New student is Jehovah Witness

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by 4myclass, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. 4myclass

    4myclass Cohort

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    Oct 14, 2008

    I just got a new student and the father told me that he is Jehovah Witness. I told the dad to let me know what was acceptable and what wasn't. He basically said "No celebrations".
    I don't want to offend anyone. I could use some help. Has anyone had a Pre-K student that was Jehovah Witness? How do you handle this with the other students? I don't want to totally ignore holidays and birthdays. Any help would be great.
     
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  3. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Oct 14, 2008

    Well, I teach kinder and this is what I was told to do, send the child out to another classroom (prearranged) while you do your celebrations. I haven't sent her out because I want her to be in the classrom. So... in regards to holidays, everything can be substituted with something that is not holiday related. For example, we made pumpkins and normally I had them decorate them into jack-0-lanterns. This year, I had them leave it as pumpkins. We got to do things with bats, owls, and skeletons because even thought they are "Halloweeny" I am still teaching them about science. On Halloween day, we will have Fall Day and celebrate pumpkins, leaves, and fall goodness. :D Hope this helps! :)
     
  4. 4myclass

    4myclass Cohort

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    Oct 15, 2008

    Thanks, Peachyness.
    Anyone else have any suggestions?
     
  5. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    Oct 15, 2008

    I have had many Jehovah Witnesses in my classroom over the last 15years. There is no need to do away with birthdays or holidays in your classroom. The main thing you need to know is that it is NOT your job to enforce or police his or any other religion. It is the parent's responsibility to educate their children on what they can and can't do when it comes to classroom activities or parties. For example, if you are saying the pledge and the child chooses to put his hand on his heart and say the pledge out loud it's not your problem, it's the parent's responsibility to teach them what they can and can't do. If you don't make a big deal out of it then it won't become an issue.

    When it comes to party time I offer alternatives to EVERYBODY, for example if we are making paper plate pumpkins with tissue paper I model how to make one plain- without a face, and how to make one with a face. Then I put all the materials out for the kids and let them choose how they want to do it. I may have some kids who do celebrate Halloween who choose to make a plain pumpkin and perhaps the JW student will choose to put the face on his pumpkin. The most important part is that I offered that choice. Be prepared to explain to the parents if they come running to you with the jack-o-lantern. Say "Yes, I am aware Johnny made a jack-o-lantern in class. He was given the choice to make a plain pumpkin or a jack-o-lantern and he chose to make the jack-o-lantern. I would use this as an opportunity to explain YOUR religion to him. I can make accommodations and provide choices for him, but I can't FORCE him to not do something, that's your responsibility."

    On the day of our party (Christmas, Birthday, Halloween or any other) I have a partner teacher's room I can send my JW students to. We make sure to plan our parties an hour apart so I can take her JW students when she has her party and she can take mine, it works out well for us.

    When other students ask questions about why the JW students don't participate I simply explain "Their mommy and daddy said 'no' and we have to respect their wishes"
     
  6. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Oct 15, 2008

    Vanna, that is the best explanation that I have ever heard. I'll have to remember that if I ever have a JW student in my class.
     
  7. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Oct 15, 2008

    I have found that it's best to have a heart-to-heart talk with the parents. I've had some parents perfectly happy to have their child do all of the "holiday" stuff at school, but not attend a party. I've had some whose parents really didn't even want us to use pumpkins, because they were interpreting them more as Halloween than as Fall (sorry, that one didn't fly). And then I've had some that were able to even attend our parties - the parents said the kids were able to experiment and explore with other people's celebrations, but couldn't host or participate in any in their own lives. Anything that happened at school was considered to be "learning about" not so much "celebrating." And one year, I had 3 JW kids, each of whom had a different philosophy about holidays!!! Talk to the parents. Bring it up in a way like this: "I understand that your child is a JW, and I know that there are some restrictions around holidays and celebrations that go along with that. Let's talk about what your preferences are for Johnny when it comes to classroom activities and parties. "
    Kim
     
  8. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    Oct 15, 2008

    I JUST had a parent come in for a meeting about this. I am sure it varies from family to family, but my little girl's father basically said this: she is not to listen to stories about holidays as a general rule (my assistant and I will trade off reading the story to the class and taking her on special errands to remove her temporarily- not a problem at all), she is not to do art projects associated with holidays (I will gladly modify anything that I can, and if I can't I will be sending a note home the day before so mom and dad can explain to her what is going to happen and warn her that she will be looking at books while we work on it, or during that center, or something else along those lines-I don't mind this, but I will not let her play while the other children do a project). She can do anything that is season-related, so I will be paying attention to more seasonal projects than holiday projects. She can LEARN about holidays, such as our 3 weeks in December when we learn about Kwanzaa, Hannukah (I always spell that wrong, forgive me!), and Christmas, but she cannot do a project related to it. Meaning, if our goal is to explain to the students how some people celebrate, she can participate- if I am just reading a Christmas book, she cannot.

    She stands for the pledge but does not put her hand over her heart or say it.

    She sits quietly while the children sing happy birthday, and we will take her out when we read a brithday book for the birthday kids.

    When we have big holiday celebrations, such as on Halloween, she will be kept home- there is nowhere to take her for that long, and I will not have a teacher missing the 1 hour holiday centers to walk her around the school.

    We are taking it one holiday at a time. Luckily they are all very sweet and make it easy for us to want to work with them. And, to make my life easier, she is absent a LOT, so I secretly have all of my Halloween adn Fall projects prepped and can pick what to do for the day as soon as I see whether she is in school or not. It won't avoid everything, but it will help!
     
  9. tgi1515

    tgi1515 Comrade

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    Oct 16, 2008

    I agree with Vanna... A few years ago I had a JW when taught Kindergarten. I talked to her parents, and told them I would give their daughter the choice to not participate if she knew she shouldn't. She didn't pledge. When a child had a birthday, she didn't sing with us and had a different "snack" when we had cupcakes. The parents kept her home when we had Christmas and Valentine parties.

    The rest of the time I focused more on science. We did leaves, spiders, bats and pumpkins in the fall.(the district didn't "do" Halloween anyway.) Thanksgiving information didn't seem to be a problem. At Christmas, she could hear all the stories, but when we did Rudolph, she only did reindeer. She didn't do "Santa gets dressed", I copied some pages out of the book "Froggy gets dressed". So we sequenced. She could do snowman, so letter Ss was saved.

    Last year I had a Jewish child whose parents did not want him to participate in anything Christmas or Easter. He loved the computer center and spent quite a bit of time on starfall.com during Polar Express, etc. (I still gave him hot chocolate and reindeer sandwiches... He didn't know what they were... shhhhhh)
     
  10. rosew

    rosew Companion

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    Oct 16, 2008

    If my children were in the class, I would be upset if they had to miss these types of celebrations because of someone beliefs..this is part of growing up..its not like making sure you celebrate Christmas and Hannukah in December..you basically have to not celebrate anything..this is tough..

    rose
     

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