Page: 350-364 Author: Kaščák, O. Key words: enrolment, welcome festivity, school socialization, ritual of transition, preliminal, liminal and postliminal stage.
This article offers an educational analysis of elementary school entry rituals from the ethnographical point of view. These rituals are analysed as complex contexts of socialisation, as processes of structured social learning and not only as affirmative rituals confirming the new state of schoolchild. Thus they can be understood as „rituals of designation“ (Bourdieu) of the new state, and rituals by which it is suc-cessively established, From the ethnological point of view these rituals fall into the category of what are known as rites of passage. Van Gennep‘s three-stage model of transitional rituals is taken into consideration in this study. Accordingto this model every ritual of transition has apreliminal stage (ritual separation), a liminal stage (ritual passage) and a postlimi-nal stage (ritual incorporation). These stages altogether effect the successive transformation of novice‘s identity. The data on school entry rituals her has been obtained from the author‘s researches in Slovak elementary schools, using the method of participatory observation. The data are subsequently compared with thematically related German research carried out by J. Zirfas (2004). The preliminal stage involves the specific spatial framing of new pupils (gathering outside the classes and in some cases outside the school) and discursive framing of the situation - welcome speeches from older schoolmates, school management or local authorities. The liminal stage involves individual calling of the new pupils up to the auditorium. Reading out their forenames and surnames, their assignment to specific class and teacher and subsequent their accompaniment to their new classroom. The postliminal stage involves the regimentation of the pupil‘s behaviour within the classroom, the teacher‘s instruction first directed at children, but later at the parents as well. In this way the cycle of complex school initiation is completed and aceptance of the new social order achieved.