The winter months are a great time to celebrate the holidays in the classroom—but not in the traditional sense. Many holidays come from religions, and it’s important to recognize that not all students will come from families that celebrate the same holidays. Not all students will celebrate Christmas at home, and those students can often end up feeling like an outsider during the traditional Christian-American holiday season.
That’s not to say that you have to ignore holidays completely; this season can be a wonderful opportunity to teach students about culture. November and December are chock full of holidays celebrated across religions and countries, and cultivating an understanding of other cultures is so important. If you want to do some Christmas-y activities, instead do some “holiday” activities that are all-inclusive.
So which holidays can you teach kids about? Try some of the following:
Hanukkah—November 27th-December 5th (already passed, but still great for kids to learn about)
Winter Solstice—December 21st
Boxing Day—December 26th
Kwanzaa—December 26th-January 1st
New Year’s Eve/Day—December31st/January 1st
Ashura—10th day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar
Pongal—End of harvest season, usually January 13th-16th
These lessons can also be a great chance for teachers to learn about other holidays from their students. With more and more refugees coming to the United States, it’s so important for teachers to stay educated and keep up with what’s important to their students, and this marks an opportunity to connect with students and allow them to share their own experiences. Do you have Muslim students? Find out when Ramadan is so that you can be aware of when students are fasting. Let them tell you about this special month and the celebration of Eid that marks the end of it.
What other holidays have you taught students about throughout the year/would you like to teach about? Please share in the comments below!