At Chrysalis we celebrate what children or teachers celebrate at home. Often children are exposed to new and different holidays or celebrations and customs. When I saw a Chrysalis alum family recently, the dad told me that they have continued celebrating the Winter Solstice each year because their child insisted.
The second week of school we will learn about Rosh Hashanah and we will dip apples in honey in wishing for a sweet new year. This fits in well to our fall when we talk about harvest and we cook apples and eat tomatoes out of the backyard garden. Several families have apple trees in their yard and contribute part of their harvest! Last year a mom came in and baked an apple pie with us. The children talked about it all year!
We celebrate the seasons mostly. We have a big field trip to the pumpkin patch in Ocotber and then have lots of pumpkin games and songs and activities at school. We have a costume party on Halloween. At Thanksgiving we make cranberry relish for the children to contribute to their family's dinner. We string garland for the birds and mix bird food for our feeders.
During winter we celebrate winter solstice with smudging, gathering firewood and having a backyard solstice fire. The children whisper their wish into a sage leaf and throw it into the fire. We watch it go up in smoke! Another week we learn about Hanukkah and sing songs, play the dreidel game and watch Joan light the menorah. We also talk about Christmas because my family has a tree and decorations. Lily shares the story of the nutcracker ballet and the kids get to see our nutcracker collection.
In the spring we celebrate spring with bunnies and eggs and baby chicks and seed planting. There are lots of other celebrations throughout the year including birthdays, groundhog day when we practice making shadows, Mayday when we leave flowers on our neighbor's door knobs and dance around a maypole in the park, and summer which we celebrate with water play!
At our new parent meeting one of the mom's introduced a holiday that she and her family celebrate--the Persian new year. We look forward to learning more about this and celebrating in the spring.
We don’t celebrate holidays that are not a part of our community’s tradition. There are just too many! And we want them to be meaningful. So, if we don’t have a family that celebrates Chinese New Year or Ramadan, we won’t celebrate that at school. We look forward to having a more and more diverse community every year so we can learn about the many wonderful cultures that make up our world.
If your family has special traditions that you would like to share with us (and it doesn't have to be on a holiday) please let us know. Part of being in school with a diverse group of children is learning how different we all are as well as being so much the same!