I believe incorporating cultural traditions in lessons and activities at school can help teachers build inclusive classrooms. My son has been the only South Asian in his classroom ever since he started going to daycare and now even at preschool. And every year I have worked on introducing a cultural day in his classroom around our big festivals like Diwali and Holi. This has helped me personally build the excitement around our culture and festivities, as our son gets to experience the fanfare around it not only at home but also at his school with his friends and teachers.
Although the kids in his class are very young to really understand the significance of “culture,” it is important for us that our toddler can celebrate these festivals with same rigor and excitement as other classroom events. Honestly, this is also a reminder for us parents to continue taking these steps to raise confident kids who are proud of their roots.
Holi is the festival of colors and when it comes to kids, we all know how much they love to play with colors! Below is a list of things I have done in the past and plan to do at my almost 4-year old’s classroom. Also, I am sharing some ideas for older kids that I have saved for coming years.
Talk to your kid’s teacher
- Share with them more information about the festival or event you plan to celebrate. ( I usually bring print outs on simple and key information about the festival, also share pictures and ideas I like to incorporate)
2.Start by reading a book-
3.Ask your child to present to the class
My son gave a small presentation last year on Diwali. We will be doing it this year for Holi too. I usually read him books and show him videos and pictures to help him prepare. We try adding some festival related props that bring excitement to the talk. For Holi I plan for him to show powder color and water blaster ( pichkari ).
4. Dress for the occasion.
As Vir will be presenting to his class, I decided to work on a simple DIY project with him. This Holi T shirt was a fun way to engage and learn about the festival. Older kids can make one on their own and share it with their friends too. There are some T shirts you can also buy online at Etsy and Amazon.
I bought the supplier from Marshalls . You just need fabric pends and a white T shirt to make something similar.
5. Request for a collaborative class project
We did the finger painting and hand painting activity last year on a large chart paper as a collaborative classroom project. It was displayed in the class all month, so all parents could see it and the kids could admire their prints.
Here are some art and craft project ideas that you can get inspiration from
6.Decorate the class
Just like any other celebration I like to include some pieces of decor in the class after teacher’s permission. This makes the celebration extra special. Usually I offer to get the decor and it can be something simple like, colorful ribbons, streamers, paper banners etc.
You can print this FREE Holi banner and put it up in the class or home too
7.Snacks/ Class Favors–
No celebration is complete without some celebratory food and gifts.. You can request for a colorful snack or buy one for the entire class – from sprinkle cupcakes, to holi special cookies, yogurt or fruit pouches. It’s a fun way to make the day extra memorable. Avoid homemade desserts or food.
I will be offering snacks and paints for favors , will be using this cute printable from 5Minutesformom
8.Class / Teacher gifts
You want to thank the teachers for their efforts, and it is a sweet gesture too. For teachers I like to give usually give succulents and for Holi a pretty spring bouquet will be apt. Gift cards from Amazon go a long way. (For Diwali I gave diyas and candy to the entire class in organza bags. All the parents and kids love it soo much.)
I hope this resource helps you prepare on steps to organize a cultural event in your child’s classroom.I
I will love to hear how you celebrate your culture in your child’s classroom.
Below are some of my previous posts on Holi celebration.
Wishing all my readers a very Happy Holi!