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My Kid's Preschool Dissed Hanukkah!

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At my kid's school, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and NOTHING else.


Guest blogger Mom De Plume: Every day I pick my daughter up from preschool, I can't help noticing her little classroom has turned into a Winter Wonderland. And not just any Winter Wonderland, a Christmas wonderland. On every available space there are drawings of Christmas trees, Santas and reindeer. A Christmas tree stands in the corner covered with angels and elf decorations.

Being Jewish, living in a mostly Christian society, I'm used to the pervasiveness of Christmas and the disparity of how much "face time" Hanukkah gets in schools. But it really hit me the other day when I noticed, at the far, far end of the my daughter's classroom a couple of store-bought menorah pictures, taped haphazardly to a door. That's it?? Kind of insulting. Couldn't they at least try to celebrate the holiday?

I've also been told there will be a Christmas program where the tiny tots will belt out "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." I get it, those songs are fun to sing, but what about "Dreidle Dreidle Dreidle"? It's a nice ditty too. And it's about a toy!! And CLAY. Super fun!

To be fair, there is no baby Jesus hanging around the class. But is it too much to ask that my religion is not shoved into a corner?

next: I Don't Want to Put Up a Christmas Tree
14 comments so far | Post a comment now
Editor Mom December 11, 2008, 7:40 PM

I know exactly how you feel! My kids are in public school, after being in Jewish preschool. I”m doing my best to make them feel special and happy about Hanukkah, but it is always a challenge. My 2nd grader came home today and told me that some girls in his class were teasing him about Hanukkah. Kids are cruel, but they learn it from their parents. Uneducated parents breed intolerant children. Very sad.

geen December 11, 2008, 8:08 PM

I am christian and hanukkah doesn’t bother me, hell, wasn’t it here before christmas? Celebrate both!

a Mom of two December 11, 2008, 8:16 PM

My kids attend a catholic pre-school and i’m amazed at how much their teachers and the school have embraced Chanukkah.

Sherry December 11, 2008, 8:48 PM

Have you thought about volunteering for an hour or so to explain the holiday to the class? At my daughter’s school they love having parents share part of their culture like that. One day when I was there another mom came in to talk about Sikh faith and culture because some of the kids though her son was a girl because of his long hair up in a bun.

The kids were enthralled and it was super interesting. I bet they would love to learn about something they don’t know if you went in with a real menorah, a dreidel, talked about what you celebrate, etc.

Anon December 11, 2008, 9:46 PM

I agree with Sherry. As a Christian I would love for someone of the Jewish faith to share Chanukkah with his class!

Early childhood teacher in CA December 11, 2008, 10:22 PM

I’ve been teaching young children for over 20 years and I have seen a lot of schools that only celebrate one specific time or another in their class. As an educator, I have learned that the most important thing for teachers to learn is how to concentrate on subjects that pertain specifically to those in their class. Even if there are no jewish children in the class, Hannukah can still be taught (as should other celebrations); but when the teachers know they have jewish children in their group, it should definitly be a part of their curriculum. Other holidays can be talked about too - I would just like to suggest that teachers do their homework and know the facts about these celebrations before introducing them to the class. The best thing you could do as a parent is to step in and volunteer your time to give your expertise about Hannukah to the kids. Plan to make Latkes and applesauce with them and they will never forget the time you spent with them. This will also make your child feel extra special that his mom took time to be the guest speaker in his class!

JP December 12, 2008, 8:00 AM

How is “Jingle Bells” Christmas? It’s about snow, a horse sleigh ride, and getting stuck in the snow in the 2nd verse? Some songs honestly are just wintery. Let it snow, Jingle Bells, Frosty the snow man, WInter Wonderland. You can easily say at the end of Frosty in place of “I’ll be back on Christmas day” “a winter’s day, a snowy day”. If this was such an issue why was it not discussed when selecting a preschool?

Lovey's Mom December 12, 2008, 8:43 AM

My daughter is one of the few Jewish kids in her daycare and the only one in her class. She’s 9 months and doesn’t know the difference so I told them it really didn’t matter if they kept the room Christmas themed. But you know what? The teachers were excited to put up Chanukah decorations for her! Yes, her picture is up on the wall with the other kids, all dressed like elves, and it cracks me up! Santa is going to be there today and I think I’ll take her to see him. We will never celebrate Christmas but I think it’s a wonderful holiday for kids who do.

Lindy December 12, 2008, 11:44 AM

When my DD was in K-5 (back in 1994) they learned about Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanzaa.

Adrienne December 13, 2008, 12:05 PM

If schools can’t put up pictures of the nativity, why should they celebrate Chanukah? Both are religious holidays, so they should be treated equally. Now I’m not opposed to kids learning about Chanukah, or having a menorah in the classroom, but if I wrote a post complaining about the lack of baby Jesus in my son’s public school, I have a feeling people wouldn’t be agreeing with me.

J December 15, 2008, 12:31 AM

Im Christian and yet I still love Adam Sandler’s chanukah song, they definatly should have done a bit more for hanukah I agree…

Jas December 16, 2008, 10:15 AM

Regardless of the fact that no nativity scene was put up, a religious symbol was still put up; the tree. Most Christian holiday traditions come Pagan festivals.

While I’m neither Christian nor Jewish, I do know that both holidays are steeped in religion. I think it’s ridiculous that your
daughter’s preschool decided one holiday was better than the other.

Caitlin December 22, 2008, 5:55 PM

To be fair, Jingle Bells is not actually a Christmas carol. It’s a winter song and was originally written for Thanksgiving.

I agree that if there is a Jewish child in the class, it would be a good idea to celebrate or make more of an effort to acknowledge Hannukkah. Though since it’s not actually the most significant festival on the Jewish calendar, maybe you would prefer them to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur or Passover instead? The school probably only celebrates Christmas and Easter out of the Christian festivals and not every saint’s day, so it’s fair to say that you should choose the most important ones.

It’s interesting (and probably deliberate) that they seem to be celebrating the secular holiday of Christmas rather than the religious festival. Rudolph is a Christmas carol although not a religious one. The tree is a Christmas symbol, though again not a religious one.

arbitymntromy March 15, 2011, 2:52 AM

Nice site . :)

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