Thanksgiving can be a touchy holiday for people in this day and age – we’re now aware (or should be) that while teaching our children to take time out of their lives to be thankful for what they have (and remember people who have less or nothing), the history behind the holiday can be complicated.
That said, your preschooler’s teacher has more things to consider when prepping activities for a holiday week, including how to incorporate lessons like winter clothing, cultural sensitivity, and community into kindergarten readiness skills. This might look like cutting out pictures of Thanksgiving foods to improve scissors grip or playing a counting game with pictures of turkeys instead of their regular numbers or animals.
So, in case your kiddo tells you “nothing” when you ask about school, here are 5 things his or her teacher would tell you about Thanksgiving in the classroom if you asked:
#5. The focus is on thankfulness.
History lessons can be lost on preschoolers, so your child will likely spend most of the week focusing on what it means to be thankful or grateful, and what in their lives makes them feel that way. Many teachers will also come up with some kind of project to drive the lesson home.
#4. All the lessons will be themed.
Repetition is key for kids at this age, so everything from reading to math to science will include some kind of Thanksgiving theme. They might knead or roll out dough during sensory play, trace letters in pumpkin pudding, act out a family dinner, or count turkey parts during math. Just roll with it!
#3. There might be a feast.
Thanksgiving has become more and more about sharing a meal with loved ones, and to illustrate this, many schools will organize a “feast,” though the food may be modified to be preschooler friendly. Teachers will opt for deli turkey and pumpkin pie in a cup instead of the real thing, and your kid may be asking for more of the same on the Turkey Day – so be prepared.
#2. Art projects will find their way home.
There’s the time-honored turkey handprint, but teachers are getting creative, too, choose to help their charges make napkin rings, pine-cone turkeys, or other decorations for use during the holiday. They might also choose to honor harvest season as a whole, but whatever your kid brings home, make sure to save it for Thanksgivings to come.
#1. It may or may not involve pilgrims.
Teaching Thanksgiving in a culturally sensitive way can be a challenge, given that the relationship between the pilgrims and Native Americans devolved quickly after that first Thanksgiving, so don’t be surprised if your child’s teachers avoid getting into it with young kids.
Have a nice holiday!