Welcome to this month’s early years blog.
Mother’s Day is celebrated by children around the world, showing mums everywhere love and appreciation through cards, flowers and gifts. It’s celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent in the UK and Ireland (March 6th this time around), while the date varies in other parts of the world. Many countries celebrate on International Women’s Day on March 8th for instance, while March 21st is the big day in the Middle East. The US and several other countries celebrate on the second Sunday in May. So you may well be considering how to contribute to this much loved event in your setting this year.
Making cards and gifts to take home is always a popular early years activity. But sensitivity and forethought is needed around the day. If you have children in your setting who are not in touch with their mothers, or a child whose mother has passed away, you’ll need to think carefully about how to approach things. Some children will have more than one mother figure in their lives – if they have a step-mum for instance, or have been fostered or adopted.
The best way forward is to have a quiet one-to-one chat with a child’s carers. It’s really helpful to be aware of the way the day will be approached within the family, and in most cases, it’s possible to echo this within the setting. Possibilities include children making more than one card or gift to take home, or including grandmothers within the meaning of mother’s day. The event can also be approached as a celebration of all women children would like to show their appreciation or gratitude for – from wider family members to the school crossing guard. This particular approach ties in very well with the ever popular “people who help us” theme.
Bereaved families may choose to help their child to remember or cherish their mum by making a special card dedicated to her, or by making or picking flowers – something it would be very easy to contribute towards during “making and doing” activities within the setting. Sometimes children will take these items to a graveside or leave them at the place where ashes were scattered, or perhaps they’ll attach them to a balloon and let it float up into the sky.
Whoever and however children will celebrate, the day is a wonderful starting point for talking about all the important people in their lives, and the things they do to take care of them. It can also spark discussions about how children themselves can be kind and caring towards their families and friends. If you’re looking for help in setting the right tone, there are plenty of fantastic, suitably warm books to explore together – I’ll Catch You If You Fall, written by Mark Sperring and illustrated by Layn Marlow, is one of my favourites.
Children might even be inspired to make a little book for their own mum, featuring their artwork and photos of them together (brought in from home or taken at the setting), each with a caption about why she’s special. Who wouldn’t love to receive that?