Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Celebrations – New Traditions and Shared Stories


Tuesday 19 December 2017

Early childhood settings bring children, families and educators from different cultures and backgrounds together and with each child and family comes a unique story. The wonderful thing is that we all get to benefit from these stories and to draw on aspects of them all, to create new shared stories. This brings incredible richness and colour to the setting and creates a community where children develop a sense of connection and belonging and learn about values and respect through their daily interactions.

Throughout the year, early childhood settings play such a significant role in the lives of young children, by providing an inclusive, welcoming space where difference is valued and respected. Educators recognise children’s individual ways of being, foster respect and empathy and ensure that diversity weaves part of the fabric of a nurturing early years environment. They recognise that ‘one size fits all’ is never the case when it comes to the wonderfully competent, engaging children that enter our settings. So, when it comes to celebrations why should it be any different? While it is important to find time for celebration, it must be recognised that this happens in many ways and holds different meaning for everyone.


While celebrating Christmas may be the tradition of the majority of families in the setting, there are likely to be other celebrations that are also equally significant in the lives of children and their families. In some cases, educators may even feel uncomfortable celebrating Christmas because there are children present in the setting whose families don’t. However, there are likely to be other traditions and celebrations that are important to these families. Educators working with young children and their families will tell you that relationships are everything. So, how do we build relationships with others? The first step is usually to share something about ourselves and to take time to listen to others, to learn about what is important to them. In doing this, we often find that we have different values or ways of doing things. However, in order for the relationship to build and flourish, we nurture it with understanding and respect. A discussion when the child and family first come to the setting is a great way to find out which traditions are celebrated and how they could be included in the setting. This is also an opportunity to explain that Christmas and other festivals are celebrated throughout the year but that the setting really wants to embrace and reflect all of the different traditions. This helps the family to understand that Christmas is not celebrated to the exclusion of all other celebrations but that many different cultural and family traditions are not only celebrated but are valued and welcomed. Of course, it is also important to point out, that for some, celebrations don’t hold the same value and that this will also be respected.

Celebrations also provide a real opportunity for children to think and talk about diversity. Engaging children in meaningful conversations about what it means to celebrate and what should be celebrated in their setting, recognises the knowledge and experience that they bring. This helps to build an authentic, approach to celebrations, that is both meaningful and inclusive. We can then make these celebrations visible to all in our setting and communities through song, dance, mark-making and photographs.

So, while there is comfort in the familiar, there is always time to create new traditions that are reflective of the children, families and educators that make our early years’ setting such a special place to be throughout the year!


Further Reading

For more thoughts on celebrations and respecting traditions read our post from last Christmas: Christmas - The way we always do it.

We would love to hear about your inclusive celebrations in 2017 or your plans to create a shared story in 2018!



And from all of us on the Scéalta team, we wish you, your children and all the families a happy and exciting Christmas. See you in 2018!

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Educators(1) Snack Time(1) Role play(1) Social Skills(1) Research Conference 2019(1) babies(7) Learning Stories(7) First 5 strategy(1) Inter-generational learning(1) Party(1) Meet the Members(1) Children(1) worries(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(1) Celebrate(1) Anxiety(2) eating(1) child-centred approach(1) Malaguzzi(1) AIM(2) European Project(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Wonder(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Breathing(2) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Light table(1) Early Years(1) scéalta(25) educating(1) curiosity(3) Identity(4) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Teamwork(1) PIP(1) Playdough(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) National Pyjama Day(1) RTE Investigates(1) Magic(1) feisty(1) transitions(10) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Advocacy(1) risk assessment(1) Love(2) Motor neuron disease(1) communication(4) Competent(1) Italy(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Learning Story Awards(1) outdoors(3) Thinking(1) science week(2) Mount Everest(1) National Awards 2018(2) Pobal sector profile(1) MA(1) Interactions(2) New Appointments(1) Syria(1) Impact(1) TRAP(1) Norway(2) Appreciation(1) Maternity Leave(1) Santa(2) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Certificate(1) Giraffe(2) Engineering Ireland(1) Vietnam(1) AsIAm(1) Mantra(1) Yoga(1) Playschool(1) Home Corner(1) outdoor space(3) reading(4) Universal Design(2) Thanks(1) Positivity(1) Budget 2019(2) Treasure Chest(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Exploring(1) linc(1) Prexit(1) Performance Management(1) Visual Impairment(1) Learning Story(1) Mealtimes(1) Quality(3) Maynooth University(1) Workplace Relations(3) Investment(1) NCCA(2) Ceremony(1) Snacks(1) Death(1) relationships(14) EM Standing(1) Tuscan Approach(2) The Lullaby Book(1) UD(1) Wendy Lee(2) Loss(1) Independence(1) Builders(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Fantasy play(1) Buddies(1) Learning journals(1) Gratitude(1) NAEYC(1) Trade Unions(1) educarer(1) GDPR(1) Shapes(1) Awards 2018(3) Through the looking glass(1) Children's Research Network(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Environment(2) early years research(1) Reggio Emilia(1) Sculptures(1) experience(1) Traffic Lights(1) Penguins(1) learning(15) Brain(1) Well-Being(6) Mindfulness(2) Maths Week(1) Employee(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(1) Qualifications(1) Thank you(1) Favouritism(1) Plastic(1) Reggio Children Network(1) budget(1) Trick or treat(1) Map(1) National Awards 2019(1) Study Trip(1) science(3) Síolta QAP(1) Dance(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Pobal(1) Síolta(100) First 5(1) memories(1) Scéalta Blog(82) San Minia(1) Sustainable(1) conversations(1) Biting(1) Celebrations(4) Afghanistan(1) Communicating(1) Running(1) dublin(2) Sweets(1) Autism(3) Confidence(1) maternity health(1) Administrative Burden(1) Exclusion(1) SPICE Framework(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Diversity(1) Wilenski(1) ears(1) Exercise(1) trust(3) Empathy(1) pets(1) Flowers(1) Laughter(1) Leprechauns(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Eritrea(1) The Jelly King(1) Community involvement(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Liz Kerrins(1) University(1) Xbox(1) Cognitive development(1) Kilkenny(1) Rituals(1) Time Out(1) Valentine's Day(3) community(5) environments(1) Orla Kenny(1) supportive environments(1) ICBN(1) christmas(8) baby room(1) Glitter(2) Deirdre Rogers(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Bereavement(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) outdoor play(6) documentation(2) Mathematicians(1) Primary School(2) Weather(1) Childcare(2) Interests(1) social media(1) Craft(1) Creativity(4) Obesity(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Graduate(1) Interaction(1) curriculum(5) Graduation(1) education(2) Affordability(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) CCTV(1) journey(1) Child mental health(1) Professionalisation(4) dining(1) Imagination(3) Arithmetic(1) Performing(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) TOY Programme(1) dogs(1) Leargas(1) preschool(2) Sequins(1) Buddy Bench(1) Budget 2018(1) Meal time(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Spiders(1) Health(1) Halloween(2) Drawing(2) Photographs(1) Time(1) Care-giving routines(1) ECEC(1) Titles(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Trade union(1) blog(28) Touch(1) Policy(2) risky play(2) Aistear(105) Trigonometry(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Self Help Skills(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) research(6) under 3's(3) routine(2) Magnavacchi(1) bonds(1) Belonging(3) Plants(1) Adoption(1) Limerick(1) Line-ups(1) Little Buddies(1) Mud kitchens(1) Frustrations(1) Queues(1) EECERA 2016(1) Support(1) Treasure(1) Care routines(1) Music(3) Easter(1) Art(6) Aldo Fortunati(4) CIT(1) Laugh(1) Kids Own(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Iceland(1) Horizon 2020(1) Confident(1) Consent(1) Blocks(1) Children's Rights(1) Smiles(1) Nonverbal(1) Upcycling(1) Lego(2) grandchild(1) Change(1) Fabric(1) Creative(1) Pen green(1) National Holiday(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Story(1) Identity and Belonging(3) Vertical grouping(1) Engineers Week(2) Socioemotional development(1) Iraq(1) Childhood(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) role playing(1) Twitter(1) Communications(1) Games(1) DCYA(4) Decisions(1) Mixed age groups(2) respect(5) Feeding(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) UNCRC(1) Academics(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Mark Twain(1) Training(2) Human Resources(1) Research Seminar(1) Albert Einstein(1) Exit interview(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Visitors(1) Names(1) Recycling(2) animals(2) Mayo(1) Inter-generational(1) development(8) Maths(4) ERASMUS+(3) Capable(1) Behaviour(3) Seas Suas(1) story time(1) Shoes(1) IGL(1) books(4) mushrooms(1) Sustainability(3) Maynooth(1) parents(5) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Japan(1) Funding(1) STEM(2) Snakes(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(1) Reggio(1) Technology(2) Gardening(1) Kerry(1) Settling in(3) ECCE(6) Relaxation(1) Challenges(1) Book Club(2) play stories(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Patterns(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Self-Esteem(1) United Nations(1) INTO(1) Degree(1) Awards(2) Jenga(1) Maria Montessori(1) UN(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) stories(2) Recycle(1) listen(1) San Miniato(4) Nutrition(1) Inspirational(2) Arts(1) overhear(1) Ariana Pucci(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) MECPI(1) Workforce(1) listening(1) Stress(2) Mo Scéal(1) emotions(2) toddlers(3) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Sport(1) Routines(1) Wrapping paper(1) Early Years Educators(1) College(1) early childhood educator(1) Masterclass(2) Family wall(1) CPD(1) Decision Making(1) Inclusion(3) Magda Gerber(1) Self-regulation(1) Storytelling(2) food(1) emotional environment(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Winter(1) Body Language(1) Family(1) Siolta blog(2) Design(1) Sleep(1) Window(1) Online(1) Workplace well-being(1) Irish(1) Mental Health(3) Painting(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) Supernanny(1) Oireachtas(1) interacting(2) Facebook(1) Our Little Seed(1) Arlene Forster(1) Academic Skills(1) Wesco(1) ReCreate(2) Culture(2) Traditions(2) Learning Stories Award(3) RIE philosphy(1) dining experiences(1) risk(2) refugees(1) meals(3) planning(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Engineering(2) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Grief(1) Scents(1) Event Guide(1) friendships(1) Margy Whalley(1) Montessori(2) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Awards 2019(1) Potential(1) Cork(1) play(29)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine