May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
What gives you Christmas joy? What fills your heart with Christmas cheer? Is it the Christmas songs we hear and sing in December? Is it decorating the Christmas tree or wrapping Christmas presents? Is it seeing St. Nicholas? Here at Parish Day School, we work hard to help our preschoolers feel joy and love during the Christmas season.
We start by hearing and experiencing the Christmas story. We hear the story in our chapel services, at Godly Play, we play with the nativity, and retell the story during our circle time. It gives us a reminder of what the Christmas season is all about and where our Christmas joy comes from. Through play, we retell the story and share it with our friends.
Next, we decorate and wrap. Our school is filled with children's ornaments and Christmas crafts. It brings such smiles to our children's faces to get to decorate a classroom Christmas tree or wrap up a present that they created in class. We talk about anticipation and waiting for Christmas Day to arrive. Our classrooms have set up wrapping stations that include wrapping paper, tape, and present tags. The children love to create items to wrap up and deliver to their friends, teachers, or parents. We get to watch the children use their creativity and build their fine motor skills as they expore cutting, taping, and wrapping up their homemade items. We talk about the story of Christmas and remind students that their homemade treasures are like the gifts that the Wisemen brought Jesus at his birth.
We sing and play. Christmas songs fill our hallways and classrooms. We experience Christmas joy through the songs we learn for our Christmas concerts. We play instruments inside and outside (Little Drummer Boy is one of our favorites). All of these experiences fill our hearts with Christmas cheer. We love to hear our students giggles and shouts of excitement as they sing and dance to the music and play drums and jingle bells.
We cook and create. Some of our children make gingerbread cookies, gingerbread houses, and gingerbread ornaments. Christmas smells like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and peppermint fills our hallways during this time of year. Our little learners love learning how to make things, especially things that smell and taste yummy.
Our hope for you this Christmas is that you get to experience all the joy and love of the season through the eyes of a young child.