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Elternabend

This school stuff is starting to get serious. We had our first *Elternabend* (parent's evening) at the school in Jesteburg last night in preparation for the *Einschulung* (start of first grade) on Saturday. (*Einschulung* is a big deal... more on that later.) This is my first experience with the German school system, and here are a few things that struck me.

* Classes are referred to by number... Christopher is in the class 1C. As I recall our classes were referred to by name, which can be confusing if Miss Crabtree becomes Mrs. Fletcher in the middle of the school year.

* The class size is 18, down from the announced 20. We suspect the principal was gaming the system by adding phantom children to the list of first graders to ensure there would be 4 classes instead of 3.

* We had to prepare folders for 4 subjects: German, Math, Science and Social Science *(Sachunterricht)*, and Religion and Music. Sport is also a subject, but has no folder.

* The class will stay together and have the same teacher for all four years in the *Grundschule*.

* School materials (folders, scissors, paper, etc.) are organized by the teacher and paid for by the parents. This is in addition to the exact list of materials (pencils, crayons, paints) that we were told to buy. The first contribution was €35 per child, with more to come.

* Class for first graders is from 8:30 to 12:00. There's a breakfast break at 10:00 (bring your own). As a special service to working parents, you can apply to have your child be supervised an extra hour, until 1:00.

* Since Lüllau is 4.5 km away from Jesteburg, Christopher will take the bus to school. There's no bus schedule, you have to just know when the bus comes (luckily, we know it comes at 8:10). All the first graders from Lüllau are in the same class.

* Parents were asked to volunteer for crossing guards, library, computer help, crafts, or field trips.

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