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As a multi-denominational environment, Discovery School introduces students to various religious and cultural holidays for the purpose of increasing awareness and respect for others beliefs and traditions.  We do not celebrate any religious holidays as a school.  Rather, we offer an environment where children and their families can share their traditions, while teachers reinforce concepts with various symbols and stories of each religious or cultural holiday. At the beginning of each year, parents sign up to host one holiday, in keeping with our philosophy, teachers and parents are asked to follow these guidelines.

 

 
 

 

1.  Several holidays are celebrated as secular, cultural events with positive themes and imagery. Halloween parties include trick-or-treating, costumes (masks are discouraged), themes such as pumpkins, cats and "friendly" ghosts, etc.  Frightening and/or satanic images have no place at Discovery School.  At Thanksgiving, there is a feast where themes of thankfulness are emphasized.  Valentine’s Day parties stress friendship, sharing, love and mutual giving.

 

2.  Whenever possible, parents are asked to host holiday celebrations that have significance as holy days (i.e., Christmas, Easter, Chanukah, Passover) in their homes.  This lends a personal touch where it is appropriate to include the religious stories behind these celebrations.  Discovery School does not "teach" religious material, but parents are encouraged, whether hosting in a home or class, to share the religious significance of their holiday traditions and symbols (i.e., menorah, crèche, Easter egg, matzo, etc.) In classes in which there are no parents of a religious background familiar with a holiday, another parent will be invited to assist.

 

Teachers are asked to follow up the parents’ introduction of the holiday with activities that incorporate and reinforce the symbols associated with the holiday.  For example, a parent would host the Christmas party explaining the significance of this day to Christians.  Teachers would follow this with art projects including Christmas symbols, music lessons including Christmas songs and cooking projects dealing with Christmas foods.

 

3.  Decorations in December will include Chanukah and Christmas themes.  In Spring, decorations will include Easter and Passover themes.

 

4.  Gift giving between students does not occur.  Each December there is a "Gift Giving Day", held on a day between the observances of Chanukah and Christmas, when teachers present their Winter Break gifts to students, children take home their holiday gifts for parents and students are offered the chance to bring a holiday gift to Discovery School to be donated to a specific charity.

 

5.  All parents are cautioned about the inappropriateness of including themes of murder or death in any preschool holiday explanations.  Thus, parents are asked to refrain from sharing the story of Christ’s crucifixion or the story of the Angel of Death smiting the first born son of non-Jewish families.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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