My husband actually said to me, “Oh, that’s right, you bah humbug Halloween.” He was referring to our lack of costumes and parties in our preschool classes. Don’t worry, I quickly set him straight. 🙂
At Aldersgate Preschool we elect to keep our kids’ holidays pretty low-key. I know you can relate to the hype and “energy” surrounding holidays in our society. That’s part of our thinking. Here are a few of our thoughts driving our decision about holidays. (Hang in there with me through this part – there are photos at the end.)
We work hard to provide routines for the children while they are in class. Education.com says this,
” One of the most important things that you can do to make your young child feel safe is to establish as much routine in his life as possible. Children (and adults) feel the most secure when their lives are predictable. When adults provide environments that feel safe, children learn that they can trust others to take care of them and meet their needs, so they become free to relax and explore their world. “
Confusion and missing items
I directed a preschool that did have parties and a parade. Oh, the tales I could tell about the missing pieces of costumes, the mix-ups about who are doing crafts, the crafts that were not age appropriate, the children upset or crying . . . Sorry if I sound cynical but with preschool and younger children these are a few of the realities.
Family time becomes even more special
Think about how special Trick-or-Treating becomes when it is the real highlight for your child. I know some children are also exhausted after parties and the change of routines. Hopefully our low-key day allows children to have a “less melt down” experience while they trick-or-treat.
Young children can be scared of the unusual
I saw a perfect example of this in our three year old class. Ms. Susan showed the children an electric jack-o-lantern. Most of the children enjoyed the glow and the novelty as they talked about the shapes used in the face, etc. However, even with this friendly faced item, one boy said, “Oh, that’s a scary face.” He looked concerned until he was comforted by another teacher. When the festivities are at home with parents, those fears are lessened and there is more more flexibility in how the activity must proceed to accommodate each child’s level of fear or excitement.
The holiday can generate interest in new learning
As you will see below, we do talk about Halloween and the other holidays. We use the children’s base of knowledge to encourage interest in different kinds of activities that build skills; social, cognitive, language, fine motor and many more. (Okay, here are those pictures I promised. Look for all the different kinds of opportunities the children enjoyed yesterday – on Halloween.)
Developmental opportunities: Science, language, sensory, cooperation
Developmental opportunities: group dynamics, language (in the photo on the left each child got to talk to their class “puppet” and say what he or she will be for Halloween), self control, cognitive areas
Developmental opportunities: dramatization & language (this two year old class had the children practice knocking on the door in the box and saying “Trick-or-treat!” and then “Thank You.” Of course there was a little playing of Peek-a-boo too.)
Developmental opportunities: group dynamics, cooperation, self control (it’s hard to WAIT!), physics, cognitive, language, large motor
Developmental opportunities: cognitive skills, listening skills, fine motor control
Developmental opportunities: Fine motor, project planning, persistence, creative exploration (the first picture is a creation of two monsters), language (there was a lot of talking between the artists)
Of course all the staff talked with the kids about their plans for Halloween and what costume they will wear. Then, today we visited about their actual Halloween experience. Today I heard lots of stories about trick-or-treating and of course LOTS of candy.