28 March 2024

Easter in Early Childhood

Early Learning
Easter in Early Childhood
Easter in Early Childhood
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No sooner was Christmas over and Boxing Day arrived that there were hot cross buns in the shops – I actually had to do a double take – couldn’t quite believe my eyes. And there we were, four months in advance, beginning to think about Easter.

The Christian Easter story is a complex story for our children in the Early Learning Centre, so now that Easter is finally around the corner, we were grateful last week for the visit from our Junior School Chaplain, Chaplain Rebecca, who came and shared with us, at an appropriate level, the story of Easter. She was able to explain some of the images we associate with Easter, such as the cross, the eggs and rabbits, to name a few. She told the story to the children with a picture book and after each page there was a coloured plastic egg which each child had a chance to open. The eggs contained a small item with a symbol relevant to the story in it, which Chaplain Rebecca would talk about. This helped to make the story more interactive and age appropriate for the children, as symbolism is a great way to help develop understanding and to bring children’s attention.

Of course, just like the story of Christmas, sometimes the symbology of Easter can be a little confusing. A lot of these stories are seasonal and were created in other parts of the world, so while it is spring in the northern hemisphere where the symbolism around new life, flowers and animals makes sense, here we have just moved into autumn, and the cold mornings and falling leaves paint a very different picture. However, opportunities to talk with children about where symbols come from and what their meaning could be are valuable.

Similarly, discussions around religion and faith form an important part of these stories. We discuss with the children that there many other celebrations around this time, like Ramadan and, later in April, Orthodox Easter. Helping children develop their cultural awareness and tolerance of others is an important aspect of developing children as citizens of the world. There are different customs and traditions in different countries and families around these celebrations – what are your traditions around this time?

Later in the year, our conversations with Chaplain Rebecca turn to the world we currently live in, and we spend time talking with the children about social justice and the responsibilities we have to others who are less fortunate. One of our most impactful activities for community service in the ELC are our PJ days, where we learn about those in our community who are experiencing homelessness and we raise money for Melbourne City Mission.

If your child wishes to talk about the story of Easter further, there are some delightful picture story books you can read with them and engage in conversation. One of my favourites is The Easter Story by Brain Wildsmith – it has some stunning illustrations.

Wishing you all a peace-filled Easter and holiday break.

Wendy Seidler
Director of ELC Kew


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