On Halloween at our school (and other holidays)

In general, we do not "do" holidays at our school.  Now, we may create some special activities for the children on those days that would correlate to the occasion.  However, we honor the children by not interrupting their primary goal of exploration and experimentation at the school when they attend.  We choose not to bombard them with the expectations held by adults in reference to such days.

In regards to Halloween specifically, Dan Hodgins (educator whom I'm spoken of several times in the past) posted this on his Facebook page today, 

Okay, you are all going to hate me for this one. Halloween is not appropriate for Preschool age children......They would enjoy getting "candy" just as much without the costume. They don't like their faces covered and they don't understand what happened to the individual that went behind the costume.

While I recognize that children have varying capacities for comprehending our Halloween traditions, I find that pretty much the entire holiday and its traditions are something "taught" to our children.  Yes, they are fun.  Yes, we can gauge what traditions are appropriate for each individual child.  However, at the preschool age, these traditions are not typically inspired by the child. They are typically inspired by the parent.

What that means for Halloween here tomorrow:

Costumes:  If your child requests (not due to your adult prompting or questioning) to wear a costume to school...so be it.  Note this though.  If a child is allowed to wear a costume to school on one day(Halloween), why wouldn't they be allowed to wear a costume on ANY given day?  To children at this age, costumes are something to be worn on any given day, at any given time, just because it is desired for the moment. To a preschool aged child, a costume is a tool for pretend play, which is not something that is limited to any given day or event.  Please also understand that if your child is proud of the costume and is wearing it more to gain a reaction than to take on a persona in pretend play, chances are the experience of wearing the costume to school will not be all that successful, and could potentially prove stressful.  Also keep in mind that what your child wears to school will be what your child plays in at school, paints in at school, and digs in the mud in at school.  We always ask that you keep any clothing (which would include costume) items you are concerned about out of the school experience.  Finally, any props that belong with your child's costume are almost positively going to cause them more stress at school than joy, as they are at an age developmentally that requires for them to possess things as "mine".  Please keep such things out of the school as well, out of respect for your child, the other school children, and our staff.  If your child asks to wear his or her costume the day after Halloween, so be it.  Let them enjoy the costume to its fullest.  Again, there is no need for your child to be restricted to wearing the costume for the extent of one evening!  They just want to wear a costume.  We don't need to make it into a huge deal for their school day.

Candy:  We'll not be "trick-or-treating".  I have just a little something that I will be sending each child home with, but that's the extent of our sweet-treat experience for the day.  The children will likely receive more than enough sweets this holiday.  We do not need to give them more here!

Other:  Like I said, we may provide activities for the children that seem to correlate to traditions of the holiday.  We as teachers will not attach such activities verbally or otherwise to "Halloween".  Activities would be placed in front of the children just as any other activities we put out for them on any other day, and will continue for as long as they prove to be inspiring the children's exploration.  (Examples of this: "valentines" being placed in various cubbies, by the children, for over a week around Valentine's Day and hunting for gold and setting leprechaun traps for days around St Patrick's Day.)

Please understand, what you do as a family for the holiday of Halloween is entirely up to you.  Different families have different traditions, and I encourage you to establish yours.  Our family certainly has ours.  These are simply the details on how we handle the holiday at the school.