The first day of school.  In Canada, the first day of school starts with Kindergarten. Here in Germany, Kindergarten starts around age 3 and typically lasts 3 years and is kept separate from school (similar concept to daycare in Canada).  The real deal here starts when you are 6 years old. They call it Schulanfang (first day of school) or better yet, the Ernst des Lebens (translated to the Serious side of Life). For Little T, his Ernst des Lebens starts on Tuesday.  And he couldn’t be more excited.  I just wonder if that will all wear off around Thursday next week and he’ll be begging to return to Kindergarten.

This Schulanfang couldn’t be more serious. I am quite certain that Little T is better equipped material wise for his first day than I ever was for public school, high school, university or all 3 put together.  Not only did we have to get him a certain kind of knapsack (big enough to carry a bulk of items, which you will learn about later, but must also have a cool enough design so the other kids don’t tease him into a corner), a matching gym bag, and a matching wallet for his milk cash.  But also, we were given a list of over 30 items to purchase including small pencils, big pencils, 4 different sizes of paint brushes, scissors, pencil crayons, 7 different colours of plastic file folders, paints, eraser, pencil sharpener, big cardboard folder, small cardboard folder, painting shirt, notebook and a picture of the lovely Schulanganger.  No wonder his official knapsack has to be so big he looks like an astronaut on a moonwalk!

Luckily, my English speaking German friend took pity on me and led me around to various stores to gather all this stuff as I didn’t have a clue as to what half the list meant.  All I need to do now is put his name on everything, including all of his 20 pencils and pencil crayons (I think I’ll assign Hubby to that tedious engraving task).

The big day will begin with a church service, followed by a little celebration, then followed by about an hour of actual classes where he will be assigned eight hours of homework (just kidding! I think?) The big event will be when he gets to open his Schultuete (the cone as pictured above), after carrying it around all morning wondering what could be packed inside.  In it will contain some of his school supplies in addition to some chocolate treats and toys.  Not a bad way to start the serious side of life!

As I said earlier, Little T is anxiously awaiting his first day of school.  His teacher -to-be sent him a caterpillar in the mail back in July with the body sections numbered so that he could colour each day and know when his first day would be.  Each day Little T has excitedly announced the number of sleeps left before his big day.

And how do I feel?  Aside from broke after all the required purchases, I too am excited.  For me.  It’s been six weeks of summer vacation…time for the routine of sending everyone out of the house so I can finally get some peace and quiet!!

Just kidding.  I am excited for him, but a little sad for me.  My little baby is officially a little boy!  Where does the time go?

At least I can take comfort knowing he won’t need another school supply for the remainder of his entire school life.

8 thoughts on “Schulanfang

  1. Heather, you have been in my thoughts, as this day approaches, for the reasons you describe in the end of yet another great story.

    It is a new beginning for all of you, and my heart is full, my eyes are tearing up as I type, as I think of how Little T is growing up, as are all the children in our family we have been so blessed with.

    I will say my prayer for Little T, for you and for Ralph as you begin this next leg of the journey of family life.

    your sis


    • I’m sorry to have made you cry, sis! I’ll need to slip a few packages of tissue into that cone…for me! So many new starts this school year for our children in our family…l’ll be thinking of them all and cheering them on…


  2. Don’t ask me why but this post made me well up too, then to read your sister’s post confirmed it! Glad I’m not the only sentimental/emotional one out there. I guess it’s cause it really does fly by. Akina is only 15 months yet I can’t believe how fast she’s growing. Gotta enjoy the ride.

    Good luck to T and (more probably) you 🙂



  3. so cool..they really make them all excited for it….I was just all terrified by it at that age..I wish they had done that for us back then too :(…it would have made made the reality a little less painful lol…..


  4. I remember falling asleep on my mat outside the school waiting for it to open up. When I fianlly woke up the door was too heavy to open so I just went home. I guess it was OK to leave a 5 year old kindergarten kid at the school before it opened back then but it was more than likely my older brother’s fault- Mom probably left him in charge! He was the one who also woke me up in a panic early one Saturday (I didn’t know it was Saturday!) and shoo’d me off to school telling me I was late (an the older kids had a day off). Came home crying cause the doors wouldn’t open! And to think I still love this guy!


  5. Hi Heather,
    On the first day of school, Matt’s teacher sent home a note and a tea-bag attached – reassuring me that everything was going to be OK…(hopefully she did this for the rest of the parents too!)

    I hope Little T has a good first day – and although it’s hard to see our little ones growing up, you will also delight in the days and years ahead.

    Sending warmest good wishes your way…

    Mel 🙂


  6. hey girl,
    your post brings me back to Lauren’s first day of school. When we walked up to the school, she spotted a girl she knew. she caught up with her and walked the rest of the way holding her hand. As I followed her into the classroom, I began to cry. Not because I was worried that Lauren wouldn’t be ok without me, but instead just the opposite. She never looked back once. I realized then that she didn’t need me in the way I assumed she would. Despite my tears, I realized that her independence was the best assurance I could get that I had done something right along the way.
    So enjoy Tuscan’s enthusiasm and bring some tissues just in case!


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