Christmas is a magical time for young children, and the winter time is filled with many holiday celebrations. Depending on the community, a Preschool or Early Childhood Centre is situated in, the cultural make up of families may vary greatly and the Early Childhood curriculum should always be sensitive to other cultures when program planning. Preschool children are beginning to understand about other countries and their cultures. Christmas traditions are a great way to show children our diversities as well as our similarities.
Hanukkah could be discussed for longer than a day, or celebrated for the full eight days of the holiday within an early childhood setting. Preschool children could learn about the importance of the Menorah, play with a Dreidel and eat latkes, to name a few things. For more ideas, click HERE
Christmas in Australia
Christmas down under is still celebrated but there are many variation due to the summer weather. Many Australians spend Christmas day at the beach. Create a summer scene with Santa to illustrate an Aussie Christmas. Santa could be dressed in a a bathing suit, or swim trunks as they say in Australia! Combine this with a Indoor Beach Party.
Christmas in France
In France, it is a Christmas tradition to place shoes in front of a fire, in hopes that they will be filled with goodies from Santa (Pere Noel). A craft that would match well with the learning of France's Christmas customs is to have the children decorate cut out shoes with Christmas stickers, glitter or whatever choice seems appropriate for the classroom philosophy.
Christmas in Mexico
Feliz Nevidad in Mexico is celebrated with many fun filled events, like a Pinata party! The poinsetta is an important symbol with Mexican Christmas Celebration. To make a poinsetta in a preschool setting, provide children with five cut out leaves for them to glue onto green construction paper. The children could then tear yellow paper to make the center of the flower. For more information about the Poinsetta and printable crafts, click HERE
Christmas in the Phillipines
One of the unique aspects of Christmas celebration in the Phillipines are the paper lanterns called Parols that are used for decoration. Young children would love to have their own paper lantern to bring home. The lanterns could be simplified in this preschool craft project to a big yellow star with ribbon coming off the pointed ends. Click here for more instructions.
Around the World Christmas Wreath
Lastly, perhaps the best way to Celebrate Christmas around the world is to make a craft celebrating the world itself! Cut the center of a paperplate and provide children material for glueing onto their wreaths. The material could be pre-cut, or placed out with scissors, to foster fine motor development. Here are some suggestions:
- used Christmas cards
- used mailing stamps
- envelopes with addresses
- maps cut into pieces
- magazine pictures of children from around the world
- different ways to say Merry Christmas : printed on paper