Monday, September 15, 2008

Welcome to Fall - School has started!

Schulanfang! Achtung Kinder!
(School is starting! Watch out for children!)
Summer is officially over, as is marked by the start of a new school season. There are these signs up all over Urdorf and similar posters all over Zurich, reminding everyone that school has started and that drivers especially should be mindful of all the kiddies going to and from school. At first I thought this strange, but then again, more kids here are apt to walk to school than in the States. For example, I have yet to see a school bus driving about, probably because public transport takes care of that, too. Ahh I miss the big yellow buses...

I had to laugh the first time I walked to the bus stop and I saw a few little girls, no older than 4, with big, HUGE backpacks on that were probably three times bigger than their entire torsos, making them look more like mini-backpackers than kindergartners. Add to this that I think all children bring a change of clothes with them to school everyday for gym, which they carry in a string taught bag on their fronts, and these little ones are completely out of balance, waddling to class.

The kindergartners are actually pretty easy to spot, considering they wear bright orange, reflective vests. It is especially cute when they go to cross the street, too, because the signs do work and drivers are very careful to stop for the wee ones.

Jace told me about a little girl, again maybe four (guessing though, but she was wearing the orange vest!), that stopped on one side of the road and waited for the coming car to stop, but then she didn't move. Although there were no other cars coming in the opposite direction at the moment, she waited a few seconds until a car did come and as soon as it stopped she looked both directions and only then did she cross. And guess what, the drivers didn't even move or wave her on or get frustrated as the cars lined up behind the first. They just waited. Isn't that great? I love how smart she was, too. They teach them well here! Then again, she probably was reminded to stop by helpful hints like these below.

These little footprints are really little, kid sized feet, and they are on both sides of the street, in strategic points on the way to school, reminding kids to stop and look before crossing. I especially love the painted reminders that are of bare feet, but I have yet to take a photo of those.

Welcome to Fall everyone. Welcome back to school Swiss style.


Anonymous said...

The kindergarten wear orange, and first grade wears yellow triangles! It's so cute. And when they start school the Police and Firemen come to show them the proper way to walk to school (yes. ALL children walk to school!) and they are supposed to walk in pairs when they are little. Of course they do it 4 times a day, so they get good at it quickly! (to school, home for lunch, back to school, back home) I would definitely say they are 5 at the minimum, 4 is too young for kindergarten. I love when you see a parade of triangles as they take the kids on field trips. :-)

San-Daleen said...

just a quick comment: my son joined kindergarten in our village and he only turns 5 in october, so they are very small.
and frankly, i was a little freaked to let him walk alone, but it's almost his first school holiday, so it's going great...
in swiss german they call the orange bands kindski (kindergarten) streifen (strypes) and the k is pronounced as a guttaral g...


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