Important Czech words for surviving the first week of school

Hurá, zpátky do školy! Here's a cheat sheet to help parents with back-to-school activities this week

Eva Koudelíková

Written by Eva Koudelíková Published on 31.08.2020 09:53:00 (updated on 08.12.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

If heading back to school can be nerve-wracking for kids it can be especially nerve-wracking for parents who don’t speak Czech. Here are some key words and phrases to get you through the early days of school.

Early days

Parent-teacher meeting (Třídní schůzka)

If you have any lingering doubts, all should become clear at this meeting which typically takes place the first or second week of school and is organized by the ředitel/ka (principal); during this time you’ll get know more about which supplies you need, classroom rules, and overview for the year.

Gift for the teacher (Dárek)

It is not expected to give the teacher a gift but is becoming more and more customary to bestow a small bouquet of flowers on the first day of school. Some parents give their children a kornout of candy which is more of a German tradition and not common among Czech families.

Outside clothes (Oblečení na ven)

You may not need a complete set of these during the first week when kids often go for a shorter time, but be prepared to have an arsenal of clothing on hand that includes rain gear, a second set of clothes for spills and accidents, and outside clothes.

Slippers (Bačkory, pantofle, cvičky/jarmilky)

Bačkory (also called papuče) typically cocoon the entire foot and have a firm sole—these are what kids wear at school, while pantofle are slip-ons with a covered or open toe (ťapky are a variety of pantofle but with a softer heel).

Sign (Značka)

This is a symbol that your child will claim as a way for them to identify their things and can be seen in the cloakroom as well as bathrooms and classrooms. 

Lockers/cloakroom (Skříňka/šatna)

Older kids may be assigned a numbered locker.

School supplies

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

If you haven’t already purchased supplies you should receive list (seznam) during the parent-teacher meeting. This is typically what students will need:

  • Kufřík na výtvarné potřeby (suitcase for art supplies)
  • Pouzdro/penál – pencil case
  • Tužka – pencil
  • Pero – pen
  • Pravítko – ruler
  • Ořezávátko – sharpener
  • Guma – rubber
  • Učebnice – textbook
  • Sešit – notebook
  • Žákovská knížka – pupil’s notebook for marks/reports
  • Obaly na sešity/učebnice – plastic covers for notebooks and textbooks

Clothes

Children’s pink spotted slippers isolated on the white background with shadow reflection. Kid’s pink softie shoes with white spots isolated on white backdrop - Via Istock
Children’s pink spotted slippers isolated on the white background with shadow reflection. Kid’s pink softie shoes with white spots isolated on white backdrop - Via Istock
  • Školní taška/batoh – schoolbag
  • Přezůvky/bačkory – slippers
  • Oblečení na tělocvik/cvičební úbor – sport clothes
  • Ručník – hand towel
  • Tenisky- trainers
  • Šortky/kraťasy – shorts
  • Tričko – T-shirt
  • Tepláková souprava – tracksuit

Eating and drinking

  • Svačina – snack
  • Box na svačinu – snack box
  • Láhev na pití – bottle
  • Jídelna – canteen
  • Lunch money – Stravné (paid by parents monthly)
  • Menu – Jídelní lístek

People at the school

  • Ředitel/ka – Director
  • Učitel/ka – Teacher
  • Třídní učitelka – Head teacher
  • Školník – Janitor
  • Paní kuchařka – Cook
  • Vedoucí jídelny/stravování – Lunch administrator
  • Paní družinářka – Teacher for after school activities

Places in the school

Students in a classroom via iStock / skynesher
Students in a classroom via iStock / skynesher
  • Učebna/třída – classroom
  • Chodba – corridor
  • Jídelna- school canteen
  • Kabinet – teacher’s office
  • Sborovna – teachers’ meeting room
  • Ředitelna- principal’s office
  • Tělocvična – gym
  • Toalety/záchody – toilets
  • Školní dvůr – school yard
  • Laboratoř- laboratory

After school (Po škole)

  • Domácí úkol- homework
  • Přestávka – break
  • Kroužek – after school activity
  • Školní družina – place for after school activities

Share your back-to-school experiences in the comments below.

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