I am a Christian and the reality is that it permeates everything that I do. It dictates my morals, principles, behaviours, and more relevant to you is that it underpins the ethos of my setting. My Christianity has always taught me to respect other religions, cultures and beliefs and therefore, I am happy to expose the children in my setting to different celebrations as we make diva lamps and rangoli patterns at Diwali or learn about Hannukah and Eid. We have Thanksgiving dinner as we learn about this US tradition and we parade down the street at Carnival time. But, I draw the line at Halloween.
Whilst some argue that Halloween is rooted in Christianity and is a time dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints, matyrs and the faithfully departed, all that many children are exposed to is witches, zombies, spiders and scary pumpkins. Why?????? This year I said NO. Everything I introduce into the setting has always been with the children’s best interests, development and learning at the centre. I could find no logical reason to expose my children to this tradition.
Having said that, this did not stop me from taking full advantage of the discounted Halloween themed resources in the shops. Some of the many things I purchased included: Black pipe cleaners, discounted pumpkins and child friendly face paints. The learning was immense as our home made incy wincy spiders reinforced language, numbers, colors, and creative thinking. Whilst our Preschoolers utilised the phonics opportunity to sing Sara with a Spider “S”, “S”, “S” (you probably need to have heard the tune to get it )
The homemade lanterns gave the children a useful opportunity to discuss light and dark, to make predictions and to test the accuracy of their predictions. Even carving the pumpkin to make a Smiley Pumpkin mascot gave us a great ingredient for some pumpkin pies!
Never one to shy away from an opportunity to get dressed up, we had Dress Up Day for the kids on 27 October 2016. It was lovely to see an array of characters: Dinocaurs, Buzz lightyear, Doc Mc Stuffins and even a friendly witch. I also dropped off some Fruit Bowl treats at our neighbour houses (who happened to be past Discovery children) and enlisted them in our door to door “Treating”. We played games and got our face painted. It was a truly special day.
Days later, I received a message which applauded my decision to cancel Halloween and agreed that “ it is so important to be mindful of what we put in our children’s psche”. I could not have said it better myself. If you know me, you know that I love having fun – but not at the expense of our children. October for us is action packed but not influenced by Halloween.