Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. With images of Santa Claus, elves and his reindeer filling shopping centres, homes and child care centres alike, it is an exciting time for children. Celebrating Christmas in your child care centre can be a fun and educational experience, but it is important to be mindful that not all children will come from a cultural or religious background that celebrates Christmas. If this is the case, it’s best to be culturally sensitive and inclusive while arranging inclusive Christmas celebrations in your child care centre.
Keep it neutral and/or celebrate diversity
The best way to guarantee that your celebrations aren’t off the mark is to keep them religion-neutral. If the child care centre is a religious one, then this won’t be necessary, however, if it is a non-denominational child care centre, then it is best that religion-related celebrations, decorations and activities are avoided.
Alternatively, and particularly with older children, you can explore how different cultures and religions celebrate Christmas. Invite families to talk about their unique Christmas celebrations or beliefs to share the message of diversity.
Incorporating Christmas celebrations into centres
The two most common ways of integrating Christmas into a child care centre are decorating and activities.
With Christmas, comes an almost endless array of arts, crafts and décor. Children can play a big part in how the centre is decorated. There are many symbols and motifs of Christmas, which are widely accepted in Australia and are not explicitly religiously based. Some examples of this are Santa Claus, reindeer, snowmen, candy canes, elves, snow and presents.
Holding a Christmas concert is another great way to get children and their families involved. They will love learning new songs, doing some dance moves and getting dressed up to perform for their families.
Preparing for an event such as a concert will not only be enjoyable but will provide great learning experiences. Memory skills, coordination and concentration skills will be gained.
However, your centre chooses to celebrate, keep it fun and focus on spreading the Christmas messages of love, giving and joy.
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