hear them.