Following the hubbub of Hallowe’en, a couple of our classes celebrated the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday during which families and friends convene to remember loved ones who have died. With the help of their parents, some kindergarten children were asked to think of someone they would like to honour, draw a picture or bring a photo of them, and bring into classroom a memento that could be placed on a memorial table.
The events at school were two-fold. First the kindergarten children were paired with grade 5 students, and together they went into the ecology garden in the school field. There they planted bulbs in honour of the departed, and were encouraged to talk about them while they worked. Some children drew pictures too.
Afterwards we convened indoors around the memorial table, from which hung the children’s photos and drawings, and which housed the objects the children brought with them from home. The children were then invited to talk about their loved ones and their mementos. The children chatted and told us what they knew. Death, and love that often surrounds it, was discussed as the facts of life that they are, from the perspective of the kids.
The efforts at commemoration were lovely, a kind of personal remembrance day as we lead up to our national one.