Škola: Finding a place for creative learning within the Czech collective

September 9, 2011
Anna putting her backpack on her desk first day of school

Art cases, lunch cards and a locker with a key

Preparations for our daughter’s new role as a prvňák (first grader) began long before her first day of school last week. In the Czech educational system, entering the first class of základní škola (grammar school) is a significant step in a child’s long progression toward “maturity.” The typical age of a first grader ranges from six to eight years, with more students falling toward the older end. Since the Czech school system expects a certain level of psychological maturity more than a particular academic aptitude, parents, especially those of fidgety “late-blooming” boys, often request deferrals. In our case, Anna’s December birthday made her a full six-and-a-half at the year’s start. Although Anna spent the summer excitedly talking about when she’d enter “big” school, I was nervous.

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