LJWorld.com weblogs Fourth Grade in a Foreign Country

Religion in the School


Ok we’ve got the weekly schedule now, at least on paper. Our daughter’s class actually spent a good chunk of the first week of school rehearsing a play for the new first graders so they really are just starting a routine. The school day is 4 hours and 20 minutes long, from 8:00 am until 12:20 pm. It is divided into 45-minute blocks with one 20-minute break at 9:30 and one 15-minute break at 11:20. On Friday’s, school goes until 1:05 and music is taught in this extra 45-minute block.

The subjects taught in school include: German language arts, Math, English, Human nature and culture (I think this includes the natural/physical sciences), Visual Arts and needlework, Gym, Music, and Religion.

While I think the inclusion of needlework is certainly interesting, I’ll have to get back to that at a later time. For now, I’ll say a few things about Religion class. When trolling the website for this school, I thought I had seen something about religion class but we were told that the school was not religiously affiliated. When filling out the forms for enrollment, however, we were asked to choose a religious affiliation for our daughter’s religion class. Not wanting our daughter to participate in religious education in a public school, we asked to opt out. This was fine, but it meant that our daughter would have to find something else to do with this time – maybe she could go to integration class, but they weren’t sure, maybe she could just read a book. The Recktor then assured us that the class was mostly about morals and ethics and not so much about a particular religious doctrine, and that no matter what school our daughter attended there would be a religion class. Well, we are here to experience another part of the world so we figured why not; it would give our daughter another perspective on the German culture and it sure beat sitting in the hallway. Our only choices however, were Protestant or Catholic. According to the city’s website 5.8% of the population is of some other religious affiliation, and 14.5% claim no religious affiliation. There appears to be a large Muslim population in Heidelberg. Not sure what any of these kids do during religion class. This is such a contentious issue in the US and I am curious to ask the locals their perspective. And do the kids that don’t participate really end up with nothing to do?


Paul R Getto 5 years, 6 months ago

Ethics and morals should be sufficient as curriculum. Thanks for the update. This is a good example of why we try to keep the two separate. The limited choices are interesting.

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

I believe they also pay church tithe through taxes there. Definitely a different perspective.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 6 months ago

I spent a year at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas and we were required to attend chapel every Wednesday. Bethany is a Lutheran school, but at chapel there was a different service every Wednesday in which students of all faiths gave a talk or such. I will never forget Yom Kippur, I am thinking it was, when the Jewish student blew the shofar I enjoyed it and had no problem with learning about different faiths from those who practice it. The school in Germany sounds a lot different than that. But, Protestant and Catholic both have different faiths within the main group. There are hundreds of Protestant church so I am curious as to how many of those would be covered.

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

Schools in the north offer a separate ethics class with no religion. Werte und Normen.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 6 months ago

When you write north do you mean the northern U.S. or northern Germany? Do you think such a class should be mandatory and if it is not, then shouldn't another class be offered at the same time?

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 6 months ago

Am I right in thinking that you and your husband moved to Germany so that your daughter could spend a semester in a school there? Any plans for semesters in other countries? If so, I think your daughter is very lucky to have such parents.

ashworth 5 years, 6 months ago

My husband's work provided an opportunity for us to leave Lawrence temporarily. Because we had visited Germany on several prior occasions it was somewhat familiar and we did think that this would be a unique opportunity for our daughter to live abroad, and for our family to travel. While we are very fortunate to have this opportunity, I think our daughter is reserving judgement on whether she is "lucky" or not.

oldbaldguy 5 years, 6 months ago

the German government helps finance the churches there or at least they use to. church attendance is declining in Europe

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