Age has been a very important factor affecting how German schoolboys were dressed. Our information on the 19th century is still limited. This seems an especially important factor in the first half of the 20th century, but began to decline in importance in the 1960s. Here a key age is 6 years old. This was when children began schools. Which is helpful because we can easily identify the age of the children in their First Day portraits. Some children began school earlier by attending Kindergarten. This included children 3-5 years of age. This was, however, a minority of the children even in major cities. Most children began attending school at age 6 years. Volksschule had a 4 years after which the children's academic track and type of school varied. This depended bpoth on the child's academic capabilities and social class. Before World war Ii, few working-class children attended secondary school. Most children continued attending some kind of school through age 13 years. A minority of children pursued seconfary education and remained in various types of secondary school until about 18-19 years of age. Many of the photographs we have found do not specify the age of the children. We can roughly estimate ages, but welcome readers to comment if you think we are off here.
Here a key age is 6 years old. This was when children began schools. Which is helpful because we can easily identify the age of the children in their First Day portraits. Some children began school earlier by attending Kindergarten. This included children 3-5 years of age. This was, however, a minority of the children even in major cities. Most children began attending school at age 6 years. And we have a wonderful record because so many German parents took photographs or had professional portraits taken on their first day of school. One charming tradition was to award the children with a big cone full of goodies.
Age 10 was an important age for children. They began their last year of Volksschule (there were other terms for primary school) at age 9 and many were 10 by the time they finished. Thus at age 10 they began their next stage of education. Unlike Volkschule the choices led the children into very different education programs.
We do not yet have much information on 19th century schoolwear trends. We know, however, a great deal about the 20th century. Children at this age could attend different types of schools. Most working-class children stayed in their Volksshule or other type of primary school. Middle class children commonly went on to secondary school, although there were academic standards that had to be met. There were different kinds of gynasiums with a variety of academic orograms. The type of school affected how children dressed, primarily because of the social-class differences involved. Almost all 11-year olds knee pants or short pants to school. This did not change until after World War II, At first younger boys first began wearing long pants during the Winter, but gradually they became common throughout the year.
We believe the smaryly dressed boys here are about 12 years old (figure 1). They look to us like thet are younger boys at some kind of gymnasium (German secondary school). Almost all 12 years olds wore knee pants or short pants until the post-World War II era. The school portrait here is a good example of this.
Related Chronolgy Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[Main Chronology Page]
[The 1880s] [The 1890s]
[The 1900s] [The 1910s] [The 1920s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s] [The 1960s] [The 1970s] [The 1980s] [The 1990s]
Related Style Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[Main school uniform page]
[Main country page]
[Long pants suits] [Short pants suits] [Socks] [Eton suits]
[Jacket and trousers] [Blazer [School sandals]
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing School Uniform Pages
[Return to the Main German school uniform page]
[Return to the Main School Uniform Page]
[Australia] [England] [France] [Italy] [Japan] [New Zealand] [Scotland]
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Page
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]