The first day of school can be scary for first-graders who aren't used to being away from home for an entire day. In order to ease the transition, Orange Hunt Elementary, which offers the only German immersion program in the county, implemented the German tradition of Schultuete, designed to alleviate first-day fears.
"In Germany, children attend kindergarten from age 3 to 6, so it's a big deal to go to first grade," said Nicole Brown, the co-liaison for the German immersion program at Orange Hunt.
On Tuesday, parents sent their children to school with a Schultuete, a decorated cardboard cone filled with edible treats, notes and school supplies.
All upcoming first-graders and their parents received supplies necessary for making the cones at the school's open house. They then decorated them at home.
"We developed some uniform guidelines for filling the Schultueten," said Brown. "Parents were asked to fill them with healthy treats."
"It's a great program," said Gertie Kessler, the German immersion program's first-grade teacher. "Kids from former years always stop by and say 'hi' on the first day."
This year, those students in the immersion program will learn math, science and health in German. Social studies and language arts are taught in English, said Brown.
"It's good that the [students] first experience with German is with Frau Kessler. She's strict but motherly," said Christie Budreau, parent of a first-grader beginning the program this year.