School starts: September 1941

In 1940 the enrolment for new pupils had been at Easter-time. I had not been allowed to go to school then because I was not six years old yet. (I turned six in September 1940). That means, when I was finally allowed to go to school, I was nearly seven., because in 1941 enrolments did not take place till September. In our school we had four first year classes: two boys’ classes and two girls’ classes. In each class were fifty children!

School lessons lasted for twice fifty minutes. There was a ten minute break (Pause) in between the two lessons. For me it was very important to be eating my buttered bread roll (Butterbrötchen) during that ‘Pause’. And when during the following year we sometimes had three lessons in one day, gee, that made me feel really grown up! I could not wait to have more and more lessons. I liked school that much!

On enrolment day my mother took me to school. I was given a large cone shaped bag that day. This cone shaped bag – Zuckertüte – was filled with sweets and fruit to sweeten the day. It is still the custom in Germany, that a child who starts school, be given such a bag. Of course, there are always pictures taken to commemorate the occasion!

My class was called 1 A and my teacher was a lovely elderly lady called Fräulein Anders. Rosemarie, a girl who lived a few blocks away from me, was in 1 B and her teacher’s name was Fräulein Bröde. We children would quite naughtily talk about her as ‘Fräulein Blöde’, which means ‘Miss Stupid”.

Rosemarie and I would walk to school together. We would have been shocked, if somebody had seen us being taken to school by an adult. No adult ever would have thought to accompany us on our fifteen minute walk to school. It was unheard of, that children could not walk to school on their own! Even when our school was evacuated to another school-building further away, we always walked to school on our own.

Here is the picture of me with my ‘Zuckertüte’ in front of the school!

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “School starts: September 1941

  1. Wow.. that’s a big cone bag to be filled with sweets, for a 6-year old. Must have been fun!

    When I hear of schooling in the old days, it makes me question the ways of today. Why do we subject our children to the rigours, earlier in life? In most parts of India, formal school starts at age 4. Playschools or pre-schools start even sooner at age 2!!
    I don’t think it’s fair to their childhood.

    1. The way I remember it I would have loved to have started school much earlier. I was most upset that I had to wait for sooo long till I was allowed to go to school. And I am sure I would have loved kindergarten. I remember questioning my mum, why I couldn’t go to kindergarten. I knew 3 year olds who were allowed to go. If they can go, why can’t I? Her answer was that these kids had to go because their mums had to go to work. Since I had a mum who didn’t need to go to work, I was allowed to stay home and I should be happy about this.

      I just heard about our great-grandchildren, 3 and 4 year old girls. They recently started kindergarten and loved it so much, that they would have liked to go there also on weekends! Their mum (our grandson’s wife) is just starting her own blog. I’m very much looking forward to read some of her writing.

      1. Weren’t you lucky to love school? I did too, but that was probably because I excelled in every sphere that time. My son went to 3 different playschools, due to our change of residence. Each one took days, sometimes weeks of crying before he could adjust. The last one was where he became truly comfortable, so much so, that there were days when he would refuse to leave from there!

        I guess it depends on the preferences of each child. Unfortunately, our systems don’t allow for that kind of flexibility. I have seen innumerable kids wailing and literally being pulled out of their homes or pushed into the playschools, around my neighbourhood. I have seen many more who sit quietly in their own corner and do as they are told. The latter group makes me really sad. It seems like they have resigned to their fate, since they don’t have a say in it anyway.

        I just wish our world would be less competitive like in the olden days, so that all our actions are not governed by ‘oh, my kid will be left behind’. Rather wish we had the freedom to be flexible to accommodate our children’s needs!

  2. I am sorry to hear that in your experience there’s not enough flexibility in your systems to accomodate your children’s needs. I wonder whether boys’ needs may be slightly different from girls’ needs? What are your thoughts on this?

    1. I just googled ‘Montessori Schools in India’ and found out that you have quite a few of these schools. Have you heard of them? Maybe a school like this would be good for your son.

      My great-grandchildren, who just started Kindergarten, are enrolled in a Montessori Kindergarten and love it!

      1. Ummm, Auntyuta.. I was talking more about the general scenario, not specifically about my son. I appreciate your offering suggestions, though.The questions we have raised here, it’s a whole blog post waiting to be written!

        It’s nice to hear that your great-grandchildren are loving their school. Having the company of a sibling in school doubles the joy, I assume.

  3. Thanks for the prompt reply. Writing a blog about this subject? Great idea! Go for it! This is for sure a subject worth writing about. Please do check out the Montessori Schools. You only have to google it. I am sure you’d be interested to find out what they stand for.

    Stephanie, our grandson’s wife, said today on facebook she wished she would have been able to go to a Montessori School as a child. When she starts her blog I can give you a link to it if you’re interested in having a look at it to see what she’s on about.She’s a woman with a variety of special interests. She started writing at a very early age. When she was only 12 she was already interested in Reiki.

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