Over lunch at the inservice that I attended last week, talk turned to what our students were making at school for Mother's Day this year. One of the teachers attending told us that her school has decided not to make crafts, cards or gifts for mothers this year and as a result have had several concerns expressed (on Facebook) about this decision. I found a recent news stories a school in Nova Scotia that had made the same decision, although perhaps for different reasons.
That got me thinking about my practice and over the years I have varied from simple cards to quite elaborate and costly crafts for my students to make for Mother's and Father's Days. This time of the year, student fee funds are often becoming depleted and teachers sometimes pay for the materials from our own pockets.
I really try to create a culture of appreciation and thankfulness in my classroom. We try to clean up our own messes and say thank you to staff members and helpers for their part in our school. That is the message that I am trying to convey with gifts at Mother's and Father's Day. I do try to make sure the crafts are gender neutral and don't say "Happy Mother's Day" but instead Thank You or I Love you. That way they can be given to anyone in a child's life who they would like to recognize whether or not a mother or father is a part of their life. My husband grew up in a home without a mother and counts Mother's Day weeks as his worst memories of elementary school. Teachers wanting to be kind suggested he make a craft for another female instead but that did not change his uncomfortableness with the activity. It is a hard spot to be in for everyone.
It is the 100th Anniversary of Mother's Day this year and although society has changed in many ways, I hope that I can pass along the tradition of honouring the people who have made us who we are, not just on Mother's and Father's Day but all year long.
To my own Mom, thank you. I would put a picture of you on my blog but I know how much you would dislike that! Happy Mother's Day! Love, Sharon