That, dear readers is a Schultüte. It is THE symbol of the start of school for the youngest students here in Germany. The excitement surrounding the Schultüte is comparable to that of finding a stocking filled with goodies on Christmas morning. Children make requests for certain themes (they come in all sizes, colors, and themes, but not different shapes—they are always, always a cone), and at the beginning of their first year of school, the students are given their Schultüte as a symbol of their transition into the world of learning.
Once upon a time (or so I have been told), they held school supplies. My elderly neighbor told me how she and her friends found farm produce in theirs (they were farmers' kids—they clearly didn't get enough fresh fruit and vegetables at home, it had to come wrapped in a pretty little cone, too). And more recently, toys and candy. Sometimes enough to require visits to the dentist.
The contents are up to the parents, but the Einschulungsfeier (schooling in ceremony) is a wonderful celebration that marks a major turning point in a child's life. They are no longer learning only from friends and family at home, but they are now embarking on a journey of discovery that will lead them places they never dreamed existed.
I don't even remember my first day of school. It blends in with all of the others. But to honor the occasion with festivities, friends, and family... that's the way to do it, isn't it? To make the transition exciting, appealing, and oh so very fun. To send children into the world to learn with enthusiasm. That's the way to create joyful learners. Perhaps this is a tradition we should celebrate more widely.
If you're looking for Poetry Friday, Anastasia Suen has the roundup this week.
Do you remember starting school? What traditions can you recall?