There are two ways to think about holidays in public school. One is that you do not include any holidays in school activities. The other is to teach students about a range of different holiday celebrations from around the world throughout the school year. Try not to fall into the trap of only talking about holidays in December. This by default ends up centering Christmass and leaves out all of the important holiday celebrations from most other religions. Teaching about world holidays helps students that celebrate minority holidays to feel valued in their classroom community. It also exposes all students to celebrations and customs from people that are different from themselves.
Teach about Holidays All Year
Have a way of teaching about holidays throughout the school year. You read aloud information books to introduce students to holidays. Have students read about multiple holidays and then compare and contrast similar themes such as harvest festivals or holidays about helping others.
Do Not Center Holidays from One Religion
Regardless of the religion of any of the students or teachers in a public school class, do not center one religion over another. If you are teaching students about religious holidays then this should be from an academic perspective instead of using religious holidays symbols to teach academic content.
World Holiday Resources
Use world holiday reading passages to introduce students to a variety of international holidays. They can read about holidays and then compare and contrast themes from the holidays. Support ELLs with picture vocabulary cards and two different reading levels.
Holidays from Around the World Posters
Read about world holidays and festivals with colorful photographs on National Geographic.
Learn about ways to teach about religious holidays in an inclusive way on Learning for Justice.
Read about tips for teaching about holidays for ELLs on Colorin Colorado.
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National Geographic has a series of holiday books with photographs.
Rookie Read-About Holidays has a series of very simple books for beginning readers.
Discover additional world holiday books on my World Holiday Amazon Page.