• Cultural Guide to American Schools

    Halloween: The evening of October 31 is generally celebrated with fun-making and masquerading as children wearing Halloween costumes go from door to door asking for treats. Parents of elementary and middle school children normally buy (or make) costumes for their children's trick-or-treating or for a Halloween party at school.  At Glenridge, students are asked to bring their costumes to school.  They will change into it at 2:00 and then participate in a school wide Halloween Parade around the school neighborhood at 2:15.  Parents and sibling are invited to view the spectacular display of celebration.  Students then return to their classrooms for a Halloween Party.
    Thanksgiving: Is an uniquely celebrated American holiday.  It is focused on family and the sharing of a meal that replicates the celebration of thanks given by the Pilgrims and Native Americans in the fall of 1621.
    Valentine's Day: It has become a tradition for elementary school students to give greeting cards to classmates as well as to teachers on Valentine's Day, which takes place on February 14. Whereas for adults or older students giving a Valentine card is associated with romantic meaning, for younger children it is a fun way to express friendliness towards peers and teachers. The unwritten rule is either to give Valentine cards to everybody in the class or to nobody in the class (if such a practice runs contrary to the child's religious background). A set of greeting cards called Valentine's cards can be purchased in any American supermarket (for example Wal-Mart, Target) as well as in most grocery stores.

    Sleepover:  Spending the evening and the night at another child's home.  This is often done for a birthday celebrations.  If it is not a birthday, the guest is not expected to bring anything besides a toothbrush and spare clothes.  If you or your child is not comfortable with staying overnight you may make arrangements to pick him/her up later in the evening. 
     Birthdays:  Students often celebrate a birthday with a planned party at home.  Invitations are given out to the friends who are invited to the party (many parents limit this number to the age of the child, i.e. a five year old would have no more than five guests).  Gifts are given to the birthday child.  Most parents spend between $15 to $20 for an age appropriate gift.  Invitations should not be given to guests in a way that makes other children feel excluded.   Teachers ask that they not be passed out during the school day.
     Winter Break:   Many religious holidays are celebrated during this time of the year.  Students will be provided lessons that explain the traditions that surround these events.  If you or your child would like to share a special tradition from your country we would love to provide you an opportunity to do this.
Last Modified on August 8, 2016