Girl turns 6 today. As such, she is officially a Schulkind. This means the time has come to purchase a Schulranzen. What’s that, you ask? I’d call it a satchel or a backpack, but this thing is so much more. Beyond the obvious configuration differences – it is more like a nicely decorated hard-sided box with straps – it is NOT just another thing on the list of school supplies.
I remember picking out the right backpack as a kid was a pretty big deal, but it pales in comparison to the importance placed here on getting the perfect Schulranzen. I’m not sure whether this is because many kids will carry the same one through four years of Grundschule (these things are not cheap my friends) or the marketing by companies like Scout really takes hold. In any case, these things are monstrous compared to what I carried (I recently saw a backpack similar to what I carried my first day of school referred to as vintage. When the cracker jack did I reach vintage?). However, they are also designed to exacting ergonomic standards because children here carry their books home, even in the 1st grade. Different from the US, students here are responsible for buying their books and materials (just like in uni). I’ll admit I was a bit aghast at this notion at first until I realised the benefits, not the least of which is ensuring the most up-to-date information is taught (not that I didn’t love those old defaced smelly copies of Man the Mythmaker) and students learn responsibility.
Anyhow, there was a long search because there are a lot of brands and everyone seems to have an opinion on which is the “it” brand you simply must have (especially if you don’t want to be the awkward expat kid teased on the Spielplatz). In the end, we landed on a Scout Buddy, technically from the 2012 design collection. Let’s hope this ocean-life fascination doesn’t end soon. At least not before her party this weekend.