‘Special occasions are celebrated in ways that recognise, respect and strengthen children’s appreciation of diversity and difference’ Early Years Learning Framework.
As we approach the end of another year, we start to come together to celebrate and reflect on our learning, wellbeing, and achievements.
Celebrations are an opportunity to learn about others through authentic experiences. In early childhood settings, teachers and educators need to constantly balance predetermined celebrations (such as Mother’s Day, Christmas and graduations) with child- and family- focused celebrations. These celebrations may have remained unchanged over many years or may have been chosen as a reaction to external means. Authentic relationships with children and families are critical in ensuring that celebrations reflect individual early childhood contexts.
Within our services at Mary MacKillop Childcare, we have a strong connection and importance towards Catholic Sacraments and Culminations (celebrations)and we value and respect all our families and local community’s culture and identity, including their own unique celebrations.
Celebrations are a chance for shared learning and growth to explore and reflect upon our own sense of belonging. However, celebrations shouldn’t be the only exposure or acknowledgment around cultural diversity. Instead, diversity can be embedded meaningfully throughout a child’s day, providing flexibility for each child that allows them to participate at their own levelof development and understanding. As such, the team at Mary MacKillop Childcare provides all children with access to materials and environments that stimulate discussions about the similarities and differences amongst their peers and the wider community.
A very common and highly celebrated event coming upon us is Christmas, which of course is a major celebration within our Catholic traditions. It is commonly celebrated by exchanging gifts and spending time with family. Christmas time is a time for children to believe in something they cannot see or touch and experience the magic, love, and spirit of giving to others. It’s more than Christmas stencils or adult driven craft templates that all look the same, it’s the value of the process and joy of creation for those we love and cherish. In the words of Pope Francis “Christmas celebrations are often full of sound. It would be good for us to make room for silence, to hear the voice of Love.”