Holidays and Celebrations
There are two issues about which parents and teachers feels strongly. First of all, we want all children to feel comfortable in their classrooms. Secondly, because children are naturally interested in the customs of others, we must allow them the opportunity to learn about differences and similarities in those traditions.
We also feel it is important to recognize the spontaneous conversations of children about their family traditions. Teachers must use their best judgment to honor the words from children and be sensitive to issues being represented by that conversation.
Learning about the differences in customs may be done through normal discussions between and among children and teachers or through planned activities. Specifically planned learning activities may include parents as the teachers to explain family customs, traditions, or cultural celebrations.
It is our goal to be sensitive, respectful, and inclusive in our conversations and expectations. We ask parents to be supportive and accepting as we discuss these holiday issues. We also seek and welcome direct parental involvement.
We will maintain our policy and not decorate or provide holiday programs. Music and art will be inclusive as we teach about different cultures.
Because giving to others is a central principle of many ethnic holidays and traditions, we will continue our school-wide efforts to support area emergency agencies and food pantries throughout the school year, not just during holiday seasons.
We will attempt to be very clear in our communication and would appreciate feedback from anyone who may have been offended. This step in communication will clarify the situation for home and school and become an educational opportunity for all involved. At all times our goal will be to take a broad look and educate with regard to specific content, as well as understanding and acceptance of those whose beliefs are different from our own.
Within this context of holidays, this is also a good time to reiterate the Board of Education policy in regard to gifts and giving to staff members at holiday time. According to Board policy, students and parents are discouraged from giving gifts to teachers and staff. We recognize that for some families it is important to send messages of appreciation to teachers. Child written notes, letters or pictures, or contributions to any giving project are welcomed as ways to express thoughts or feelings of appreciation.
Due to the District Food Allergy Policy, birthday "treats" have been discouraged at Glenridge. Students celebrating a birthday will be invited to say the Pledge of Allegiance with the Principal during morning announcements where he/she will also receive a special birthday pencil.