My friend called me last week all bent out of shape because she got a note that some moms wanted to come into her child’s kindergarten class and teach the children about Passover and the Seder meal.
She is a Christian and doesn’t actually have a problem with her child learning about Jewish traditions because she feels the two religions are interconnected. However, she feels that it is setting a precedent where people of other religions could also come in and talk to the class about their holidays.
She says she feels young children, especially in kindergarten, first and second, are very impressionable and she doesn’t want them confused by facts about religions other than their own.
She would prefer them not to talk about religion at the public school at all, and she didn’t think they legally could.
I told her that I thought they could teach about traditions of different religion if they didn’t really talk about what they believed per se and also if they taught about many and didn’t just emphasize one.
I told her that I remembered in other kindergarten classes the teachers talking about Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. They had books about it in the classrooms and made little objects from the different traditions.
I can’t remember exactly how they described Easter to the class. I know we had an egg hunt, which the kids just adored. I think that was more like a spring celebration and not an Easter egg hunt. Somehow Easter seems much more controversial to teach about than Christmas.
What do you think? Would you be comfortable with your child’s teacher or parents from your class talking about a religion’s traditions? Would you be comfortable with them trying food from a Seder meal or from another religious celebration? Does that seem more like a culture sharing – like we took in Filipino food to Rose’s class this year and taught about the Philippines. Is there a difference?
How should this mom handle her discomfort with her child learning this information? She already spoke with the principal who is A-Ok with the lesson taking place. She has not spoken to the teacher or the other parents because she doesn’t want them to hold it against her or her child.
A. attend the lesson to observe and pull her child if she feels it is inappropriate?
B. keep her child out of school for that particular lesson or that day?
C. insists she be allowed to teach the class about Easter traditions?
D. Don’t stress about it and only complain if a religion she has an issue with wants to speak to the class.
Are you OK with your children learning about some religions in school but not others?