Does your school discourage classroom holiday celebrations?'s Teacher Poll of the Week
Does your school discourage classroom holiday celebrations?

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Children and holidays go hand in hand. No one gets excited about upcoming holidays like children. For this reason alone, it's nice to see that the majority of teachers report that their school district does not discourage holiday celebrations. However, the result was not overwhelming.

There are multiple reasons why schools may choose not to celebrate holidays. Holidays which revolve around religious events are often difficult to handle. For students of different religions the holiday may have no relevance. Many teachers incorporate learning about many different holidays to accommodate all the students. It also serves the purpose of teaching all students about different cultures. Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza are commonly discussed each December. Students nowadays have more knowledge and a greater understanding of different cultures than those a generation ago.

Schools may find that planning events around holidays just adds to the overall excitement. Too much of a good thing can be detrimental. It sometimes makes it harder for students to concentrate and get any work done if they are overexcited.

For schools that do plan holiday celebrations it's not all fun and games. Using holidays to develop thematic teaching units is beneficial because they engage the student's interest. This is especially important when students have a hard time focusing due to the excitement the holiday invokes.

Holiday celebrations are also a time to promote parent involvement in the school. Christmas concerts, Halloween costume parades or Valentine themed dances are not academic pursuits but are all events that bring parents into the school. Parent support can bring an added layer to the school by helping with events, fundraising and support for students.

While older students may look to holidays as a way to get time off school, younger students are still excited for the holiday itself. Nothing beats the shining eyes and glowing faces of primary students bringing home their holiday craft projects or gifts they have made. When used as a way to add to the student's learning holiday celebrations can be beneficial. Each school district and individual school must make the decision of whether or not to plan for holiday celebrations depending on their school demographic and learning styles and abilities.