Preschool Program Guidance
Planning for Holiday Activities and Celebrations
Educators often have questions and concerns about how to address holiday activities and celebrations in a way that is developmentally appropriate for preschoolers. It is important to take into account the many different perspectives on holidays and what they mean to the communities, families and children that we serve in our schools. These special occasions can have religious, cultural and historical significance, as well as personal meaning. It's also important to consider the perspective that some families in our communities may not celebrate any holidays during the year.
It can easily become common practice to automatically celebrate holidays in our classrooms throughout the year without giving careful thought as to what is best practice for the students.
There are some guiding questions that schools and teachers can use when considering the whole notion of how to approach holidays:
Some alternatives for approaching holiday activities and celebrations are:
The policy that you adopt should be guided by the goals of your adopted curriculum and the New Jersey Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards, 2014. The policy should reflect the diversity present in your community and be inclusive of all families served by your preschool program through thoughtful, developmentally appropriate activities and celebrations that reflect overall classroom goals.
Bisson, Julie. Celebrate: An Anti-Bias Guide to Enjoying Holidays in Early Childhood Programs. St. Paul MN: Redleaf Press, 1997.
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Developmentally Appropriate Practice, 3d Edition. Washington, D.C.: NAEYC, 2009.
Derman-Sparks, Louise and Julie Olsen Edwards. Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves. Washington, DC: NAEYC, 2010.