School Enrollment and First Day at School

The German school system differs from the school systems in most countries. I already wrote another article about this topic, but today I want to talk about a special event in the life of every student: die Einschulung – school enrollment and the first day at school.


Einschulung - Learn German at magicGerman
  • Einschulung = school enrollment. Example: Die Einschulung erfolgt in Deutschland in der Regel im Alter von sechs Jahren (In Germany, school enrollment usually takes place at the age of six.)
  • Einschulung = First day of school. Example: Zur Einschulung erhält jedes Kind eine Schultüte. (On their first day of school, every child gets a “Schultüte”.)

Some Legal Stuff

In Germany, school enrollment usually takes place when the child is six years old. The age cut-off date varies depending on the Bundesland (state). There are also special rules for children who show the necessary school maturity (die Schulreife) and want to be enrolled in school early. Parents must apply to get their kids enrolled early and various tests are carried out before the application is approved. An application can also be made if the parents want a later school enrollment. However, schooling is compulsory in Germany (die Schulpflicht). This is to ensure that all children receive the necessary general education (die Allgemeinbildung). Compulsory education lasts 12 years, with the first nine to ten years being full-time education.

Einschulung - Learn German at magicGerman

First Day of School

On the first day of school, parents accompany their children to school. Usually, there is an event in the auditorium (die Aula) and the young students and their parents are welcomed by the school’s principal (der Rektor). After that the students are divided into different classes.

Mein erster Schultag - Learn German with magicGerman
My first day of school!

In the classroom (das Klassenzimmer), the class teacher (der Klassenlehrer / die Klassenlehrerin) greets the students and parents. Then the teacher talks about organisational matters: the timetable (der Stundenplan) is handed out, the parents get information about additional material the students need for the lesson (der Unterricht) and they get their questions answered. In addition, the first class photo (das Klassenfoto) is taken. Often, a photographer is invited, so you can be sure that everyone has a nice souvenir of the day.

School Enrollment Traditions

Einschulung - Learn German with magicGerman

Every child receives a satchel (der Ranzen) when they start school. Of course, there are also some books and notebooks. In addition, every German elementary school student (der Grundschüler / die Grundschülerin) has a pencil case (das Mäppchen). This is where the fountain pen (der Füller) and pencils are kept. 

But the children are most excited about die Schultüte. This is a large, cone-shaped cardboard container that is usually brightly decorated. In the Schultüte are some more school materials, but above all a lot of sweets. 

The Schultüte has a long tradition. You can buy them already decorated, but many parents also make and decorate them themselves. There are opportunities offered in the last year of kindergarten, when the parents meet and do this in a group.

Vocabulary List:

  • die Einschulung
  • die Reife / Schulreife
  • die Schulpflicht
  • die Allgemeinbildung
  • die Aula
  • der Rektor
  • die Klasse
  • das Klassenzimmer
  • der Klassenlehrer 
  • die Klassenlehrerin
  • der Stundenplan
  • der Unterricht
  • das Klassenfoto
  • der Ranzen
  • die Grundschule
  • der Grundschüler 
  • die Grundschülerin
  • das Mäppchen
  • der Füller
  • die Schultüte

How does school enrollment work in your country? What traditions are there?

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