Information on German school backpacks

The school satchel hype has got me confused

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kdnwbrry
My daughter begins second grade at the German school next week. We have been trying to figure out what supplies she will need, but apparently we won't know that until school starts. We got her a fountain pen, colored pencils and opaque paints so far. One thing I did notice when she did here snupperwoche (visitation week) was that all of the kids had fancy backpacks by Scout, McNeill, 4you and Sammies. Is is okay for a kid to use a regular American backpack? How do you know what size to buy if you do spring the 150 euro for one of these fancy packs? Where can I find them cheaper? HELP!

Thanks,
Kim
Gorgo
what's a "regular American backpack" and what's the difference to a "regular German backpack"?
sarabyrd
German schools are picky about taking care of their precious books (a theory I cannot support, thinking of the state some of Cat's books were in by the tenth year they were being used) and prefer a backpack with a sturdy frame.

Check the backpack for weight, your daughter will be shlepping about 3 - 5kg of books and materials around. The less her backpack weighs the better.

Check for "green" qualities if you can afford to.

If you find a cheapy one that doesn't weigh too much and isn't toxic but doesn't have reflecting stickers: Buy it, then buy the reflecting stickers and stick them on (Kabuco, Obi, department stores should have them, "reflektierende Aufkleber"). Buy enough to stick them on her coat as well! School starts in the dead of night (it always seemed so to me), your kid's safety should be your main concern.

I recommend Real or HIT or even ALDI for cheap packs. Don't let the hype get you. Find advantages and neat features on your cheapy backpack that your daughter can trump others with if they start teasing her. A well-placed "Der Schüler ist mehr als nur sein Ranzen" should floor them (The pupil is worth more than just the backpack).
Corcaigh
Also don't forget her "Schultüte" on the first day... otherwise she'll feel very left out...

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schult%C3%BCte
kati
Schultüte is only once in a lifetime, first year.
We got a Scout Schulranzen for 60 EUR (last season, blue with flowers, not too much pink) at the little crammed shop on the corner at Stachus (the one that's perpetually advertising 70% off, sale, closing, etc..).
don_riina
Just get a rectangular cardboard box that is approximately 57% the size of your child, attach a couple of straps, and spray paint random crap all over it, using the most garish colour schemes you can possibly think of - download a colour wheel for example, and make sure you pick nicely opposing that hopefully make your eyes almost bleed when you look at it. I'm pretty sure that is what most parents do here.
UrbanAngel
Read this thread which I found searching for 'school bag': German school bags for children - Advice on which one to buy.
osmachar
How about an old-fashioned satchel - but they don't come cheap
http://tannersalleyleather.com/Satchel259.JPG
http://waldorfshop.eu/product_info.php/inf...chulranzen.html

Here are cheaper ones:
http://www.ciao.de/Schulranzen_Rucksacke_80933_4

Or a trolley rucksak:
http://www.yatego.com/purzel-versand/p,479...chulranzen-pink
UrbanAngel
I don't think that any 1 shoulder strap bag like a satchel should be recommended at all for German school kids who have to carry their books around with them the whole day. Better is a padded and sturdy double shoulder rucksack.
don_riina
Pfff. People come up with the wrong solutions for problems.

Lots of books to carry = pig ugly massive double strapped satchel? I say replace silly archaic paper books with e-books, and condense what a kid has to carry into a handheld reader, or laptop at worst. It is 2008. Schools are idiots.
mlovett
yikes, I had no idea there was so much hype and peer pressure over backpacks! Do I need to upgrade my son's Kindergarten pack?
osmachar
Pfff. People come up with the wrong solutions for problems.

Lots of books to carry = pig ugly massive double strapped satchel? I say replace silly archaic paper books with e-books, and condense what a kid has to carry into a handheld reader, or laptop at worst. It is 2008. Schools are idiots.
Nope, give everyone a blackberry and they can put it in their pockets - so no need for a bag.
toko
yikes, I had no idea there was so much hype and peer pressure over backpacks! Do I need to upgrade my son's Kindergarten pack?
I went to elementary school in the 80's. Even then Scout had a wide range. Any boy without a Panther or Dolphin (Black or red) was considered a girl. Can't remember the name for the dark green, but it was acceptable,too. The preferences shifted. I was in a blues class, my brother in a green one. And since they brought out new models eery year, but you kept your model you could even differentiate the grades. Girls had to have it red, pink or whatever they had then.
The Amigo Kids were always boastin, but considered 'inferior'. It varied, but in classes with a Scout majority it happened that you kicked the Amigos when you encountered one unattended, never a scout. Other brands than Scout or Amigo were considered lowest caste... dirty hobos and latchkey kids.

The same class fight happened about the brand of pens you had. Pelikan, Geha, LAMY...

But seriously, those stiffer things are indeed better for the back. I carried tons around with me. There was a scale integrated in the handle and it was fully stretched most of the times.
DDBug
Doh! Have to go pen shopping this week. ...
mlovett
I went to elementary school in the 80's. Even then Scout had a wide range. Any boy without a Panther or Dolphin (Black or red) was considered a girl. Can't remember the name for the dark green, but it was acceptable,too. The preferences shifted. I was in a blues class, my brother in a green one. And since they brought out new models eery year, but you kept your model you could even differentiate the grades. Girls had to have it red, pink or whatever they had then.
The Amigo Kids were always boastin, but considered 'inferior'. It varied, but in classes with a Scout majority it happened that you kicked the Amigos when you encountered one unattended, never a scout. Other brands than Scout or Amigo were considered lowest caste... dirty hobos and latchkey kids.

The same class fight happened about the brand of pens you had. Pelikan, Geha, LAMY...
YIKES. Germans are scarier sheople than I thought! You just reinforced my desire to go back to the States after our 2 year stint here (we have the option to stay longer...). Nobody gives a rat's ass there what backpack you have! LOL
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