Special Learning Days
The Special Learning Days calendar lists the national, ethnic, and cultural celebrations that we observe outside of the normal curriculum that help create awareness of the diversity of our communities. Lessons are developmentally-appropriate, interactive, and fun.
If there is a cultural, ethnic, or national celebration you would like to co-create with us, listed or not listed below, we would be ecstatic and honored if you would share it with us and the children.
|Observed Dates 2021||Holiday or Celebration||Activities or holiday closure|
|Fri., Jan. 1st||New Year’s Day||Avalon is closed for the holiday|
|Mon., Jan. 18th||MLK, Jr. Day||Stories and art projects celebrating diversity|
|Thu., Feb. 11th||Chinese (Lunar) New Year||Story, art projects, celebration food|
|Fri., Feb. 12th||Valentine’s Day||Valentine’s card exchange and heart cookies
|Mon., Feb. 15th||President’s Day||Avalon is closed for the holiday|
|Tue., Mar. 2nd||Dr. Seuss Day / Read Across America Day||Stories and activities|
|Wed., Mar. 17th||St. Patrick’s Day||Story, Leprechaun trap / fairy house, celebration food|
|Mon., Mar. 29th||Holi||Indian Festival —story, celebration food, and activities|
|Fri., Apr. 2nd||Easter||Egg decoration and Easter Egg Hunt
|Mon., Apr. 12th||Ramadan||Charity drive collection
|Thu., Apr. 22nd||Earth Day||Terrarium art project and nature walk
|Fri., May 7th||Mother’s Day||Mother’s Day tea party
|Mon., May 31st||Memorial Day||Avalon is closed for the holiday|
|Fri., Jun. 18th||Father’s Day||Surprise for dads ( and any father figures)|
|Fri., Jul 2nd||Independence Day
||Activity / art project, celebration food|
|Mon., Jul. 5th||Independence Day||Avalon is closed for the holiday|
|Mon., Sep. 6th||Labor Day||Avalon is closed for the holiday|
|Fri., Oct. 29th||Halloween||Costume party and pumpkin decorating|
|Mon., Nov. 1st||Dia de los Muertos||Activity / art project, celebration food|
|Wed., Nov 24th||Thanksgiving||Thanksgiving Potluck
|Mon., Nov. 29th||Hanukkah||Story, activity / art project, celebration food|
|Thu., Dec 23rd||Christmas||Christmas Party
Monthly Learning Themes
Social and cultural awareness is a large, abstract concept for little ones that will be a life-long learning experience; however, these are important skills for your child to start developing before they start kindergarten because once they are in elementary school, your child will be interacting with hundreds of other children and adults from a variety of backgrounds.
Learning themes, also knows as “units”, provide a framework for real-world context applied to each topic. Below are examples of the social-cultural objectives and other learning objectives (literacy, STEM, etc.) that are also included in the activities. The below is for August 2021 through July 2022.
August: ABCs and All About Me!
This theme is organized into two parts. Part 1 (All About Me!) covers social-emotional issues (differences, emotions, etc.) by daily stories at Circle Time that cover a range of social-emotional topics followed by individual sharing and/or group activities/discussion (at a developmentally-appropriate level) about the book’s topic. Part 2 (Literacy and Language) focuses on social engagement within a class-setting completing individual work while sharing space and materials.
September: Community Jobs (and transportation)
This theme, for 2021, has five weekly sub-topics: Retail Stores, Police and Firefighters, Medical, Builders, and Culinary. Each of these subtopics focuses on group participation through dramatic play and interactions. For ‘Retail Stores’, we may create a store where we make products and then have a grand opening and “sell” our products. For Police and Firefighters, we may have special guest visits and practice our safety drills. For Medical, we learn about our five-senses and basic body parts. For Builders, we build different fort set-ups inside or outside, for Culinary, parents become our “customers” as we have different themed food trucks/carts: cookies, lemonade, etc. Uniforms, transportation, and tools for each of these types of careers is also explored.
October: Harvest Garden and Animals
Appreciation for the vast interconnections we have with the environment and animals is explored in four sub-topics in this theme: Autumn Harvest Garden, Insects and Reptiles, Nocturnal Animals, and Halloween Festivities. Children will work together and individually to tend our autumn garden, learning how food is grown and prepared (brace yourself for zucchini coming home!). We will learn about the habitats and behavior of insects, reptiles, and nocturnal animals, and have fun with our Halloween crafts.
November: All About Trees
Children learn how to observe trees throughout the seasons, about tree habitats (jungle, forest, desert), and cooking and baking with fruit from trees. Our last week celebrates Thanksgiving festivities. As in October’s theme, we will learn about how to care for our environment and animals.
December: Our Solar System
The first two weeks is dedicated to exploring outer space–sun, moon, planets, stars, meteors, rockets, and having our own space station. The third week is dedicated to Christmas festivities. Avalon is closed for the Winter Break from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day.
January: Friendship Adventures
Each week, we read, talk about, and “loosely” re-enact through group play and activities the adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Curious George, Frog and Toad, and other stories. For example, for the week of Frog and Toad, we will read the story about The Lost Button and then have a button scavenger hunt. For The Letter story, we will take turn writing letters to our friends and have them mailed. Theme objectives focus on group participation and social interactions verbally and through behavior.
February: Junior Scouts / Dinosaurs
This month is in two parts. The first two weeks is the Junior Scouts theme that is interspersed with Avalon’s Special Learning Days of the Lunar New Year, Ground Hog Day, and Valentine’s Day. For Junior Scouts, children explore and develop skills in nature. We use tools like a compass, binoculars, maps, magnify glass, and more to examine different elements of nature–both self-directed and as a group to find geocaches.
For the two weeks of ‘Dinosaurs’, children work together and independently to learn about dinosaurs (and dragons). The concept of time begins to be understood around 2nd grade, so our exploration of the past focuses on the discovery and study of nature.
March: Dr. Seuss Week and World Cultures
The first week of March celebrates the stories of Dr. Seuss through activities and crafts.
The next two weeks is our “World Tour”, exploring different aspects of cultures and places within the world. Similar themes such as art, music, clothing, or a type of food will be explored each day. Children are given passports that we fill with pictures and stamps of the places we are learning about.
When we return from Spring Break, we have another week learning about the diversity of people through stories and activities.
April: Life on the Farm
The objective for this month is to find joy in interacting with nature. Week one is ‘Vegetable Gardening’–planting and tending seeds and young plants in our vegetable garden. Week two is ‘Birds, Bees, Butterflies’–we will observe our caterpillars eat, form a chrysalis, and emerge as butterflies, taste and touch a piece of honeycomb, and practice making birds’ nests and identifying eggs. Week three is ‘Baby Farm Animals’, learning the names, behaviors, and how to care for baby farm animals. Week four is ‘Flower Gardening’, planting seeds and young flowers in our garden.
May: STEM Fair (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
This month’s focus is on developing STEM skills to understand and make a variety of individual and group projects. This may include how to mix primary colors to create secondary colors, how to make our own play-doh and slime, making food, and other projects–culminating in a fair that families can attend during pick-up.
June: Visual and Performing Arts
Dramatic role-play, dance, song, music making, and art abound this month! Personal creativity and expression is the focus as children participate in group activities for visual and performing arts. Week one has a focus on puppetry and felt story boards. Week two is dramatic role-play with costumes and props. Week three is arts and crafts (special projects for Father’s Day). Week four and five focus on music–making instruments, singing and movements/dancing.
July: Summer Splash Camp
Avalon is closed for two weeks in July for summer vacation. The other two weeks are ‘Play-All-Day everyday’ outside with water-splash pads and other water play activities.