By now your school Christmas celebrations are over and all the kids have started their winter break. Now that you have a chance to breathe, I’ll share with you what we did (or didn’t) do. I’ll warn you, it’s a little non-traditional!
My nursery school is housed in a church, which considers us a ministry of the church. They are very generous with our program and many of the things are able to do are because of their generosity. Luckily, they are also a very inclusive faith community. We do very little that’s strictly Christian and most classes have one or more students whose families wouldn’t describe themselves as Christian.
In our twos classes we were very low key this year. I had a ficus tree that I strung with some simple lights and we plugged it in for the last week before break. Each classroom is supposed to have a nativity set to play with (we don’t instruct about it, we just set it out), but ours somehow lost pieces between last year and this one so we left it packed up. We used red and green paint, glue, and some glitter the last week and we talked about the upcoming break during snack. We had a holiday party on the last day where parents brought in healthy snacks, hung out, and let us give them a gift we made with the children’s art work.
And that was it. (Don’t have a heart attack.)
Now, I love the holiday season as much as the next person, but when it comes to little ones, less is more. In all other areas of their lives they are bombarded with Christmas decorations, music, advertisements, and the gimmies. If they don’t celebrate Christmas then they are left out completely. Their little brains need a rest. They don’t need more sugar and they don’t need more glitz. They need their usual routines with just a *little* dazzle added. Not the whole bag of dazzle, if you get my meaning. Twos are truly experiencing all the special times of the year for the first time since they don’t usually remember the last time clearly. It doesn’t help to overdo it.
I will admit that other classrooms in the building worked a little harder at the holiday thing. And that’s ok. The threes remember the previous year so it’s not completely foreign. They get that something’s different than regular times of the year. The fours know enough to look forward to it. But for twos it’s a crazy enough time. Relatives may be visiting or they may be traveling. Parents are stressed. We tried our best to make our classroom a haven from the winter holiday crazies that seem to take everyone over at this time.
Whatever your personal winter holiday traditions, enjoy them with love and generosity toward others. And stay tuned for the Carnival of Educators just a few days from now, right here!