I typically meet the holiday season with a gentler, more routine response in the classroom. In our teaching/learning community the holidays bring lots of special events and excitement outside of school, so inside the school it's good to keep things calm. We will have a few special concerts, a field study, and some special team events, but in general we'll keep it gentle and calm.
I spoke to the students about the holidays yesterday as I could tell they were starting to feel the holiday buzz that hits children and families in all kinds of ways. I told them the story about a Christmas Eve that was anything but happy in my house. We were all so excited and then one broken window turned the excitement to frustration. I noted that my dad told us that day that sometimes we will get upset at each other, but that doesn't have to ruin a holiday and after the broken window incident, our family got back on track and enjoyed each other's company and joy during the rest of the holiday.
Further, I mentioned that holidays bring with them great joy but sometimes some sadness too. I mentioned that the holidays can make people think about loved ones they've lost. The holidays can increase addictions if people have family members with addiction issues, issues that are illnesses people struggle with. We talked about the fact that sometimes families struggle with financial issues, lack of time, family changes, or different ideas about what makes a good holiday. We discussed the fact that it's good to think about the holidays and what we expect. Keeping our expectations realistic and special help us to find ways to care for one another and create happy celebrations that we can afford and do with the time and resources we have. Students listened.
As educators, we'll bring lots of extra love and attention to our classrooms during the holidays. We'll be there to listen to children's stories and help out if problems arise. We'll embrace students' differences with regard to the holidays they celebrate and not show preference to one holiday or tradition over another. It's important to start the season with this outlook, and if you have anything to add, I'm interested.