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Incorporating Holidays into the Classroom

by Jeanette Kania
Friday, December 15, 2023
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In September of 2020, the staff of The Children’s House was privileged to virtually host Britt Hawthorne for an Introduction to Anti-Bias Education. Every time we have an adult learning opportunity as a staff, I try to make an intentional change to the way that I think about things in my classroom and my worldview in general. Some of these have been small adjustments that help with interpersonal relationships; my big takeaway from this discussion was to make sure I am representing the children in my classroom materials. I created a survey asking families to share information and then followed up with questions as needed that helped me learn how to better represent their family in our classroom. The biggest way I found to do this was through discussions around the holidays celebrated by the families who spent time in the YCC and Nido.

In the fall of 2021, The Karen Circle generously donated funds towards several sets of language cards centering around holidays and celebrations. My goal was to purchase digital downloads made by creators who celebrate these holidays for the most accurate representation possible. I spent several hours during various afternoons while the children napped preparing these language cards, and they are used in the Young Children’s Communities to have conversations around holidays during different parts of the year. 

We also added recipes for foods for our many holidays and celebrations to add more sensory experiences to our lessons about celebrations. As we frequently discuss, sensory exploration is a critical part of learning for young children; kneading dough for povatica, smelling pancakes, and feeling sticky honey on apples are all parts of how young children experience holidays. 

After transitioning to Nido this past September, I had to reimagine my discussions on holidays and celebrations for an even younger group of learners. I’ve been sourcing and laminating single images to represent holidays to begin conversations and share details of holidays celebrated by the children currently in our classroom, as well as those who have already moved on.

If you’ve ever gotten Classroom Highlights from me, you’ve likely heard me asking for you to send me a note about holidays or events that your family celebrates so I can follow up with you on how to do that in our classroom. If there is something you’d like to share so I can learn more and then bring that knowledge into our classroom, please feel free to email me. I truly love learning about how other families celebrate.