I read that in Russia, students bring flowers to the teacher
and receive balloons in return. That sounds like it could be a lot of flowers!
Over in Germany, it’s been a two hundred year tradition to
give young students a large paper cone or ‘Schultüte’ on the first day of school. The cone
is stuffed with candy, small toys and even (!) school supplies. The photo on the left dates back to 1936. (Zeulenroda, Wittig Archiv).
That tradition was
not part of my life here in Canada. I remember the mixed emotions of my
first day at kindergarten. I couldn’t speak English. My mom arranged for an
older girl from the neighbourhood to pick me up and deposit me at the school. I
remember the other girls’ pretty dresses, but have no memory of my own. I do
recall, though, that by grade one I’d become quite comfortable with Dick, Jane,
Sally, Spot and Puff.
where the wedge between my double life began. There was my German immigrant
family at home and my English language world of books. As I grew, so did the rift. So I have some empathy for the issues facing new immigrants and their
children starting school here in Canada.
Now-a-days, back-to-school often means a fancy licensed
backpack with matching school supplies.
time for parents, especially those with several children. We live close to a
school and when I see the kids walk by, holding a parent’s hand, on these first
days, I get nostalgic for my own kids’ schooldays. However, my bank account
appreciates the end of back-to-school.
I used to take time off work during the week of
back-to-school, just to be there for any jitters or tears or happy cheers. Kids
facing the world on their own. A
special time for them. A learning-to-let-go (just a little) time for parents.
Now, it’s just me and Buddy watching the foot traffic
eagerly skipping by on their way to school. Happy first day to all!