Holidays are Here
For educators, October represents the beginning of three months of holidays.
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.
At PIC, we look at holidays differently from many programs. We believe 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.
Being part of a diverse community gives our children wonderful opportunities to learn about holidays and traditions that are different from their own. Here we learn from each other about holidays and how different families in our classroom communities observe them.
The important thing is that the learning experience is genuine and comes from a family who actually 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 recognize and honor that many families in our community do not celebrate Halloween. Instead of celebrating Halloween as a center-wide celebration, we host our annual Fall Family Festival. This year’s festival will be held Thursday, 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. Instead, on Halloween day, Monday, October 31, will host an all-PIC Pajama Day and all children may come to PIC in their pajamas (please be sure that your child can wear shoes with their pj’s for outdoor play.)
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!