Anyway, Christmastime was no exception. Santa plays a small role in our family's Christmas celebration. I LOVE the spirit of giving, love, charity, hope, etc. that Santa brings, but I pride myself in not bringing in a huge amount of commercialization. We rarely talk about "what Santa will bring," though we do sing of Rudolph, Up on the Housetop, etc. I LOVE tradition:)
This year at preschool, we started the very first week of December by talking about Samuel the Lamanite. He was a prophet who preached to the people the coming of the baby Jesus 5 years before his birth. We focused on the significance of the Star (Samuel and other prophets prophesied this would be the sign of Jesus' birth). It was so fun to give kids a whole new dimension of thinking about stars at Christmastime!
We also studied Christmas tradition in other countries. We celebrated St Nick's day (Germany) and talked about the meaning of the Christmas tree, the origin of gingerbread houses, giving, celebrating, etc. We set up Santa's toy shop and painted our own ceramic banks, wrapped "gifts" (blocks) and loaded them into the "sleigh" to deliver for the children (among other things...) We also had some fun with texture table these weeks playing with ice, "snow," and cinnamon spiced playdough. What a fun week!
Week 3 of Christmas, we talked more particularly about the actual events of the Savior's birth. We reenacted the story countless times (dramatic play!), played go fish with nativity cards, looked for the missing piece to the nativity set, made our own nativity scenes out of fun foam (as a shape activity). We had a great time celebrating Jesus' birth with our own birthday party. We each made a "gift" for Him by decorating a gift and writing on it what we were going to do this year that he would like (show kindness to my brother, remember to say my prayers, pick up my toys without being asked:) The kids thought of their gifts all by themselves! It was neat to really literally tie it all together by reading our gifts aloud while we ate birthday cupcakes under our crepe paper decorations!
The first week of January we wrapped up our discussion of Christmastime by celebrating 3 Kings Day (Jan 6th) and talking about the Wisemen, their faith, how the stars led them to the Baby Jesus, and the Latin American traditions associated with this day. We had a celebration for 3 Kings Day and studied this culture as well. I think the kids really enjoyed learning how other children around the world celebrate Christmas:) We made some really awesome crowns this week out of painted paper plates, played phonics games with globos (balls- a common celebration toy during 3 K day) and ate traditional panetone. Fun!
|Gift Exchange- the kids had $2 to thoughtfully find a gift for their friend|
|Santa's workshop- painting banks|
|Mary, Baby Jesus, and the Myrrh Wiseman (Ike INSISTED)|