I imagine that many of you are getting ready for a long weekend; the one that traditionally marks the beginning of summer and gives us permission to wear white pants. Memorial Day this Monday is a day set aside each year when we honor those who died in service of our country.
That concept is not developmentally appropriate for young children, so I wouldn’t really bring that part up. (Did I ever tell you about the time I was observing a classroom and the teacher began telling the children about Patriot Day, without knowing what it was about? The teacher proceeded to pull up information about Patriot Day on the screen in the front of the class only to discover that it is the day that memorializes those who died in the 9/11 attacks. Not a good idea. The teacher had no idea what to do or say, so instead said, “Why don’t you go home and ask your parents about it.” Yeesh!)
However, the word memorial comes from the Latin word for memory and memories are definitely something you can talk about with children. Why don’t you create a memory board for the classroom and the children can either dictate their 3 favorite memories from this school year or draw their 3 favorite memories. You can then talk about them when you reconvene on Tuesday. That way, you recognize that they will hear the words Memorial Day this weekend, and they will have the concept that it is a day for remembering stuff. Have them enumerate their memories as an opportunity to use number and to put their ideas in order!
2 Replies to “Memorial Day”
I think Memorial Day and Patriot Day can be explained to children in a way that informative without developing a fear of death. A teacher should be prepared with children\’s book that explain the holiday in a child friendly way. In my opinion,it is never to early to develop appreciation for military sacrifice in young child. It is also a great time for sharing memories of parents, family member, and unfortunately sometimes of friends their age that have died.
I tend to think about these things on a case-by-case basis. By that I mean that each group of chidlren is different and I am not sure that \”group talk\” about things like military death and sacrifice is one that should be taken lightly. Of course, if it comes up, teachers should be prepared to deal with it in mindful and appropriate ways. However, not knowing what you are getting into and being unprepared around issues as important, personal, and cultural as death is unacceptable in all cases.