October Message from Deb
October 3, 2018
Falling for the holidays
Being part of a diverse community means that our children have wonderful opportunities to learn about holidays and traditions that are different than their own.
For educators, fall represents the beginning of three months of holidays and is a good time to discuss holidays at PIC.
In many programs, holidays are part of a program’s curriculum. For example, October is about creating jack-o-lanterns and having Halloween parades. November is about making turkeys and feasts to celebrate Thanksgiving. And December is about decorating trees, making gifts, and the celebration of Christmas.
While our curriculum does not center around holidays, we believe holidays present a wonderful opportunity for families to participate in our classrooms by sharing their own cultural traditions.
There is a distinction between learning about and celebrating a holiday.
When programs “celebrate” holidays, children become immersed as full participants, even if the holiday is not celebrated in their own home, nor falls within their family’s belief system. In contrast, “learning about” a holiday means teaching children what the holiday means to the cultural/religious groups who honor it, and the various ways they choose to celebrate it.
At PIC, we learn from each other about holidays and how different families in our classroom communities celebrate them. The important thing is that the learning experience is genuine and comes from a family who celebrates the holiday.
We invite families to come and share a favorite holiday book or CD, make a favorite holiday snack, do a craft, or share a tradition such as lighting candles with the children. This is an inclusive way to share holidays that does not involve center-wide celebrations, and does not attempt to celebrate every holiday.
Here, children learn about holidays that are less represented in our North American media and culture. While all children will know about Christmas at an early age, they are less likely to learn about Diwali or the Lunar New Year.
In October, we have moved from a center-wide celebration of Halloween to our annual Fall Family Festival. This year’s seasonal festivities will be held Friday, October 26 from 10:30 am-noon. All families are invited to join us for fall-related activities on our nature playground.
We ask that children do not come in costume to PIC for the Fall Festival or on Halloween day.
What I love about PIC’s approach to holidays is that it gives us an opportunity to learn from one another, while at the same time, it keeps PIC away (as much as possible) from the holiday commercialization that surrounds us.
Happy Fall to all!