Christmas craft…does it truly fit into the philosophy of the play-based environment. Some purists would say NO! Christmas craft is too adult directed and instructional to fit in. If educators are doing activities…with set product to be created with little (or sometimes no) input by the child I would then have to agree. However, I believe that Christmas learning experiences, play-based and emergent curriculums can all live in harmony.
I think it comes down to how you plan your environment. If regular collage materials are replaced with Christmas themed materials, if wrapping paper is added to box construction and heavily directed Christmas craft is kept to a minimum no child is going to be damaged beyond repair.
The most difficult part is the parent/grandparent present making. I find that many educators seem to link their skills as an educator with how well the children’s Christmas craft turns out! Remember, if you are directing where every piece of the craft goes (or feel the need to “fix” it later) it really isn’t the child’s work, it yours! I saw a parents Christmas present this week from another early years setting. It was a wreath on canvas and it was PERFECT! It looked beautiful but it was not the work of the 2 year old with their name on it. The educator had done a fabulous job, but it was not the child’s. The best git I received this year was my child’s portfolio and a cd of her life at Kindy this year in photos. My eldest made a gift…a free drawing on a little canvas (she chose to draw our family which was lovely), very open-ended and definitely was all her. That’s what makes it special.
Remember everyone, parents want to see their child’s work…not how well you can make a Christmas wreath!