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    « The only consolation | Main | Christmas Crankypants »

    December 19, 2012

    The best Christmas pageant ever

    I'm trying not to be horribly disappointed that Jack's school does not do a Christmas program. Or a Holiday program. Or a Winter or Snowflake or Solstice or New Year program. As far as I know they do NOTHING, at least I think I would have heard about it by now. HUGE. BUMMER.

    My THEORY is that the school is respecting its fairly large population of Muslim students and their families. With maybe a bit of liberal West Coast overcompensation in the Avoidance Of All Things Remotely Smacking Of Religion (though I should note, with a bit of honest shock, that Jack's school DOES do the Pledge of Allegiance.) 

    My other, more worrisome theory is that they just don't have TIME to put on a holiday program. SIGH. 

    Kindergarten has been a bunch of surprises for me. Surprise at how well Jack and I both took to this full day separation (ok, maybe not a TON of surprise about that). Surprise at how ACADEMIC kindergarten is. Weren't there TOYS in your kindergarten classroom? Maybe a kitchen and dolls? And plenty of arts and crafts? I thought kindergarten was one big poster paint session. But no, everyone says kindergarten is "the new first grade" and dude, it totally is. I can't believe some of the schooly stuff Jack is learning. I mean, I think it's GREAT and he likes doing it and handles it well and Phillip and I are BOTH so pleased and amazed by how much he's learned so far.

    But there are no toys or "centers" and very little art. Jack's school does not have a music program or an art teacher. He's done a few art projects within the context of the curriculum, within his own class, but only a few. I know his teacher sings songs with him and there are heaps of intstruments for older kids to borrow for an after-school band, but there is no music otherwise. 

    And once a month I go to the meeting at church where I hear everything about everything, which always includes a lot about the parish school, and every month I wonder: what would THAT be like? An amazing art teacher. And OBVS a Christmas program, with singing, featuring the Baby Jesus. I LOVED the idea of Jack learning that stuff right along with how to read and add and subtract. There's a curriculum and there is OTHER STUFF. 

    At Jack's school they barely have time for science. 

    So. This is NOT a "I regret public school" post. I don't. At all. There are various little ways that I see how this was an excellent decision for Jack, for our family, and Life In General. I think it's awesome that there is a large percentage of Muslim students. I LOVE his teacher. She's fantastic. I would know this even without my mother, teacher extraordinaire, saying, "She sounds fantastic!" every time I talk about her. We've had a handful of email interactions over the last week or two that have resulted in more friendly and personal communication at school. The school has a focus on character that I really like, emphasizing kindness along with reading. I think their writing program is so great. Jack is really happy there and loves everything about school. 

    Still, I am sad - for HIM - that there is no holiday songfest, with freshly scrubbed and dressed up little kids, with parents holding camcorders, with the excitement of going on a stage. He did it last year, at the Catholic preschool. Maybe it was just such a big part of MY school experiences, and my parents always putting on shows with their classes, that I'm irrationally mopey about it. 

    I don't know. Maybe they do something in the spring. Maybe his own class will do a little something some day. Maybe he'll play the lead in the high school play and, vicariously, all my dreams will come true. Heh. 

    IS there a perfect school situation? I think mine would be a diverse Catholic school, within walking distance, with Jack's current teacher, with his current class, free, unhindered by a budget, with active yet laid back and friendly parents. Dream on, right?

    When I was little my mom would put brown towels on my brothers' heads (the big one was Joseph, the little one was a shepherd) and blue one on mine, hand me a baby doll, and make us sing Christmas carols in front of our family on Christmas Eve. I have a boy, a girl, and an ACTUAL baby. We can put on our own Christmas program this year. 

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    Comments

    I love you article. Brings me back to my childhood days when I would perform at Christmas pagents.

    Do you or will you do CCD with Jack? I know at our parish the CCD kids get to do a nativity pageant on Christmas Eve before or during one of the Masses. I think they invite the parish-school kids, but it's mostly a CCD thing, which I think is sweet. (The parish school has its own Christimas program.)

    I am right there with you. I crave that stuff. Fortunately right now my son has both a Sunday School program (he had to dress up as an angel!) and his daycare one, which is tonight. Basically just some singing at this point for him (he's 4), but I grew up doing that stuff so it makes me happy to see him doing it. Next year we have the decision of whether to send him to public school (we live in a large suburban area with a wide variety of income levels) or spend the extra money to send him to the Christian school in the town. A friend of mine teaches there so I trust it, but there are a lot of considerations. I like the thought of him getting the "Jesus version" of Christmas, though...not to mention the rest of the year. But it's still a tough call since we will literally save zero money from what we pay now for daycare by sending him there. Ugh. And we'll have another baby we'll be paying for by then, so it's a lot to think about, even though I know what should be MOST important.

    My boys go to a small Catholic school. Our Christmas program is tonight and my 5 year old is very excited. We parents moan and groan about how long it always runs but we'll be smiling and holding up our cameras when the time comes. I do enjoy them getting the Christmas celebrations (not just parties but the real celebrations, including Mass and lighting the Advent candles) while at school. I understand what you mean. It's part of your memory so you always assume it will be part of your children's memories too.

    I do think a homemade Christmas play, complete with singing would be a nice touch though. But only if you share video with us!

    I am bummed that you don't have a holiday program, too, but I am really really really looking forward to the outakes from the Cheung Family Nativity.

    Our school does a spring concert for K and 2nd grade, and a Christmas concert (it's very Christmas in the Santa and reindeer kind of way) for 1st and 3rd grade. So, it's possible (though, true, unlikely that your school would have the same arrangement) that he'll have a Christmas concert one day. :)

    If you do a family program, I want picture. Nay, I want VIDEO. How freaking adorable is that idea??

    I went to my nephew's public school Christmas (holiday) program this year, featuring his kindergarten class and grades 1-3. The K students sang Rudolph, and then the rest of the school put on this made-up holiday play with made-up "holiday" songs that no one had ever heard and it was...weird. I mean, yeah, public school and all. But I thought at least they'd sing some holiday classics...Frosty, Jingle Bells, Santa Claus is coming to town. I mean, this is the Midwest! Everyone in his class looks exactly like him. Exactly two children in the entire school look remotely like MY children and the rest are from German Catholic or Lutheran or Baptist backgrounds. I'm not sure why they had to go SO far in the secular holiday direction. There was no one to offend!

    You can come to the Christmas pageant TONIGHT at the church if you so wish, but you won't see me because I'm ducking out early ha ha haaa. Yeah, my kids and your kids should switch places or something.

    My daughter's school didn't do a holiday concert, either, but I'm okay with that. We have been singing carols and lighting our own little advent wreath at home at every meal. The kids mostly love blowing the candles out, so they really last. Our church does an "Epiphany pageant." Basically what everyone else does on Christmas except on Ephiphany, which is nice because it extends the idea of the Church Christmas season for the kids, and the stress of the holidays are over for the parents who want to volunteer to help. Maybe you could invited some friends from Jacks class over for carol singing and cookies. (I think you mentioned you had some!) We are doing that tomorrow.

    I expect to see cute adorable pictures from the Cheung kids Christmas pageant!

    Every school is so different. Even 15 miles from you, in my school district it is different from school to school. One school has a Halloween parade and fall carnival and the other one I work at is careful about even doing pumpkin based craft activities. The same for Christmas, one does a "winter sing-a-long" the last Friday before break with all the traditional Jingle Bells and Frosty-ish songs and there is a "Giving Tree" that looks suspiciously like a Christmas tree in the front office, while down the street you will only find a number of "Gingerbread Man" art projects on the wall. In my old district, they did a winter concert for the parents and sang Silent Night! They also sang some other songs from around the world, but it heavily leaned Christmas. Of course, probably 95% or more of the kids at that school celebrate Christmas.

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