How do you celebrate with colleagues in your setting?
What’s your favourite part of this time of year?
What are your traditions around the festive period?
What do you do in your setting to celebrate Christmas with the children?
As with any religious-themed events in the calendar, we need to be sensitive to the children in our care and their beliefs or religions, or lack of, from home. That said, there are many traditions around Christmas which are so tied into life and traditions of the UK even for those families who will not be attending church or celebrating the religious elements of Christmas, and these can all be incorporated into settings alongside teaching the religious education element of Christian beliefs about Christmas.
Religious elements of Christmas are often covered through the story of the nativity and songs about this – classics such as Little Donkey and Away in a Manger are likely to be incorporated! You may even be putting on a nativity for your parents to come and watch.
Lots of modern adaptations, and films such as ‘Nativity!’ have also given us lots of songs and ideas which are not Christian-themed and therefore are likely to provide an inclusive environment which celebrates the traditions of Christmas without making any children feel left out.
Other depictions which we associate with Christmas, such as Santa and Rudolph (and other reindeer of course!), also help us to get into the festive mood and spread Christmas joy and anticipation with children in our settings.
Decorating the Christmas tree together with the children in your setting can help with fine and gross motor skills and give opportunities to discuss the many traditions from different countries which amalgamate every December into our Christmas celebrations.
Baking – gingerbread snowmen and angels perhaps – is a great way to get children active and thinking about those Christmas-themed elements too and could provide a tasty treat to delight parents when they come to pick up their children at the end of the day! A shared experience such as baking is also a great opportunity to discuss Christmas with children and find out what they are excited about. You can share your own traditions with them and celebrate our diversity and home environments. (Of course you need to be aware of your children’s situations in these talks and be sensitive to anything such as absent parents, bereavements meaning a first Christmas without a loved one, or any other considerations which may impact on their willingness to share information publicly.)
You might encourage children to dress up in Christmas or winter-themed attire for a day in the run up to the holidays, then take photos of them or let them take photos of each other (being careful to check where you are sharing personal data and images to ensure data privacy) to create special images for parents or turn into Christmas cards.
Share your festive fun with parents through the eyworks parental engagement tools.