Christmas is a time that is magical for many children and is a significant cultural and religious festival for a vast majority of Bright Horizons families and nursery teams. Like the celebration of other significant cultural and religious festivals at this time of year such as Hanukkah, St Lucia Day and El Dia del Reyes, the decision on how to celebrate this festivity in a nursery environments sits with individual nursery staff and parents.

It’s a common mistake many early childhood educators make, regardless of country or setting, when they go into production line overdrive and producing snowflakes, bells, stockings, robins as it’s so easy to lose sight of this amongst the cotton wool and glitter.

When celebrating Christmas, staff across Bright Horizons nurseries focus on the importance of nativity instead of the usual, commercial aspect of presents and Santa and base creativity on children’s own experiences and representations.

Clare Chadwick from Bright Horizons Crewe Nursery and Preschool described what’s happing in her setting during this time of year.

During this festive period, children get involved in many fun, exciting activities. One of the highlights was decorating the Christmas tree together and making Christmas sacks with cards which they could take home for their families. This was a real hands on experience; children also made decorations from different types of material and loved decorating the tree as well as talking to their parents about what they’ve done.

Many craft and sensory activities take place, from exploring tinsel, to rolling baubles, baking biscuits or even carrying out scientific experiments!

Children learnt about the different materials on candy canes. They observed how sugar water dissolved the cane before the plain water, and salt water took a really long time, it was a great learning opportunity and we even noticed that the colours of the canes ran when they had been soaking in the different substances. Staff also linked this to Growing Mathematicians Programme by spraying, counting the canes and enjoying various number games.

We also celebrate Hanukkah, the festival of light, to enable the children the opportunity to learn about different cultures and religious celebrations; all with the aim of increasing diversity and awareness in our nursery.

The preschool children also enjoyed taking part in in the Christmas show. It was a story of a messy little angel who tries and tries to get everything right…. A beautiful story about the true meaning of Christmas.