Schoharie County Child Development Council, Inc. has adopted the Creative Curriculum for use in all its classrooms. This curriculum, in conjunction with Head Start Performance Standards and early childhood education research-based theory, embraces diversity in the classroom setting. Clear guidelines for curriculum development aimed at fostering an anti-biased environment have been established in the curriculum and agency policies. Classroom activities, materials and supplies should be reflective of all children and families in the classroom or group as well as introduce unfamiliar cultures and traditions.
SCCDC does wish to recognize the special days in the lives of children in our program. We desire to support their cultural identities and to strengthen the connection of school to their home and family rituals. The families in the program are the best resources for gathering meaningful information. Additionally, a wide variety of resources, including those developed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, are available at each site. These resources should be used to research information about cultural diversity, best practice and anti-bias.
In keeping with best practices, holiday celebrations should not dominate the curriculum, but should be planned and facilitated within the context of a richly diverse classroom environment. Events planned and facilitated should be kept within the guidelines of good early childhood practice and each child should feel comfortable and accepted in every activity that takes place in the classroom. In an effort to avoid over-simplifying the culture of the children in the group or inadvertently promoting cultural stereotypes, staff should plan group activities, including celebrations that are carefully researched.
All celebrations will be held in an age appropriate manner and will involve the culture and traditions of each classroom. Individual family values which may include their beliefs, religions or traditions, are encouraged in each classroom. Celebrations my also include beliefs or customs that are not present in a particular classroom.
SCCDC will continue to welcome all families, their philosophies and their participation in the program. At the same time, SCCDC will not endorse any religious holidays but will remain open to parent initiated activities that focus upon their personal beliefs and practices. Family of the Week is an ideal place to present their family traditions, which also includes family religious traditions.
Birthdays will be simple and meaningful to the child. Many families do not celebrate birthdays or choose to keep birthdays simple. Elaborate celebrations in the classroom are not appropriate. All children must be recognized in the same manner as their peers. Birthdays may include:
Inviting parents to visit the classroom and make healthy snacks with the children. Plan classroom nutrition activities around the parents who decide to participate in making snacks.
Holding monthly birthday parties that are celebrated with all birthday children in the month at one time.
Parents may bring in store bought baked goods. If parents do not bring in a store bought snack for their child, staff must recognize the birthday child in a meaningful way. It is important to remember that some parents cannot afford the expense of store bought baked goods.