It's hard to believe that Joseph is not a kindergartner anymore!!
In this picture he's on his way to school, carrying a huge schultüte, a cone-shaped goody bag given to kids in Germany on their first day of elementary school. It's nice that his French school follows this sweet tradition as well.
"In Germany, the first day of school has long been acknowledged as a special occasion with customs that have been documented back to the middle ages. Depending on the region, it may have taken the form of a special church service, at the conclusion of which the children may have been led in a procession to the school, or they were presented with cookies that had been baked in the shape of letters or the pieces of slate that, until well into the middle of the last century, where used for the first tentative tries at writing legible letters and numbers.
The custom of the "Schultuete" proper goes back to about 1810, to Saxony and Thuringia at Germany's easternmost borders, where sweets were given to the children on this day. The first documented report of the cone-shaped Schultuete proper comes from the city of Jena in 1817, closely followed by reports from Dresden (1820) and Leipzig (1836). It started in the bigger cities but spread quickly to the small towns and villages, soon becoming an institution all over Germany.
The custom that started in Saxony and Thuringia, but which was not adopted in other parts of the country, was that the chlidren were not given their Schultuete directly. Marked with the students' names, they were taken to the school by parents or godparens and in a habit reminiscent of the Mexican pinata, hung on a metal "Schultueten-Baum" (Schoolcone tree) from which each child had to pick their cone. Without breaking them, of course."
Presents inside Joseph's tüte
Kids begin to work on day 1
Joseph's l'ecole elementaire years will also mean an intensive French-German immersion for me, since I have to help him to do his school tasks. I cannot believe that THE day to assist my son in those two languages has arrived.
On the second day of school, the French teacher already asked kids to memorize a French poem written by Sylvie Poillevé. Parents are expected to help their kids at home. The poem is about getting ready to school in the morning.
I helped him by reading the poem (he doesn't read French yet), he then repeated each sentence after me and at the same time corrected my pronunciation or, if I asked, gave me the Indonesian translation of a word. When I already knew the meaning of a sentence, I would directly explain to him in Indonesian the logic of the sentence to make it easy for him. (Unfortunately the part where we were translating for each other was not caught by the camera). We kept on conversing in Indonesian between the poem.
How bizarre! Joseph memorized his little poem with a help from someone who spoke broken French and the explanation was conducted in Indonesian. He was also becoming my French teacher by improving my pronunciations and vocabularies.
I guess having a kid at school brings our family to another level of raising multilingual kids, where things might become more complex. In the coming days there will be more homework to finish, not only in French but also in German. I guess exciting yet challenging days are waiting ahead.