And so back to the fun and games that is German bureaucracy.....
H (5) is in the last year of Kindergarten and next year becomes 'Schulpflichtig' meaning that he is required by law to attend school, no not be educated / learn etc but actually, physically go to a school and be taught there - you are not allowed to home school in Germany (in fact one German family was granted asylum in the USA as their human rights had been infringed by not being allowed to home school - but that's a whole other kettle of fish). As part of the preparation for entry into Primary School or Grundschule, each 5 year old is required to attend a pre-school medical.
This appointment is generated automatically and you are required to attend the regional health department to see the civil service doctors for a series of tests and examinations to ensure that the child is ready to go to school and that it can enter mainstream schooling without any problems. We did this today, and H is not due (by German standards) to go to school until August when the next academic year starts, although we have chosen to opt out of the German state system and enter the International school system here instead and he will start after Christmas (this is a bit of a fudge of the two systems, UK and German - H would have started Reception in the UK last year but in the German system wouldn't start until next year - so he's going into Year 1 in January hopefully early enough not to have missed too much in the UK system, but with long enough in a German speaking Kindergarten to get the language well grounded).
We arrive a bit before the duly appointed time - and fortunately, they're running early (hurrah!) so H gets taken in to an office for a hearing and sight check whilst I have to grapple with some German forms about his behaviour and social skills (I can't help but think if I'd been in the UK that the form would have been provided in my own language to make it all a bit easier) I wasn't sure I'd completely grasped the right way to answer the questions but on further discussion with the doctor's assistant it seemed I had, thank goodness! H then had to answer a series of basic questions based upon counting and colours etc as well as some simple drawing/copying tasks. He accomplished all this without problem fortunately.
His 'Red Book' or baby record was checked for immunisation details, birth details, weights and measurements - and this always causes debate as the UK and Germany don't share the same immunisation schedules, the same system of developmental checks, even the same basic recording of birth data - so we muddle through and understand that some information is not available - cue much huffing and puffing - and that yes, I do know we haven't had X jab or done Y check - in this case, Hepatitis B being the immunisation - not regularly done in the UK, part of the standard baby jabs in Germany and also no significant baby development checks - done very regularly in Germany and not at all in the UK (see my post on the U Appointments for more on these checks). Anyway we beg to differ, but all is well.
We then have to wait to see the real doctor - and after a while are called through and some of the same checks are repeated, followed by some more complex drawing and describing exercises - well all going well here until H is asked to repeat something which he'd already said - and down comes the wall and he's not playing ball anymore - had enough of doing and saying and following instruction. Now I'm sure this is all part and parcel of ensuring they are ready for school, but H is a very stubborn fellow and an immovable force - thank goodness after much cajoling, threatening and stern talking to he finally went back to finish most of the exercises and we have our signed piece of paper to say we are ready for school - not that it actually matters as he has his place for January anyway, but these hoops are here to jump through. The threat that he'd have to come back and go through the whole thing again was too much to contemplate for him and me and fortunately he saw sense and got back to it.
Of course, once we'd left the building the little darling was full of all the answers to the questions asked of him, and could I shut the bugger up!