The festive season is a great time of year to celebrate inclusion, equity and holidays from around the world. Whilst this time of year is all about spreading festive cheer loud and clear for all to hear, bringing these traditions into the classroom can mean an array of different things to our students from all background.
Whilst the Christian tradition of Christmas is an incredibly visual display of celebration and décor, how you celebrate this time of year in your classroom should be inclusive to all traditions – both visually, verbally and metaphorically.
Caring and respectful student-teacher relationship form the basis of an inclusive classroom, which is why getting to know and understand each student as an individual is of critical importance. Adopting a critical lens amongst your own excitement and festive joy will enable you to raise awareness and adapt activities to students who have different family customs, cultural practices or those who have none at all.
This year, instead of just honouring a single holiday tradition, why not get your classroom learning and appreciating the diversity in festive celebration and decorate your classroom with traditions from all across the globe!
Here are our top 3 ways of celebrating diversity this festive season!
1. Fact Chain Garlands
Who doesn’t love getting stuck in and creating paper-chain garlands at this time of year? This year, ask your students to fill their garlands with all the different origins, practices and traditions celebrated worldwide throughout the month of December. You can get as creative as you want to either by clustering pupils in groups to work on different observances or even colour code your paper strips into categories such as food, origin, music etc. Linking all these facts together helps to solidify the true meaning of being inclusive and accepting of classroom differences.
2. Across the Globe Art Attack
A great way of introducing inclusivity in a fun and creative way is to print images or lettering of different holiday traditions and ask students to decorate in a way they feel represents each one. Place some sheets filled with words, symbols, images and phrases from various holiday observances that students can use as guidance for their own creations. You can decorate your classroom and hallways with all the different interpretations and ideas of holiday tradition around the world!
3. Festive Hot Desking
This one requires a bit of prior prep-work and research on your part but is sure to create a fun, engaging and educational experience for all in the classroom. The best way to learn about something new is to immerse yourself in it and experience it yourself. Set up several workstations allocated for all the different traditions observed around the world in December.
At each station, you can set up activities such as colouring or craft work on images associated with each holiday. Different types of smells and foods from each cultural practice can be placed on each table so that students can truly experience each tradition. Just remember that before serving any food, double check that no students have any allergies and request consent from parents and carers that they agree for their child to eat during class beforehand.
Here are just a few holiday tradition ideas to get you started:
- Creating Jewish menorahs out of macaroni pasta, paint, glitter and colour.
- Playing the classic dreidel game
- Reading a Hanukkah book as a group
- Creating Noah’s Ark greeting cards.
Nibble ideas: Challah, butter cookies, potato latke bites, applesauce, pretzel challah
- Designing and creating Christmas crackers
- Making cotton wool snowman
- Decorating their very own stockings
- Decorating Christmas cards
Nibble ideas: Gingerbread cookies, Christmas cake slices, Hot chocolate, mince pies
- Colouring in images and bubble shapes of igloos, icicles and wintery scenes
- Group reading about the changing of seasons
- Winter solstice word searches
Nibble ideas: Hot chocolate, spiced eggnog, chocolate yule log, berries + nut mix
Kwanzaa (African American)
- Design and decorate colourful flags
- Learn and label an African map
- Learn to weave a square
- Make and decorate a Kwanzaa board game
Nibble ideas: Kwanzaa bread, sweet potato biscuits, black-eyed peas, apple marshmallow and yams
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