Children and School
How is the school in the Czech Republic?
In the Czech Republic, children start school at the age of six. Like us, many children go to kindergarten beforehand. The primary school for all students is nine years. The first five years of school are combined and then the 6th to 9th grade. In the first level a teacher teaches almost all subjects, in the second level a teacher usually only teaches one subject. “Elementary school” means in Czech: základní škola.
Those who are very good at school can switch to a grammar school after the 5th or 7th grade, the gymnázium. But this is also possible after the 9th grade. In any case, you have to pass an entrance exam there. You can apply to up to three grammar schools and you can fail the exam once – so you can repeat it once. Tests are carried out in mathematics and Czech, for example.
At the grammar school you can then do the Abitur. You have to go to school for a total of 13 years. The Abitur is called Maturita in the Czech Republic. The students at the grammar school are called studenti. In the last school year, the students meet with their teacher and he gives everyone a “ribbon”. It is hung on the school bag and so everyone can see: This student is doing high school graduation this school year. Before the final exams in May, all high school graduates present themselves on a board, the tablo, which is displayed in a shop window.
Grades, lessons and foreign languages
There are also grades in the Czech Republic. They are like ours, but there is no 6. 1 is the best grade and 5 is the worst. Like us, a lesson lasts 45 minutes. Lessons are held from Monday to Friday. The first foreign language is learned from the 3rd grade. Mostly it’s English, sometimes German. Until around 1995, the Czech Republic was the only country where more students learned German than English. So that’s different now.
The school year always starts on September 1st and lasts until June next. Summer holidays are in July and August. Check thembaprograms to see schooling information in other European countries.
Children in the Czech Republic
Many children in the Czech Republic enjoy doing sports. Hockey, soccer and canoeing are particularly popular, but many also like skating, basketball and cycling. In winter you can go skiing and tobogganing in the nearby mountains. The children also enjoy listening to music and playing on the computer.
And what are the names of the children in the Czech Republic?
Girls are often called Tereza, Natalie, Anna, Adela, Eliska, Karolina, Katerina, Barbora, Lucie or Kristyna. Boys are often called Jakub, Jan, Tomas, Lukas, Ondrej, Vojtech, Matej, Adam, Daniel or Filip. Petr, Jiri, Marek, František and Karel are also typical. You also know some names from German, others are rather unusual with us.
The most common surnames are Novák (in German that would be Neumann), Svoboda (freedom), Novotny (also Neumann), Dvořák (Hoffmann), Černý (black) and Procházka (walk). What would you like to be called if you were allowed to choose a Czech name?
Christmas in the Czech Republic
How do you celebrate Christmas in the Czech Republic?
In Advent in the Czech Republic, as in our country, the streets in the inner cities are decorated with fairy lights and Christmas decorations. The houses are also decorated. There is a lot of activity at Christmas markets. Christmas cookies are baked at home.
Even the Santa Claus is known in the Czech Republic. But already on December 5th, on the eve of St. Nicholas’ Day, he distributed small gifts to the children. There are many traditions and customs and it is also called “Bohemian Christmas”.
Christmas trees are set up and decorated in the houses. Gifts are given on Christmas Eve. Traditionally, Christmas carp is eaten after a fish soup, and there is potato salad. Incidentally, the carp is bought alive a few days in advance and petted in the bathtub before it ends up on the table breaded! Many families attend midnight mass in the evening.
December 25th and 26th are also public holidays. You visit the family and have a festive meal, especially typical Bohemian dishes such as duck with cabbage and dumplings.
Chopping apples is one of the Christmas traditions. You cut through an apple and the arrangement of the cores indicates the future: If a star appears, it will be a good year, if you see a cross, it means bad luck next year.
Christmas markets are also known in the Czech Republic. There is a large market in Prague in the Old Town Square. There is a huge Christmas tree there and everything is decorated for Christmas. Many stalls invite you to try delicacies or buy a present. You can also try Trdelnik here. This is a pastry that actually comes from Slovakia, but is now sold particularly successfully in Prague. It is a pastry that is baked on a roll like Baumkuchen. You can buy it simply sprinkled with sugar, but also filled with ice cream or sweet cream.