I learned that many parents (I was one) were eager to get the official list of items their children would need for the first year of school early. One of the reasons is usually to buy those things cheaper while they go on summer holiday abroad.

But the truth is, the “official” things listed are not many. And all can be bought here inside CH inexpensively. The list usually short and consists of:

One pair of house shoes (pantoufles)

They are inexpensive, even for ones plastered with licensed characters. We have been buying ours from Deichmann, Migros, or Vögele Shoes for around CHF15-20/pair. The Hello Kitty ones on the photo were bought at Migros Métropole. Note that our teachers did not recommend Crocs (nor look-alikes) and preferred ones that wouldn’t fall off the feet easily.

Gym outfit

that consists of:

  • a pair of shorts/leggings/training pants*
  • a top*
  • a pair of gymnastic/rhythmic shoes (examples)

*You don’t need real sweat-proof sport quality for this. What you already have should be good enough, just make sure the size will last for the next few months.

Consider buying the shoes earlier during vacation time as the sizes for 1-2P kids seemed to go out of stock everywhere by end of summer holiday.


Aaaand… the official list usually stops here. Told ya, it’s short.


Some small items

Depending on the teachers, you may be asked for a few additional items, such as:

  • Stationery – like a glue stick or painting smock
  • A sport bag – the drawstring type
  • Box of tissues and/or pocket tissues
  • An extra pair of underpants and socks – in case of pee accidents

Now after almost 2 years in school, I know what the kids also need that are not on the official list. They are not listed officially, as by common sense (given the outdoors-y lifestyle of the Swiss) the family would already have ones. But if you come from a country with different lifestyle or habits, you may not think about these.


My daughter rarely needs a bag when she goes to school. She carries a snack with her, but mostly a cereal bar that can fit into her jacket’s pocket. Yet backpack is needed for school trips. Lunch, a bottle of water, and snack are the minimum they need to carry inside and these things can be heavy in the beginning of the trip when they are still full. So in our case, we never compromised with the backpack quality. Our kids always get a backpack especially made for children and comes with a chest strap. My husband and I ourselves use backpacks regularly and know the benefit of using the chest strap. With little kids, especially when they wear thick winter jackets, the strap is the key to keep the backpack on securely, prevent backache and help them keep a good posture.

We also prefer backpacks that have open pockets with elastic bands on its sides. We have been using those to hold water bottle and pocket tissue – so daughter can grab them easily even with the backpack still on.

Rain coat and rain boots

Our daughter now walks to school and home alone, and when it rains, her rain gears are indispensable. The class also goes to another building in the school complex for gymnastics and rhythmic so yes they also need them during school hours. On a school meeting, her teachers had expressed to all parents that they preferred the children did not use umbrella as they easily forget or lose them. So get them good quality rain coats (if possible with ventilation system to let the body humidity out) and a pair of rain boots.

Snow gear

Even when your kids haven’t started any ski activity, they will play with snow during recess, sled, or ice skate with their class. Prepare their snow gear in autumn or as soon as you can figure out what their sizes will be in winter. Make sure to put a full snow gear on your list : a minimum of a jacket with hood, trousers, snow gloves/mittens**, scarf, winter hat, and a pair of snow boots.

**the thick waterproofed ones for the snow, not the knitted ones that will get wet in no time


My daughter needed a helmet for the ice skating trip. Any bike/skate/ski helmet would work, just make sure to have one (at the right size). You can also rent one at the rink, but I think I can safely assume all our kids already have helmets for biking or riding their trottinettes?

Water bottle and lunch box

Needed for the school trip. We have 2 different sized bottles – 0.4L and 0.6L, I choose which one to use depending on the length of the trip, but there were times we used both bottles for longer/day trips. At school they are provided with cups to get water from the tap.

A pair of sneakers and (sun) hat

No explanation needed here, I believe?

Anti-tick lotion

There has been a rise on the number of cases related to ticks lately. The teachers usually let us know when the kids would go to the forest or other places with high tick risks so that parents could apply anti-tick lotion before going to school. Check your nearest pharmacy for one that is safe for your kid’s age. More info about prevention for ticks diseases in the area here.

Sunscreen lotion

So there they are, the things I have found to be needed on my daughter’s first (and second) year of school.

Are there anything else I should include? Let me know!