Welcome to my blog about my experiences working in early childhood. I have called it Nurturing Forests because I believe that raising children is not a isolated activity but takes a whole community.

As early childhood professionals, we are actively involved in this process but we also need to work closely with the children, parents, community as a whole and other allied professionals.

I hope you enjoy my site. I also have a facebook site of the same name where I provide links to useful sites for teachers, parents and others interested in the early childhood: www.facebook.com/nurturingforests

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Celebrating Easter - Do I do it?

I wanted to do a post on the celebration of Easter in a Long Day Care setting because it seems to be an issue that a lot of people are concerned about.

There has been a extreme trend (and often the only version seen in the papers) to ban all celebrations in the understanding that that is how you recognise diversity and difference within the centre.

However, recognition of diversity and difference is not about pretending things don't exist - it is acknowledging that other people may hold different views to you and each other and talking about that at the same time.

This including providing families with a choice and ability to ask their child not to be involved in a certain celebration.

I, personally, do not hold any strong religious beliefs - I do strongly recognise with the principles of Buddhism and try to implement them but often fail - but my boss and my Diploma staff member are both strong Christians and as I explained to them - it is OK to celebrate something at work that they believe in.

Part of being a good teacher and role model is having conviction of your beliefs but not to the exclusion of others.

What do you do for Easter? Do you celebrate it at your centre?


  1. I defiantly think we should celebrate different religions special days – and I think it’s a big part of the EYLF. I'm still trying to work out how to do Easter this year. It's the only time of year I wish I was in the northern hemisphere because I'd love to mix Easter in with Spring.

    I think we'll decorate hard boiled eggs and maybe have an Easter egg hunt. Not sure yet what else.

    I like to have an emphasis on the celebrations that children in my class personally celebrate, because it makes it more meaningful to the children. I ask the parents about any celebrations they have and encourage them to bring in food or pictures so we can discuss/celebrate it as a class in context.

  2. I agree Erin that is is important to celebrate what the children celebrate and it is a major part of the cultural competence that EYLF talks about. Part of this is also recognising the carers beliefs and practices - who you are as a teacher and being authentic to yourself is a vital part of being a good teacher.

    Bring a plate is an excellent way of exploring the ways others live - it even works for people in offices. I use to work with a fabulous Indian cook who would bring in kilos of food for us all.

    We also utilise bicultural support workers, ask the families to come in and teach a skill and so on.

    It is also ok to talk about big events that may not be celebrated specifically by members of your class - as we are all part of a larger community and the world and one of the outcomes of raising awareness is increased understanding and a better understanding of others (i.e. cultural competence).

    When I celebrate events I try to think of the most intrinsic least gimmicky way to do it - try to think of what is the message behind the event and go from there.

    You can talk about the fact eggs are associated with new life and that the tradition comes from the Northern Hemisphere where it is Spring - you might want to link up with some blogs overseas to see what they are doing

  3. I celebrate Easter with my children - it is always linked with spring up here in Saskatchewan, Canada, after winter we are so happy to experience the renewal of spring. We decorate hard boiled eggs, decorate small milk carton baskets, read stories about the Easter rabbit. I don't discuss religious aspects as our center is a public institution - just as I celebrate Christmas - for it's art, stories, customs - for children of other faiths it can be cultural learning. I also do Passover, and at Xmas - Hanukkah, Kwanza, etc.
    I really think most cultures enjoy some sort of festival related to the renewal of spring.
    I enjoyed this post - a good subject for discussion.
    All the best!
    Happy Spring!

  4. I just wanted to make an additional clarification in light of the news this morning - about celebrating religious events in child care and the new regulations.

    I do not force children to participate in any activity (let alone a religious related one).

    If you provide the child with choice about whether or not to participate - you will be complying with the new laws coming in force next year.

  5. Good topic! When I had a Montessori school in the U.S., we had activities based on the secular aspects of Christmas and Easter, such as Santa, Christmas trees, Easter bunnies, and Easter eggs. Families were always welcome to share their cultural holidays. Children were given the choice of participating in any activity, and that worked well. Of course, religious schools celebrate the religious aspects of the holidays, and some schools only acknowledge the "Winter Holidays" and "Spring Break."

  6. Even though we aren't Christian, we also celebrate Christmas and Easter. Ultimately all of the yearly feasts are about binding us together as a community, so we celebrate with the people around us.
    However I would not want my children being taught religion without me. It's great to teach about 'some people believe,' so long as there is no expectation that 'you should believe this.'

  7. Hi there, loving this point. Yes I totally think it's great to share holidays and beliefs. I wasn't surprised that they didn't do anything Easter focused in my son's pre-school. They gave out little chocolate eggs to take home at the end of the day and that was it.
    I grew up with a lot of Hindus in my area in England and they are the most accepting people! They love Christmas, don't believe in it but it's a fun way of sharing love for eachother and getting into the festivities of the country they're in!
    NOW that same area in England is full of .... let's just say another religion and they're no longer allowed to call it Christmas, it has to be Winterval because a certain group was offended. Total garbage!
    I love hearing about different cultural holidays with all meanings and think it's important to do this to promote respect and peace. But I do agree, no one should be pushed into an activity, seeing it and being educated about it is another thing. A quite interesting and helpful thing.