The winter holidays are a time to celebrate family and the humanity that brings us all together, as well as the unique histories that make all of our cultures special. In December there are many fun ways that early childhood education teachers can showcase diverse winter holiday traditions and bring countless cultures to life.
Not sure where to begin? Try some of these rewarding activities:
Read a Book
Many students who celebrate Christmas with their family will only learn about other winter holidays in the classroom. Books are reliable educational tools that can bridge the gap and begin the discussion around other cultures and holiday practices.
There are many picture books related to Christmas, including How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The House Without a Christmas Tree. In addition to these books try to read at least one picture book for each of the other two main winter holidays. One of the best Kwanzaa books to read with your students is Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story. For Hanukkah, try Latkes and Applesauce.
Divide your class into groups of 2 or 3, and have each group give a small presentation about the specific ways different countries or cultures celebrate winter holidays. For young kids, collect information ahead of time and keep it in a binder or folder so they can prepare for the presentation in class.
This is a great opportunity for young kids to practice speaking in front of groups, and you can add to the fun by allowing them to draw or create props that are relevant to the presentation. Note: either draw countries from a hat or allow the group to pick: don’t force any student to deliver a presentation about their own cultural background.
Journey Around the World
This educational activity requires advanced planning and coordination, but is totally worth it to engage young students with cultures from around the world! Have each teacher in your school choose one country (try to make them as varied as possible, and with distinct winter holiday traditions; think Russia, Australia, Japan, and more) and design a 45-minute educational unit featuring books, songs, costumes, crafts, and food.
Students rotate between classrooms throughout the day to learn about as many cultures as they can. Parents can get in on the fun by making the food items for their child’s homeroom teacher or by helping with decorations.
Learning about other cultures helps teach young students the value of diversity and the thrill of walking a mile in another person’s shoes. Earn your degree in Early Childhood Education from Kendall College so you can teach lessons like these that truly matter. We are dedicated to helping you achieve your career goals – with a flexible online learning platform our program is more accessible than ever.