Educator Asks:

Around the time of various holidays, I think about the holidays my students and families from other cultures celebrate that I don't know very much about. I would like to learn about their holiday traditions to develop lesson plans that include recognition of these special festivities, but I don't know where to go to find the information I need.

Parent Answers:

You might start with the parents and families of the students in your class. Most families would be honored to share information about their heritage, customs, and how they celebrate favorite holidays.

Develop a friendly questionnaire to send to the families in your class. Introduce the questionnaire with a note of appreciation for the valuable contributions multiple cultures have made to the school and the community. Share your desire to learn more about the families' traditions, especially how cultural holidays are celebrated.

As you gather information about the holidays and customs, discuss potential lesson plan ideas with your principal, curriculum coordinator, and parents. Many cultural holidays derive from religious beliefs or political observations that may be perceived as too controversial for classroom presentations. Allow direct discussions with the school staff and parents to guide the directions of your multicultural lesson plans.