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Halloween party at school- not OK with me. - Page 3

post #41 of 113
Thread Starter 
It's been less than 24 hours since I sent the email, and the party is still nearly 2 weeks away.

I may give the teacher a call anyway, just to touch base with her and figure out what's expected of DS in her class. This is only his 4th day in this classroom and I had ongoing communications with his former teacher. If I speak to her, I'll include my concerns about the Halloween party, but I wouldn't call JUST about the party until the class moms have time to respond.
post #42 of 113
Originally Posted by Emmeline II View Post
I'd just ask the teacher.
I suggest doing this also. The class moms are typically helpers not the people who decide these issues.
post #43 of 113
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
I suggest doing this also. The class moms are typically helpers not the people who decide these issues.
I agree. It just adds more things to do for them. It's likely they will respond after they have talked to the teacher about it, and found out what she suggests. I would have just went straight to the teacher - since you are going to have to ask her if he'll miss any work that needs to make up, anyhow. And no, I wouldn't approach the room moms about canceling the celebration. That's not fair to all the other kids, and it sounds like the PTA/school/classroom has already decided to have a party. It's likely they considered the fact that some children may not be able to participate, but they went with the majority.

I don't see any benefit in sending him to school that day just to pull him out for the party. It means extra driving for you, and probably a bit of frustration for him. If he just stays home the entire day, it won't be such a big deal. Isn't he the one who hates getting up for school in the morning? I bet he'd be relieved to have a 3-day weekend.
post #44 of 113
When my daughter was in elementary school, there were a few children that would go to the library or not come to school the day of the parties. I think that is fine if you don't wish to have your child celebrate the holiday.
I do have an issue, though, with some parents who think that because they don't celebrate a holiday like Valentine's Day and Halloween that no one else should. The majority of parents have no problem with these celebrations. Unfortunately, the school districts in our area are giving in to pressure from a few parents and making everything at school incredibly politically correct. Why is the opinion of one parent who opposes a celebration more valuable than the opinion of 20 parents who are fine with it? The parties are not mandatory. If you send your child to public school, there are going to be these kinds of issues but that does not mean that the public schools should not have to alter all their policies for just a few people.
I am not saying that the OP is this way or anyone else on this thread is. It is just that this is an issue that I feel strongly about. My child is unable to celebrate holidays like Valentine's Day and Halloween at school because of a few people who disagree with these celebrations. To me, that is not right.
post #45 of 113
Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post
I would contact the teacher & find out what the plan is for that day.
I agree - depending on the agenda, maybe it's something you wouldn't mind. At my daughter's preschool the focus is more of an autumn festival. The only thing that's really connected to Halloween is the "dress up" parade where if kids want to participate, they can either bring in their costumes or use some of the class' dress clothes.
post #46 of 113
Originally Posted by erinsmom1996 View Post
I do have an issue, though, with some parents who think that because they don't celebrate a holiday like Valentine's Day and Halloween that no one else should. The majority of parents have no problem with these celebrations.
I agree. These are cultural rather than religious celebrations. I understand and support parents wanting to opt out, but for everyone else, it's just fun.
post #47 of 113
As an educator and a mom, I'm always dissapointed when people want to move toward these watered down P.C. versions of holidays ("winter holiday" for example).

When I was a kid, I grew up on the east coast and had a reasonable number of Jewish kids in class with me. Instead of not doing christmas, we just did Christmas AND Hannukah stuff. I looooved playing dreidel, learning about the holidays they celebrated, etc. We wrote out lists for Santa, made christmas ornaments, made dreidels, decorated menorahs, etc. I suppose if Kwaanza had existed back then (or anyone in our class celebrated that) we would have done that as well. In cases where a teacher might not know enough about Judaism, one of the moms would come in and teach us.

I guess I just wonder why it can't be "both/and" instead of "none." (not directed at the OP, but just in general).

No one in public school is talking about religious aspects, but simply joining in the children's excitement about wearing costumes, getting candy, and having fun.

I find as an educator in Texas, many of my peers know anything about Judaism. Its kind of sad. I think we are missing something by not sharing all of our cultural traditions with eachother.

I fully support any parent's right to exclude their child from said activities, but I think its really better to not make a stink. OP, your approach sounds entirely reasonable to me. And if it were me (and I didn't think my kid would be too dissapointed with leaving after witnessing the pre-party hype), I'd take him in the morning so he was counted for attendance and getting the day time instruction. Lunch and ice cream sounds fun!

For the record, I'm buddhist. But my family has Christmas and Halloween because we enjoy them as a cultural tradition. Also, Christmas is a great time to connect with family, be generous, etc. I don't think it has to be religious for everyone (although I know Christians often are upset by this notion).

Also, my daughter has a dairy intolerance and often has to "miss out" on treats for birthdays, cake, pizza parties. I just send an alternative "treat." I would never dream of asking the school to stop having dairy for all children, because my daughter cannot.

Best wishes to the OP. I know its hard having to exclude your child from something the masses are doing (as I have felt sad sometimes with the dairy issue for us). Different, but I think a similar feeling. We don't want our kids to miss anything, but want to keep our family's values/needs intact.
post #48 of 113
I'm the room parent who is in charge of planning my DD's kindergarten party to be held on Friday, October 29th. I don't know if the party we are holding would be acceptable for Ruthla's DS to attend, but here is what I am planning in case you would like to offer suggestions for the room parents (and offer to help, of course!).

We are having a harvest party. When the children return from recess, they will find a little harvest still life (wheat stalks, pumpkins, Indian corn, small loaf of bread, apples) on each table (3) and a sheet of paper and crayons for each child. They can draw a still life picture while waiting their turns at the other activities.

We will have different tables set up with the following:
1. Estimation jar with candy corn or pumpkins in it. The child who guesses the closest number of pieces wins the jar.
2. Pick an apple game - lollipops in red, green and yellow colors are pushed into a poster with a picture of an "apple" tree. On lollipop stick has a colored end. The child who pick the "apple" with the colored stick wins a prize.
3. Find the nickel in the hay (needle in a hay stack). Handful of change in scattered in a bale of hay. The child who finds the nickel wins a prize.
4. Paint a pumpkin table. Each child gets a mini pumpkin to decorate with paint pens and googly eyes.

Then everyone will work together to build a scarecrow stuffing the hay into an old shirt and pair of pants. Children will take turns drawing pieces of the face onto the milk jug head. We'll carry the scarecrow out to the school garden (and explain about how scarecrows are supposed to scare away the birds from the fields).

Snack: Apple cider, one sweet treat (the parent is asked to decorate with a harvest theme if they wish, such as pumpkins or leaves, but not scary Halloween themes), and a fruit kabob pumpkin head (fruit pieces on wooden skewers are the "hair" of our pumpkin head which also has fruit facial features).

For prizes, I have a variety of books, boxes of crayons, glow in the dark bracelets, and Wiki Sticks (we'll let the children pick from the prize box). Each child who doesn't win a prize during the party will get to pick one out at the end of the party.

I realize there is some obvious overlap between some of the "harvest" themes, such as the pumpkin heads, and traditional Halloween themes. But I have tried to keep to the harvest theme as much as possible.

I'd like to find a story about harvest celebrations around the world to read to the class, but I haven't made it to the library yet.


Hope you find a satisfactory plan for your DS!
post #49 of 113
When does your ds's school day normally end? I can't imagine it going later than 4pm, so until you tell me otherwise, I'll use that as the worst case scenario.

You go get him at 1:15 so you're home before your DDs. Then he has extra time before shabbat to do homework and can help you with your prep too.

Meanwhile, back at school, they have to prepare for the party (sometimes that'd be fast, for some schools that'd mean a lot of BS "everyone has to be quiet and sitting still" yapping), then 45 minutes of party, then clean up, then settling back down to TRY to do work.

So leaving at 1:15 and school ending at 4pm, it'd be 2 hours 45 minutes total he'd miss. And at least an hour of that would have nothing to do with real learning.
post #50 of 113
Thread Starter 
The class mom emailed me back. She told me to speak to the principal and/or the classroom teacher; they are "only" going to have a haunted house and a snack.

I would have no problem with a harvest party, even if it does feature pumpkins. Pumpkins really are in season right now! But a haunted house can't be anything other than "halloweeny".

I don't have any problem whatsoever with the school hosting a Halloween party on Friday evening. It's not during school hours, and it's simple enough for my child not to attend.

From the text of the original email, it sounded like the 3 class moms had recently met with the teacher and together the 4 of them came up with the party schedule for the year, and I don't think any one of them considered that Halloween or Valentine's Day would be offensive to anybody.

I'll give the school a call in the morning and talk to the teacher about this.
post #51 of 113
In what way is this not a secular event?
post #52 of 113
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
I think it might be harder on him to miss JUST the party, and then resume when the party is over, having to explain to his classmates where he was, etc. It's also a lot harder on me to have to drive out to the school twice, especially on a Friday when I need to prepare for Shabbos, and especially around 1:30/2:00 PM when the girls are getting home from school.

I wonder if it's too late to change the party. Should I reply to the email asking for parent volunteers, and tell them that I have a problem with the party itself?
I don't think it's that big a deal for the child to miss JUST the party, and then resume when the party is over. Last year, my dd's K class had a girl who did not celebrate birthdays. So whenever any child had a birthday, and the parent brought cupcakes to the classroom, the little girl just walked over to the school office with something to keep her amused, and sat in the office doing her thing, until a kindergartener arrived in the office to let her know that the celebration was done. The children just needed a quick one sentence explanation from the teacher and they were fine with it. In the office, the little girl looked pretty content. Everyone concerned pretty much accepted it without incident.
post #53 of 113
Originally Posted by emilysmama View Post
I don't think it's that big a deal for the child to miss JUST the party, and then resume when the party is over. .
I'm not sure there would be much point, though. The kids are all going to be so wired that they aren't going to get anything else real done that day anyway.

I wouldn't skip the whole day because one of my kids has trouble making up for lost days and it would be tough on her, but I wouldn't bother going back.
post #54 of 113
Totally curious here, and slightly OT - but do people really worry about missing days of school (at least in elementary)? I have four in school now (pre-school to 4th grade), and I've never hesitated to let them stay home if they aren't feeling well, needed a mental health day, or we were heading out of town. It's just not a big deal, to me. And especially on a day with a holiday party. I really think it's low-key as far as academics and otherwise go... plus, even if there were tests or whatever, it can easily be made up the following week. Granted, 3/4 of my kids are in Montessori, which generally means no homework, tests, or tons of group lessons/activities that they would feel behind by missing, but still. My 4th grader is in a regular classroom this year, and missing a day here and there is not a big deal to anyone - me, her, the teachers, or admin.

I would seriously just let him take the day off and make it a fun mom-son day. Go out to eat, visit somewhere interesting, or even just hang out together and watch movies. That's just me, though.
post #55 of 113
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
Totally curious here, and slightly OT - but do people really worry about missing days of school (at least in elementary)?
I have a child with sn who really needs to be in school. She has fine motor (as well as other) issues so the writing is a big deal for her. If she has to do *more* to get caught it, it makes it even harder, cuz she can barely do the writing for each day as it is.

Some kids have issues with school, and telling them it really doesn't matter if they bother to show up or not can make those worse.

It also depends on how many other days they miss, and this child already misses Jewish Holidays.

I'd do the morning.
post #56 of 113
Originally Posted by fadedgirl View Post
In what way is this not a secular event?
Go research Halloween and it's history, that should be enough to answer the question.
post #57 of 113
OP, thanks for educating us. I just read online that your traditional orthodox law PROHIBITS your child from participating in customs of "gentile" origin (includes pagan & Christian), including halloween. So I understand your dilemma.
post #58 of 113
I would just keep him out, that's what we did on columbus day because we don't agree with that holiday.
post #59 of 113
Like the OP, I'm also an Orthodox Jew. I used to teach in a public school and was actually accused of "squashing Xmas" for my students...wha????...because I didn't do a class Xmas party. I *did* let them hang pretty lights and make snowflakes (it was winter, after all) to make the room look festive so it's not like I was totally raining on anyone's parade.

As a teacher, there's enough to do in a school year and only 180ish days in which to do it. It's *not* the school's job to organize cultural and/or religious celebrations. If families want to celebrate Halloween/Valentines/etc., let them do it outside of school.

I guess I just never saw the point. "Because I have good memories of it" or "because everyone does it" aren't good enough reasons for me.
post #60 of 113
If it bugged me so much I would just call him in sick.Not good to have him there seeing all the prep/anticipation,and then picking him up early. Schools do parties to try and break up/make tolerable the whole school setting.For many kids the parties are the best part of school besides recess,lol.

Out of all the holiday parties I guess the thanksgiving one bothers me,or more so the lessons up to that point if they stress how the white man was so good to the native americans.That I hate. I still allow them the parties,but make sure they know a bit more about the *holiday*.My ds just cares about the cupcakes and candy they get!
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