Celebrating Mother’s Day in School
Many classrooms celebrate Mother’s Day through various activities, stories and crafts. As with any discussion about family, this can cause unnecessary stress for kids without mothers, and negatively reinforce differences from their classmates.
Ask the teacher what the specific activities will be, and what accommodations (if any) are offered to children with two mothers or no mother, depending on your family. Ideally, the alternative should be as seamless and unobtrusive as possible. Some teachers may already take such measures, whether it’s making something for both moms; or in the case of kids of two fathers, allowing them to create something for one or both dads, or perhaps Grandma or other female family member.
In any case, this shouldn’t require extra effort on the part of the child, or for their activity or craft to be significantly different.
My son’s kindergarten teacher told him he could do something different during their week-long (!) Mother’s Day celebration — yet only offered crafts and worksheets pre-printed with “mother” on them. I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say I’ll be asking his 1st grade teacher to make sure any Mother’s Day activities won’t leave him feeling excluded or pressured to conform.
“Teachers need to be thinking critically about Mother’s Day, and not just in regard to same-sex parents. The idea that mom or dad is even in the house and will be celebrated isn’t the case for many kids. I find that holidays are often a point of departure for talking about valuing everyone’s family & traditions. Instead of making a craft, we talk about the different ways people around the world celebrate.” —John, kindergarten-2nd grade teacher, Texas
“Our school doesn’t do anything for Mother’s Day for this very reason. Making Mother’s or Father’s Day presents isn’t a necessary part of curriculum, and it shouldn’t be. However, sometimes we write notes or invitations to parents. We leave them open-ended (not specifying it has to be “To Mommy & Daddy”) to accommodate any kind of family.” —Lisa
The same principles described above can also be applied to Father’s Day, though most schools are out for summer by the time dads get their day.