Dear K-6 Families,
As I reflect on the school year, I keep thinking, “Wow, it is December all ready!” It seems like just yesterday we were prepping for the beginning of the school year and now we are prepping for all of our holiday celebrations. In the K-6 program, we have been learning and discovering different holidays, traditions, and customs. How do educators teach these lessons while remaining unbiased?
This holiday season, our teachers are looking to implement the goals set by Derman-Sparks & Edwards from their 2016 article, Holidays and Anti-bias Education: Being Thoughtful and Creative, Child Care Exchange. In this article, the authors address how schools can celebrate the holidays in a way that is inclusive to every child in the classroom and remains an opportunity for learning and understanding. Of the four goals set by authors Julie Bisson and Louise Derman-Sparks, this holiday season we are focusing on the following:
Goal #1 — Identity
Each child will demonstrate self-awareness, confidence, family pride, and positive social/group identities.
Goal #2 — Diversity
Each child will express comfort and joy with human diversity, accurate language for human differences, and deep, caring human connections.
By keeping these goals in mind, our teachers are working to create an environment where each of our students feels positive and confident in who they are and comfortable sharing their family’s holiday traditions. Many of our classrooms have or will discuss different cultures and the many holidays celebrated this time of year by members of our school and local community. Through lessons such as these and the discussions that follow, we aim to create a space where our students understand that although the celebrations and traditions of other classmates may be different than their own family’s, that we can continue to make meaningful connections with others.
During this winter season, our students are participating in important lessons as well as some wonderful traditions at The New School. Second grade’s “Snow Much Fun” online Holiday Store was a great success, thanks to the teachers' and parents' support. Preparing for the 2nd- through 8th-grade Spelling Bee and starting pen pal letters with our Upper School mentors have been exciting. Many “Holidays Around the World” lessons are wrapping up. The last week before our break is no different. We will celebrate the last week of school through Holiday Spirit Wear week, both on campus and with our online learners!
Monday: “Let it snow!” (Bundle up in your favorite winter scarf and/or hat)
Tuesday: “Jingle bells and dreidels” (Show off your best holiday bling)
Wednesday: “Deck the halls” (Get decked out in your hippest and craziest holiday shirt or sweater)
Thursday: “Cheesy holiday photo” (Wear your favorite flannel for a “cheesy” TNS class picture)
Friday: “Almost time to rest!” (Prepare for a break in your comfy PJs)
I appreciate the support from all of our parents this school year. We couldn’t have made this year the success it has been, where learning and community have continued, without your support and help. We appreciate the opportunities to share in your family holiday traditions and to celebrate with your students with yummy treats and winter class parties.
Have a safe and relaxing winter break! See you in 2021!
Head of K-6