Christmas time is a time for celebration, reflection and wonder. At Jacaranda we encourage the children to have agency by discussing what they would like to do during this time. There are several things that are traditional to Jacaranda, decided upon over the years by connecting to our families and community. These include making decorations, a children’s Christmas party, a family night (this year our Come on Summer Art Exhibition), a concert for the families and some sort of giving. While not everyone celebrates Christmas in Australia, the season can provide an opportunity to look at the various ways in which Christmas is celebrated and look at providing an opportunity for children to understand empathy for others.
Children learn about themselves and construct their own identity within the context of their families and communities. This includes their relationships with people, places, things and the actions and responses of others. When children have positive experiences they develop an understanding of themselves as significant and respected, and feel a sense of belonging. Relationships are the foundations for the construction of identity – ‘who I am’, ‘how I belong’ and ‘what is my influence?’. (EYLF)
Educators play an important role in ensuring this time is still child centred. The children in each class make a list of the type of decorations they would like to make. The teachers and educators then discuss how they can incorporate the children’s ideas into the program. Families are engaged to give advice on various customs and invited into the centre to work with the children.
Vygotsky sociocultural theory focuses on the connections between people, the cultural context they interact in and shared experiences. The child’s development is guided by social interaction and their cultural context. The making of a decoration or producing a creative piece of art is completed with a lot of talking, laughing, discussion and joy. Skills are used that have been practiced all year, cutting, drawing, writing, patterning (with a bit – maybe a lot – of glitter) to produce something that the child eagerly shows their family.
But, it isn’t only about the decorations. We take this opportunity to connect with families and the community by inviting families and visitors, such as residents from Frank Vickery Village, to share morning tea and hear the children sing songs they have learnt through out the year and a few well loved Christmas song.
Jacaranda supports community giving programs during the Christmas season, Operation Christmas Child and the Advent Christmas Box for Amalee House. These are opportunities for educators and families to help the children to develop a sense of social justice and community.
Christmas is the end of the year at Jacaranda, and children transition to big school, or face the transition of meeting new children and educators when they return to Jacaranda in the following year. Transitions should not be viewed as a point-in-time event, but as a pathway that commences well before school, or preschool, begins and continues on into the first years of school.
All the staff of Jacaranda Preschool thank you for choosing to allow us to care and educate your child in 2016.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.