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.

The purpose of Dia de los Muertos is to honor the memories of deceased loved ones by having parties, displaying their favorite items in ofrendas (altars), and participating in activities they once enjoyed. Celebrations highlight the idea that our ancestors are still with us in spirit. Acknowledging Dia de los Muertos in your setting provides children with a multicultural experience that extends autumn’s greatest lesson—the circle of life.

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Honoring Veterans Day

by Kelley Jilek

Veterans day-girl with soldierVeterans Day was established to honor Americans who had served in World War I. It falls on November 11, the day when that war ended in 1918, but it now honors veterans of all wars in which the United States has fought, as well as those who are currently serving in our military. If you would like to honor the day with your children, we offer a few suggestions to help your children understand the importance of Veterans Day. Veterans serve in all careers. They include teachers, family, friends, business people, and people you pass on the street. They may or may not wear uniforms.

On a daily basis, children learn from our actions. When you see or pass a veteran, consider saying, “thank you” to him or her. After you have passed them, allow a little time to talk with your child and let him know the reason(s) you thanked the person you passed. Here is a list of 4 ways you can honor Veterans with your preschoolers:

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