December provides many opportunities to bring extra culture studies, peace awareness, diversity, traditions, compassion, geography and spirituality into the classroom. Through the focus on various cultures’ holidays and celebrations, we can further enhance the children’s awareness of others.
Each of the classrooms from toddler to primary celebrates December’s diversity and cultural awareness in different ways. Activities and works include:
- Visitors into the class to share family traditions.
- Special snacks (with an explanation of the snack) to celebrate holidays.
- Language matching cards with symbols and pictures.
- Practical life activities themed from various customs.
- Books, songs, stories, circle activities.
- Math activities centered on numerous holidays (spinning a dreidel, counting candles).
- Embracing and celebrating with special activities various holidays.
If you have a tradition or special holiday that you would like to share with the class, please let you child’s teacher know.
In my class, we focus on these December holidays:
- Las posadas (Mexican)
- St Lucia Day (Sweden)
- St Nickolas Day (Germany)
When we discuss these various holidays, I begin with “some people believe…” By sharing different beliefs with the children, we are building their understanding and compassion for others. We can provide them with a small glimpse into other cultures. As the children learn to look outward to others, they are building their own community within the walls of the school as well as the world around.
“It is interesting to see how little by little, these children become aware of forming a community which behaves as such…Once they have reached this level, the children no longer act thoughtlessly, but put the group first and try to succeed for its benefit.” Dr. Maria Montessori.
The focus on this global community, spirituality, compassion, cultural awareness is incorporated into classroom throughout the entire year; it is not limited just to the month of December. December does provide a perfect avenue for a heightened awareness and focus on others.