Einschulung – Starting School in Germany

This post contains affiliate links. It means that if you click on the links and make a purchase, we will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. This allows our blog to continue providing you with free information. We only include links and products that we truly believe in. You can read the full disclosure here.

Moving to Germany or new in Germany? Check out our Resources Page for all the help you need!

Curious about starting the school journey in Germany? Get ready for a thrilling dive into the world of Einschulung – the grand entrance to German schools. With oversized backpacks and candy-filled cones, the German back-to-school scene is an unfolding adventure. Let’s explore the traditions and surprises that come with sending your little one on their first day of school in Germany.


Picture this: it’s August, and I find myself in Germany just in time for my nephew’s very first day of school. Six years old and ready for action, this was his leap from kindergarten to school life.

When do kids start school (Einschulung) in Germany?

Kids in Germany are starting school when they hit that magical sixth birthday. But if their birthday falls after a certain date between the end of June and the end of September, they’ve got to wait it out until the following year (depending on which state you are in Germany).

Before their sixth birthday, German kiddos enjoy their Kindergarten days. But hold on, it’s not about ABCs and writing practice; it’s a playground of playtime, adventure, and fostering independence.

The Kindergarten time of my girl in Germany was completely different than how it is in the U.S. or in Hong Kong. In fact, my girl always missed her Kindergarten back in Germany after we moved to the U.S. She told me that it was because she didn’t need to study back in Germany.

For childcare before school age in Germany, check out my article here: Childcare in Germany – Kita and Other Options

A Kindergarten tradition in Germany

So, what happens to the kid on the last day in Kindergarten in Germany?

They got “thrown out” from Kindergarten!

Here is the experience of my nephew in Germany:

He got thrown out of the gate of his Kindergarten by his two teachers.

Guess where he landed?
Yep, on a comfy mattress.

It’s like a spectacular farewell to Kindergarten, complete with a mattress landing. It’s a symbolic wave goodbye to Kindergarten and a bright “hello” to school days. The bittersweet emotions is marking the transition from one chapter to the next.

Read also: German Parenting Style: What are the Secrets?

Einschulung – The German school bags

Ah, the German school bags – or as they call them, Schulranzen.

When I was working in Germany, I heard my coworkers talking about these backpacks. I never understood it back then. It costs more than 200 EUR for these tiny backpacks!

I just couldn’t believe it. You see, back in Hong Kong where I grew up, regular backpacks were the norm. Yet in Germany, school bags are enormous, heavy, and expensive. But practically, everyone’s got one. Coming from Hong Kong, it was a shock to the system.

These aren’t your average backpacks; they’re more like the superhero version – sturdier, larger, and definitely weightier.

Families start their school bags hunt as early as February for the grand school opening in September. The twist? These backpacks are built to go the distance – they’re designed to last for years, which is a pretty neat concept.

I struggled to wrap my head around it. The price, the weight – it all seemed overwhelming. But guess what? It’s a German tradition. Parents either chase bargains or opt for second-hand options.

Even though I’m not in Germany anymore, I’m well aware that this is a serious deal. It’s all about the Schulranzen, a major component of the back-to-school event.

school bag_Einschulung_starting school in germany_my life in germany
The school bag of my nephew

Einschulung – what happens on the first day of school in Germany?

Now, picture this: it’s the first day of school. Imagine the whole crew – parents, grandparents, and other family members – marching toward the school in unity.

I went to the Einschulung of my nephew and it almost looked like a big festival to me. The place was full of excitement.

The performance and the speech

After we arrived at my nephew’s school, the spotlight was on the older kids. They were having a performance with songs and dance moves.

We were all gathered outside, enjoying the performance. And then, the school director came. He delivered a speech that set the tone for the day.

So, what’s the next scene? The newbies – including my nephew – stepped up to the front row and claimed their seats. After the speech, my nephew and the other kids followed their class teacher to their classroom.

The introduction for the kids

While we and the other parents waited outside, these little kids were on a VIP tour. They were getting the lowdown on everything – the bathroom’s coordinates, their designated seat, the teacher’s name, etc.

But here’s the catch: they were not diving into textbooks on day one. Nope, it’s more of a “Welcome to School” introductory tour, a behind-the-scenes peek.

This all took about 45 minutes. Once it was a wrap, they stepped out. And guess what’s waiting?

Yep, the school Schultüte!

The Schultüte

Time to chat about the Schultüte – that’s the fancy German term for a school cone. Imagine receiving this gigantic paper cone on your very first day of school, packed with all sorts of cool treasures.

Back in the day, it was stuffed with sweets, which is why some folks call it a Zuckertüte (that’s “sugar cone” in German).

Nowadays, it’s also filled with small gifts and school supplies.

These cones stretch about 80cm in length. And let me tell you, they’re a big deal in Germany.

Some kids prefer making them at home, while others go for ready-made options. Kids bring these cones to school on the first day, but they usually hold off on opening them at school.

My nephew made his own Schultüte at home with my sister-in-law. He was super excited about it.

And guess what? The first day of school is such a big event in Germany that some shops are more than happy to fill the Schultüte for you – for free!

My family and I moved to the US earlier this year, so we missed out on the Schultüte tradition firsthand. I can’t personally walk you through buying or filling one.

However, I’m in the loop enough to know that many parents in Germany do it. And it’s a major part of the back-to-school ritual. Kids go wild over these cones, adding an extra layer of excitement to their first school day.

Imagine starting school in Germany with a giant cone of awesomeness – that’s the Schultüte experience!

school cone_Einschulung_starting school in germany_my life in germany
Image by annca from Pixabay

The big party after the first day of school (Einschulung) in Germany

So, the real school hustle starts on day two. Day one is all about getting oriented.

But hold on – the fun’s not over yet. After all of these on the first school day, it’s time for the after-party.

Yep, you read that right. It’s a full-on celebration involving the entire family and the crew.

Each family may celebrate it differently. In our case, we all went to my nephew’s home afterward. There were gifts, cakes, coffee, etc.

My Daughter’s Missed Einschulung in Germany

My first taste of the Einschulung adventure in Germany was thanks to my little nephew.

My own daughter missed out on this roller coaster ride because we moved to the US in January. She didn’t get to experience the Einschulung herself in Germany.

But you know what’s heartwarming? Once we returned home, she got crafty and created her very own “Schultüte” using paper and her artistic talent. She plans to bring it to her school when she starts first grade in the US. It’s like bringing a slice of Germany to her new adventure. Adorable, right?

Pin it for later:

pinterest edited_Einschulung_starting school in germany_my life in germany
Image by Bruno from Pixabay

Have your kids experienced Einschulung in Germany? What is your experience of starting school in Germany? Do you celebrate the first day of school in your home country too? Leave a comment below and share your experiences!

About the author

Originally from Hong Kong, Sindy spent 13 years in Germany before moving to the US. Her blog is your ultimate resource for navigating Germany, offering pro tips on bureaucracy, job hunting, education, culture, family life, and more.

With a "been there, done that" attitude, Sindy, a certified public accountant, draws on her extensive finance and accounting background to provide professional insights with a friendly touch.

Having navigated German life with her German husband and raising two kids there, Sindy brings a personal touch to her advice. Let this blog help fellow expats like you navigate the ins and outs of life in Germany!

More info about the author

Moving to Germany or new in Germany? Check out our Resources Page for all the help you need!

If you found this article helpful, consider supporting this website by buying me a coffee. Every small donation helps to keep this blog alive. You can also ask me any questions here.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Buy me a coffee




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *