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Resources to support celebrations, change and transition

Within our diverse community, we can never hope to replicate every type of celebration children will experience in their own homes. Instead, we should look to create new traditions that are special to the Early learning experience as ways to celebrate.

Written by: Early Educational Advisor - Jo Harris  

Making Celebrations Meaningful  

When planning celebrations in early childhood services, selecting occasions based on the needs and interests of all the children and families in your care is important.  

Within an early childhood service, children are learning about the wider world within a safe community, and there are daily opportunities to enjoy elements of life that accelerate their experiences and growth. 

Celebrations are often associated with food and decorations, but most children often enjoy being in the company of their favourite people to experience their presence and connection on these days. 

Birthdays are always a cause for celebration, but they do not have to include sugary foods and excesses. A simple wooden cake with pretend candles could be included in group time for the birthday child/children as their peers sing to them.  Many children like to have a keepsake from early childhood, perhaps receiving a birthday certificate from their educator or a special sticker to wear for the day. 

With such a diverse range of families in our community, we can never hope to replicate every type of celebration children will experience in their own homes. Instead, we should look to create new traditions that are special to the Early learning experience as ways to celebrate. 

Including Children in Preparations 

Another way to ensure all children are free and comfortable with participating in celebrations is to include them in setting up and preparing for an occasion.

Creating a group calendar to utilise with the children can help to plan the event/s you would like to celebrate and provide time to introduce any related concepts. Bellbird has a selection of calendars with blank templates to record and document learning in various personalised ways that can help keep track of the planning process. 

Perpetual Calendars can be used as a visual aid to share with the children and prompt discussions about the passing of time, helping children to understand what may distinguish one day or event from another. 

You may focus on the difference between events that happen frequently and are embedded into daily routines and those that happen once a month or year with a Weekly Calendar.  

Thinking through the preparations for an occasion provides the opportunity for children to ask questions and become for familiar with the reasons behind the celebration and the potential role they play in the process.

Provide Emotional Support through Change in Routines

There is often excitement linked to the anticipation of a special event. Still, to avoid being overwhelmed, it is essential to maintain some of the elements of daily routines to support children in managing their changing and sometimes unexpected emotions. 

Maintaining a regular routine allows children to recognise and express their feelings or ask questions about the event. It also gives them time and space to continue their play and learning as usual and an understanding of what makes an event different from the everyday. 

Using mat time to discuss the upcoming event is a great way to combine a familiar routine with discussing a new concept or change like transitioning to school.

Recognise the Embedded Learning opportunities

The lead-up to a special event may include creating invitations, in which children can explore early literacy concepts such as mark making with textas and pencils.  Unique wrapping paper can be made by printing with festive stamps to present end-of-year gifts to loved ones. 

Children may like to make their meals inspired by special events in the home corner with pretend food and choose or make their own dress up to further enhance their experiences as a way of preparing for or reflecting on a special event. 

Adding a range of books and puzzles that reflect different cultures are other simple activities to encourage further learning and discussions with children about celebrations.

Welcome Diverse Thinking when Planning Community Celebrations

For many educators, there is excitement in planning a graduation ceremony at the end of the 4-year-old preschool year for the children and their families. This could include dressing up in caps and gowns and creating a formal occasion in which they are awarded a certificate.

From the children’s point of view, it can be a time in which they will require support and understanding as they may encounter many feelings about the entire process of change as the familiar comes to an end. 

For others, the move from Pre to Primary School is not about celebrating the end of Kindergarten but is more about preparing for transitioning to school. As such, celebrating the end of the year, including seasonal occasions such as Christmas, can be a welcome distraction.

Stay Curious and Open to your own learning

There are so many places to research the events and occasions that could be celebrated in any country, but each year the makeup of the children and families within your service will vary. Attending professional training, researching and reading literature, and getting to know the people around you will be the best guide.

Memories made in childhood can last forever 

Whatever opportunity is presented to young children, it is important to remember that the early years are critical regarding their social and emotional development. Closely linked to both ELYF outcome areas of Community and Identity, it is the time we support children to see and actively participate in their learning that becomes most meaningful to them.  This foundation continues throughout their lives, with experiences becoming richer and even more relevant as they join the wider world. Feeling heard, respected, and valued, all children must have the opportunity to embrace the wonder of change and continue to welcome it into their lives in a permanent and enriching way.

For more ideas and information, please visit Bellbird's Educator Resources Page to read more blogs that provide tips on celebrations and change through play. 



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