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Jehovah Witness


Gezabel
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Not sure if this is the right place but anyone who has experience of a child who has jehovah witness faith -help!!!!

 

We are a small preschool and have a lovely little lad joined this term. Our current theme is celebrations and mum has said weddings are fine but christmas and birthdays are out. I ackowledge and respect that but with the build up to Chirstmas not far away I am concerned how we can ensure this child is included and remains very much part of the group but cannot join in anything related to christmas.

 

 

This includes no stories, no art work, no singing that is in any way Christmas related - I am a bit stumped at the moment and am concerned that he will feel excluded no matter how we handle it.

any suggestions would be very welcome, this is a first for me!!

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It is tricky trying to balance between inclusion and compromise

 

if you show the mother some of the activities you have planned and ask for ways to adapt them you may find she is very willing to help with alternative suggestions she will be grateful of the chance to be included and value the fact that you have shown respect for her faith.

 

dont forget to keep notes to demonstrate to ofted how you have managed inclusion in this situation :D

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From my experience of this religious community, they seem to be ok about all other faiths being taught. So you might get away with all other religious festivals - diwali, eid, Hannukah etc. The only tricky one is Christmas and of course- birthdays

Good luck the chidl will feel excluded no matter what you do,

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Hi Geraldine. It's been a number of years since I taught in the Uk, but I regularly had at least one Jehovah's Witness in my classes, and also worked with a nursery nurse who was at one time too. In my experience, they wont engage in any 'religious' activities from any faith, not just Christmas, and so we always made sure there were plenty of other activities happening at the same time so that they didnt feel left out. For example if you were making cards that involved, say, printing, those children could still do the prinitng acticvity, just not in the card format. The only real difficulty we ever had was when we did singing with the whole group, and usually we were lucky enough to have enough staff that those children could do some other singing with a memeber of staff.

In some ways it reminded us that we tend to go a bit OTT at Christmas time and there are many families in the UK who dont celebrate Christmas for a variety of different reasons. When we did the topic of celebrations we looked at it from a wider context, and covered all sorts of reasons why people celebrate...weddings, births, passing an exam, a visit from a friend from afar, acquiring of a new skill, etc.

 

I would certainly talk to the parents concerned as Alison suggests.

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we have often had this dilemma and speaking to the parents always helped, most were happy with other celebrations such as divali and hannukah even Nov. 5th and carnival (we have a really big carnival here at this time of year) but not christmas or birthdays.

We used to ensure that the christmas makes were easily adapted, not using santa or religious references, but snowflakes and snowmen, stars etc. and the parents were usually happy for the child to do these as long as it wasn't a card.

Songs were harder and we found that the only way was to divide into groups and learn the christmassy songs one, other songs in another. These groups were rotated but the child who was unable to do the christmas songs never ended up in that group, they never seemed to notice and all other children had a chance to learn the songs for christmas.

Birthdays, if we needed to celebrate we found a small special job for the child while we sang to the birthday child but kept it to just that, the child was happyand birthday child happy.

when we did a christmas concert or party we just explained this to the parents, and they always offered to keep their child away on those dates. One was so understanding she offered to collect her child half an hour early for the last two weeks before christmas so the other children could join in together, this was an exception but it can happen.

parents are one of the best to ask for help.

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We too have had a JW family and we managed to organise things with the co operation of the family very well. They usually went away the last two weeks of the autumn term. When making cards they still made them but put Thank you inside.

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Hi Geraldine,

I have a JW in my Reception class, and they are OK with other faiths but not Christian faith, or birthdays. I am doing Festivals after half term and find this is very difficult - I am going to meet the parent and ask them what to do. We will be performing a Nativity too which the child can't join in. It is very difficult.

Abi

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sometimes I have found I was being overly worried about a JW child "missing out" in my view, when in fact the child from their point of view was quite aware that they did not take part in birthday/christmas celebrations and knew their rationale why not and actually preferred not to be part of the christmas etc things because they knew they weren't to. One JW girl used to take herself quietly out of assembly as a junior when she knew it wasn't suitable for her to stay but joined in when it was. Because the school had worked with her family to build up a trust and sense of belonging she was very secure in her faith at school. I do agree that asking about other approaches would be best. Most JW (and Rastafarian) children I've known stayed away from school for days like the christmas dinner etc. I think JennyK you are right when you say how over the top christmas can get !!!

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THANK YOU for all your helpful replies. :D

 

Some children were talking about birthdays and this little chap just said "We dont have birthdays in my house" - it was, to him a perfectly natural response, just in the same way as some children say they havent got particular material things or arent allowed to do so and so. It clearly wasnt an issue for him at all and he was not in the slightest concerned about the conversation.

 

I lke the idea of celebrating other, perhaps more personal things, I like the snowmen and snowflakes too and YES I am in agreement about the OTT at Christmas, we seem to be up to our armpits in glue and glitter each year.

 

Mum is aware that we accept her faith and understands we want to work with her to make sure we get it right so hopefully all will be well.

 

I would just hate to offend in any way by doing/not doing something with her son but now feel reassured from your experiences that it can work. With open lines of communication with Mum I hope to do the same

 

Many thanks again! :D

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I think that you could also focus on the season ie winter pictures. As the family do not celebrate birthdays or christmas you could also introduce a day when individual children are allowed to bring something in from home and talk to the rest of the class about it, which I am sure would help greatly for the child to feel less isolated, this could possibly take place near christmas- your school probably already has something like this in place, its just an idea. You could maybe also encourage one of the parents to come in and help which might eleviate some of the concerns regarding their child participating if they could see that not all the activities are festive related and they might be able to suggest exciting alternatives.

 

N

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