Advocacy, Programming

Make it Meaningful!

So it is Mothers Day. This is probably not the best day to write this post, however I just have to, I can’t keep it in any more!

Over the past few weeks I have been bombarded with ideas for Mothers Day craft. From Pinterest boards to Facebook Early Childhood networks, I have seen one suggestion after another of crafts to make for mothers day. It’s lovely, really, that educators feel it important to recognise Mothers Day. I get that it comes from a really great place, yet I wonder how meaningful it is.

What I really want to know is – why craft? Why do we feel the need to do a painting, make a handprint, colour in a card (don’t get me started on my issues with colouring in!)?  Many years ago on a practicum I observed children being told they “must” come and draw on a heart to put in a keyring for Mum. Some children loved this, they put so much effort and thought and love into it. Others simply could not have cared less and had to be coerced into drawing on the heart because heaven forbid little Billy’s mum missed out on a keyring!  I have also, again many years ago, witnessed a production line of children having their hands dipped in paint and pressed onto a piece of paper which were then lovingly cut out by educators and paired with a poem.

Where is the meaning in this? I honestly thought those days were behind us, yet the last few weeks has proven me wrong. We say that we respect the individuality of children, but it would seem that in many services
this idea just flies out the window when a special occasion rolls around.

Why can’t we frame a photograph of a block building for the child who loves construction? Why can’t we make a short video of a child singing to share with Mum? Or better yet… why can’t we ask the child what they want to do? And, to take it one step further, how about we respect the child who doesn’t want to make anything at all? Perhaps they have another way of showing their love to their Mum and that is okay!

Again, I get that it comes from a good place, but every time I see a handprint and “Mum Poem” I feel as though I have been transported back to 1988. I am sure there are some services out there with an original approach to celebrations and I would love to hear them! How do you keep special occasions meaningful, respectful and not “mass produced”?


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