Ethan started first grade today. I really enjoyed taking him to school. I think he's going to do well. He was very calm and ready to go. He chose his first day of school outfit, which is the same as yesterday's photo... I had to wash it last night. I love that Ethan established his style right on the first day. And we had the schultuete (prounounced shool-toot-uh) with school supplies and sweets. Yes it's Star Wars, and yes his backpack is too. Are you surprised? They sequestered the parents in the auditorium until they released the kids so that the parents couldn't go peek in the windows and disturb the classes. I thought that was pretty funny.
Many of the families go way out for the first day. There were some BIG elaborate cones (the schultuete) and some very dressed up kids. Anyway, for some more well-established families the whole extended family comes out for the event and then they go eat at a local restaurant. After class we took Ethan for lunch at the PX followed by shopping, where he chose... wait for it... a Star Wars toy.
If you are not German and you're interested in this tradition, you can do a quick search and find some history about the schultuete. They are a cardboard cone decorated, filled with goodies, and tied at the top. There are tutorials on how to make them, or you can buy a pre-made one, which is what we did for both of the kids. The typical thing to do in our area is make it out of corrugated cardboard (colored) and decorate with whatever theme your kid likes. Then you put tissue paper or felt at the top to close it up. Inside you stuff it with school supplies, snacks (some sweets, oranges, nuts, whatever), and maybe a small toy or gift. This tradition is for the first day of first grade. It's a big deal here in Germany. It's not for any other year of school. Just first grade. (I'm emphasizing that because I know it's tempting to do it every year.) If you have a 1st grader getting a big cone and you have younger children, I have seen the Germans give the younger siblings tiny little cones with just snacks. But the big ones are reserved for the 1st graders. It's a very fun tradition and I'm really glad both of our kids got to have the experience.