Also a big 'in your face' to the German school system on what five year olds can and can't do. Both my five year olds are not only reading and writing in Prep - the year before first grade - but LOVING it. The emphasis is on encouraging the kids to express themselves, on introducing the CONCEPTS of phonics and writing. As opposed to spending the first six months of first grade forcing the kids to write on the line and form the letters and numbers correctly with no idea of WHY. Kids are curious at five, they are interested in the world around them. These little guys are so excited to be ALLOWED and ABLE to read and to write - to express themselves creatively - that the rest naturally follows. Learning CAN be fun....if introduced that way!
In any case, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEKA!
(PS - Click on the piece of writing and it will enlarge so that you can read the whole thing.)