Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas and Boxing Day Seasonal Activities and Reading for Montessori Classrooms

NAMC Montessori christmas seasonal activities reading boy giving gift to grandpa
The end of the year is always a time of reflection, no matter where we live. Very often, this reflection centers on thanksgiving, good will and peaceful deeds. As we write about the celebrations surrounding this time of year as they relate to the education of young children, we are always reminded of how important our example and support are toward the development of these citizens of tomorrow.

Christmas is celebrated every year on December 25. It is the day that Christians recognize as the birth of Jesus Christ, who they believe to be the Son of God. The widely-used Gregorian calendar is based on this date. Leading up to Christmas Day is the season of Advent. Some churches will display a wreath with five candles, one for the four Sundays leading up to Christmas Day and one final candle for Christmas Day. On Christmas Day, families celebrate by giving and receiving presents. There is often a special meal prepared for family and friends.

Boxing Day is celebrated on December 26 in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and the Commonwealth of Nations. It is also known as St. Stephen’s Day in many European countries. The day began in England under the rule of Queen Victoria in the mid-19th century. At that time, the higher classes would exchange gifts on December 25. On the following day they would give gifts to the lower classes. They often placed money, food and clothing in boxes (for ease of transportation) which is how the day was named. The gifts were based on the family’s needs and the services they provided to the gifter (cleaning, driving, etc.) Today, it is a day that the more fortunate give gifts to the less fortunate. It is a way to show appreciation for the community. Americans do not celebrate Boxing Day but during the time of slavery, slaves did receive Boxing Day gifts. Boxing Day can prompt some wonderful and poignant discussions with your Montessori students about needs, wants, social classes and the less fortunate.

As Christmas day and a New Year fast approach, we wish you all the beauty, joy, love and peace of this holiday season. Share these activities and books with your Montessori classroom and spread the happiness and cheer outwards from your Montessori community into the world.

Christmas and Boxing Day Seasonal Activities and Reading for Montessori Classrooms

Seasonal Activities for the Montessori Classroom
  • Do a botanical study of pines and evergreens. Create diagrams, booklets and art from these seasonal plants.
  • Use lyrical books such as The Night Before Christmas or How the Grinch Stole Christmas! to prompt seasonal poetry written individually or as a class.
  • Learn a song related to this time of year, and explore its history.
Advent, Christmas and Boxing Day Books for the Montessori Classroom
NAMC Montessori christmas seasonal activities reading holding evergreen seedling
  • Advent Storybook, by Antonie Schneider, Maja Dusikova, and Marisa Miller
  • The Jesse Tree: Stories and Symbols of Advent, by Raymond Anderson
  • Jotham's Journey: A Storybook for Advent, by Arnold Ytreeide
  • The Advent Book, by Jack Stockman and Kathy Stockman
  • Latin American Christmas, by Charito Calvachi and Marco Vinicio Rueda
  • Christmas around the World, by Mary D. Lankford, Karen Dugan, and Irene Norman
  • What Does Santa Do on Boxing Day? by Becky Plenderleith and Allan Plenderleith
  • Children Just Like Me: Celebrations! by Anabel Kindersley and Barnabas Kindersley
  • The Night Before Christmas, by Christian Birmingham and Clement C. Moore
  • A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
  • A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree, by Colleen Monroe
Web Resources
2008 related NAMC Blogs
2007 related NAMC blogs
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Wednesday, December 23, 2009.

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