We were fortunate to live in Germany when our boys started school. Our children attended German schools and we were honored to be included in their traditions. Lucky for us they send children off to school right! We loved the attention to detail and care taken to make the first day of school a special time. The children entering the first class were  given a special bright orange hat to let us all living in the village know to take special care and pay attention to these children making their way to and from school for the first time.

Before the first day of school the children walk with their families, new back packs and a schultuete through the town to a local church where the children receive a special blessing. What special memories we have!

Now we live back in the states, but had to share this special schultuete tradition with our daughter.

How to make a schultuete

The schultuete is traditionally made from a large piece of cardboard (poster board). Usually the children make them in kindergarten and then the parents fill them with surprises.

We made one for our daughter by cutting out a pie shape from a large piece of poster board.

The cones can be simple to elaborate.  Ours was decorated with a ruler lacing the cone together.

To make a similar schultuete lay a ruler along one of the straight edges and mark where the holes are on the ruler. Punch holes on those markings.

Roll the poster board into a cone shape and mark where the holes are punched. Punch holes on those markings.

Match up the punched holes and hot glue the cone together.

Take a long piece of ribbon and feed it through the holes attaching the ruler to the cone. Tie a bow at the top.

Create some fringe for the top by sewing layers of crepe paper together.

Snip almost to the stitching line on each side.

Hot glue the fringe to the top.

Gather and glue tissue paper to the inside all around the top. This will hide the goodies inside!

Fill the schultuete full of fun school supplies and candy!

Gather up the tissue paper and tie.

Our brand new student!

Originally posted as part of VolunteerSpot’s Views on Back to School Series. VolunteerSpot’s free online sign up sheets save time, eliminate reply-all email, and make it easy for more parents to get involved at school. Register at VolunteerSpot before October 1st, 2010 using promotion code “TeachersSave” for a chance to win $100 in free classroom supplies for the teacher of your choice from ClassWish.

Please check out VolunteerSpot! What an easy time saving (and free) way to coordinate volunteers at school and get more parents involved!

About Cindy Hopper

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  1. I made my very first one this year after seeing pictures on the web last year. It turned out great! I used 12×12 paper instead and it was just big enough for our needs. Our school shares supplies, so I made one filled with new pencils, erasers & a few candies for home. I love what you did with the ruler & the fringe, I’ll have to remember that for next time.

  2. that is awesome!! what a fun tradition to look forward to at the beginning of each school year! thanks for sharing this sweet post

  3. I wish I had known of this tradition earlier. I would have loved to celebrate our German ancestry on the first day of school when my children were little (they are now 21 and 25). My daughter started her senior year in college last week. This would have been a fun way to start her last year. Thanks for sharing.

  4. LOVE this post. We currently live in Deutschland. I learned of this tradition when I started taking adult German classes. The teacher was so cute, she brought one to class filled with German candies, and passed it around the classroom. It is a tradition that I will carry on with my own children as well!

  5. My mother in law is German and I absolutely love that she makes a schultuete for each of my kids when they begin kindergarten.
    I’ll tell you, Germans know how to celebrate special moments!!

  6. I think this is such a neat idea. I might try to adapt it for some other occasion, such as birthdays or Christmas.

  7. How fun! I love that it gets children excited to go to school… and seriously there isn’t a cuter little girl than Miss Bella:)

  8. How sweet! This makes me wish we lived in Germany. I love the thought of the entire community celebrating the first day of school. How special!

  9. This is amazing! Love the tradition of the orange hats so people know they are newbies.

  10. I love this! I love hearing of such neat traditions elsewhere, thanks for sharing, I will incorporate next year when my son starts kindergarten.

  11. Cindy, were currently living in Germany and I think the Schultuete is the most wonderful school tradition. It is such a great way to get the kids excited about the school year. In fact I so wish my oldest was in school so I could make him one. I love your version, especially the way you attached the ruler to the outside.

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