Christmas is the only time these words are acceptable! As early years professionals we reflect, review and keep our practice fresh all year round. However, at this time of year, tradition is key!
In any group of people, at Christmas parties, lunches and various gatherings you’ll hear “what do you do for Christmas” many times and the answer frequently starts with “We always……” And many people tell stories of how their first Christmas with their partner involved the shaky, tentative merging of two firm sets of traditions and expectations as new traditions form! These negotiations can be tricky!
In our settings it is the same…. different settings do different things…concerts, carols, decorations, cooking, family events, visits from Santa, elves and fairies, creative opportunities for the children. We do this to generate excitement and magic for the children and we also do it, I think, to keep that magic alive for ourselves and for the parents. And people working with young children have the same joy and happiness all over the world, wherever Christmas is celebrated and acknowledged. Wonderful!
Celebrating traditions is an important aspect of supporting the development of a good, positive sense of identity and belonging. As we know, Identity and Belonging is central to children’s learning and development, being both a theme of Aistear and also Standard 14 in Síolta. We need to be mindful of different traditions: not just Christmas traditions, but the various family traditions also. Take a moment to think about the families in your setting…do they all celebrate Christmas, have they suggestions and ideas on how you can mark Christmas in your way, but also celebrate their festivals and special events. Celebrating the traditions of the families, in consultation with them, makes your setting more inclusive and ensures a deeper, richer experience for all the children.
Please share your stories of Christmas celebrations and traditions with us…and your experiences of celebrating other traditions too.
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 2017!