Vibrant and Sweet: Celebrating Diwali

by Teresa Narey

A quick Internet search for Diwali (pronounced dee-VAH-lee) yields many results that compare this Indian holiday to Christmas. While the bright colors and flowers associated with India’s most cherished festival may not immediately draw up images of a snowy Christmas, its emphasis on sweets, gift-giving, and spirituality will certainly resonate with you.

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Not Halloween: An Introduction to Dia de los Muertos

by Teresa Narey

Introduction and Background:

In the U.S., the end of October is traditionally marked by the celebration of Halloween. In greater America, however, another holiday emphasizing fun, food, and costumes calls attention to the passing of time. Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is celebrated in Mexico and throughout Latin America on November 1 and 2, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, respectively (click here for help pronouncing Spanish words). On the surface, Dia de los Muertos and Halloween appear to have much in common, but a closer look at customs tells us otherwise.

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Shana Tova: Bringing Rosh Hashanah into the Early Childhood Classroom

by Teresa Narey

The beginning of the school year signals the beginning of many things: meeting new children and families, observing children becoming friends, setting rules and expectations, implementing new ideas and activities—the list goes on. It’s fitting, then, that Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, occurs during September. Rosh Hashanah literally translates to “Head of the Year.” (For help pronouncing Jewish holidays and Hebrew words, search here.) In addition to praying and attending services, Rosh Hashanah is a time when Jewish people reflect on their feelings and actions and consider how they may enter the new year with the best of intentions.

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Celebrating New Year’s

by Cora Miller

New Year’s Eve will be celebrated soon. How do you explain what the holiday is all about to young children? Keep your explanation simple. Explain that New Year’s Eve is a holiday that celebrates the end of one year and the beginning of another. Parties and celebrations are held all across the country to welcome the new year! Show the children a calendar from this year and one for next year, if possible. Have fun ringing in the New Year with some of the following activities for young children:

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Celebrating Flag Day

by Judy Mullican

flagpole in fieldNational Flag Day is celebrated annually on June 14, commemorating the day when the Stars and Stripes was adopted as the official flag of the United States in 1777. Closely examine a flag with the children. What colors do they see? Count the stripes together. Explain that when our country began, there were 13 colonies that became the first states. The thirteen stripes represent the original colonies. Now we have 50 states, and there is a star for each state. Offer some of these patriotic activities to celebrate Flag Day!

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Hearts for Art

by Judy MullicanHearts-for-Art

As Valentine’s Day approaches, children are likely to be interested in adding hearts to valentines and other artwork. If you take a few minutes to teach them how to cut out a heart without a pattern, they will be empowered to create hearts of all sizes from any paper they like. Here’s an easy way:

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Caring and Sharing

by Judy Mullican

Child Making a DonationThere is no greater feeling than the joy of showing kindness to others. When we provide opportunities for children to help others, they feel a greater connection to the community and can experience the joy of giving. There are many ways children can help throughout the year, but there are often special opportunities during this festive season. Look around your community and you will likely see many possible ways the children can help! Here are a few suggestions to consider:

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