Nadia is starting Grade 1 and in Germany this is celebrated with something called Einschulungsfest, which is "Enrollment Festival" in English. I think Einschulungsfest sounds way more fun! :) This event happens at 3:00 p.m. the day before the first graders have their first full day of school. The rest of the school began the school year on Monday and the grade 2 class spent time that day and the next preparing a program to welcome all the grade 1's!
Right at the end of Nadia's last Kindergarten year, we had the option of purchasing these special cones, (called a Schultüte) which all first graders bring to their first day of school. Nadia chose the unicorn design. These Kindergarten teachers or parents - I'm not really sure who - worked hard and traced all the little pieces to decorate this cone. I had to cut out some of the stuff, but wow - most of the work was done for me! I had to assemble the cone and that certainly took some time, but I got to do it together with a few friends. Traditionally this Schultüte is filled with school supplies and some treats for the kids. We followed tradition and put Nadia's school supplies in as well as a couple of little goodies. What a fun tradition to be a part of!
Both kids have been enjoying their new school year. Nadia has jumped right in and is having a lot of fun! Grade 1 is really more like Kindergarten in Canada. They learn letters, and work to fully understand numbers. They don't just learn to count to 100. They learn, for example, that you can make 5 with 1 and 4, or with 2 and 3. From what I understood at the grade 1 parents' meeting, they will focus on 1-10 for the first half of the year, and 11-20 during the second half.
At CSK the whole school follows the same disciplinary system. They get tickets if they've misbehaved, and the ticket goes in a little pocket with their name on it. Also, if they've shown their behaviour is improving, the ticket can be removed from their pocket. Nadia's teachers told us that they haven't explained this system to the children yet as they haven't needed it! I think this info made all of us parents feel great about the class environment. Hopefully this good behaviour continues!
Keegan's year is also off to a good start! He's excited to be doing a project on the solar system. The planet he's chosen to feature is Jupiter. He's considering making a papier-mâché model of the planet. He'll be doing a presentation in front of his class and will get to ask the class questions about his project. I think this is to see whether they've been listening! :) He's playing soccer again this year which will be both fun and challenging, I think. He loves the game, but like most kids, isn't a fan of losing! It's just not as much fun!
September 19 I went to Basel to pick up my longtime-iest friend, Char and her aunt Leona. They spent four days here in our neck of the woods before heading off to Berlin. We enjoyed a parade in Auggen - celebrating their Winzerfest (Wine Festival). There were so many different groups dressed in traditional German garb, men carrying wooden half-barrels on their backs filled with grapes that they were passing out, and people with ceramic jugs of wine walking around filling and refilling the wine glasses you could purchase for 2 Euros, and of course good German marching bands. It was a fantastic cultural experience! We also spent a morning in Lörrach, went up to the Burg Rötteln, and had supper together back at our place. I gave them some tips on exploring the Alsace region of France, and the Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle which they not only took under advisement, but actually did! Our last day together I had to work, and then we enjoyed supper together from Alpenblick on 5 Euro schnitzel night! Yay! :) We shared a LOT of laughter together over those five days! We're so glad they came to see us!!
Sadly, Nadia spent most of the second last week of September in bed with a stomach bug. She missed some fun activities at school, including picture day. I'm probably more sad about that than she is because I don't want her to not be in the class picture. But, what can you do?
Also in September we said goodbye to one of our neighbours. Doris was in her early 70's and had been battling cancer for a bit more than a year. She was always so lovely to us. She'd always say hello and wave, and when our local grocery store was handing out Fussball stickers, she would save them and give them to Keegan. He loved it! A very sweet lady who we - and the rest of our neighbourhood - will miss seeing on our street!