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Celebrations, Festivals, Holidays - What Should we be Doing?

by Francis Wardle
November/December 1994
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/celebrations-festivals-holidays-what-should-we-be-doing/5010042/

Celebrations, rituals, and social activities are an important part of childhood. They help children learn that they belong: to history, culture, society, and community. This is clear. What is unclear is how much of this activity should occur in our early childhood programs and schools, and how schools and early childhood programs should conduct these celebrations.

My favorite memories of childhood are celebrations and festivals. Singing and dancing around the May pole, joining in colorful lantern processions, watching a Punch and Judy puppet show with peers, walking to the manger on a cold English Christmas night, and expectantly waiting to search for my Easter basket are vivid images in my mind. What's interesting to me as I recall my favorite childhood festivals is that none of these activities occurred at school.

We must think carefully about holidays and celebrations and decide which belong in the community, and which are appropriate for our early childhood programs. We must never feel all celebrations should be replicated in the program. That's not our job. And when we do celebrate in our programs, we must make sure these activities are positive experiences for all of our children.

We should encourage ...

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