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To expect a mention of the "J" word in an infant Christmas assembly

(22 Posts)

We moved to a new country and new (British) school this summer. DD2 (who is 5) is in reception and had her Christmas assembly this morning, along with nursery and year 1 students. It was really cute with rhymes and songs but not a whiff of Jesus or the Nativity.

We are not churchgoers but I was really surprised to hear Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, 12 Days of Christmas and Jingle Bells and not a single carol this morning. DD2 knows the story behind Christmas because she was told it at her previous (British international) school and her assembly last year included a nativity (she also knows why people celebrate Deepavali, Eid and Chinese New Year). I think it's important to know why we celebrate festivals, if only from a knowledge point of view. DD1 (year 4) has had to learn Slade for her assembly on Thursday......

Apparently, according to one mum at the school, Easter is all about spring flowers, eggs and bunnies sigh

Is it the norm in the UK to totally ignore the religious side of festivals in school? Just wondering where this comes from ...

HopAndSkipAlong Tue 10-Dec-13 23:30:27

If it's not a religious school then theres no real reason to mention religion IMO, wouldn't hurt to mention it but no need to either.

HopAndSkipAlong Tue 10-Dec-13 23:31:15

Are there lots of children from different religions at your DC's school? That could be a reason (to avoid confusion so on)

giggle78 Tue 10-Dec-13 23:35:07

It comes from a very strange inability to talk about anything spiritual, emotional, or anything that could remotely be deemed as offensive - whilst simultaneously being offensive due to its inability to let people make up their own minds.

It comes from a cultural view that sees science and rational thought as better and opposed to faith rather than seeing them as expressions of different ways of exploring the world. (A bit like maths and literature).

It comes from a vocal few who like to shout loudly that is all just fairy stories. And for some reason in the UK if some one shouts loudly we just roll over and die.

It has become the norm for school teachers to look apologetic if they are going to mention the 'J' word. That really happened to me. The head teacher said 'we do a nativity play so that does involve Jesus'. Quickly looked down.

I was at a meeting tonight and someone mentioned they had prayed. They then said - I go to an Anglican church where they don't really talk about things like that. And then you think..........what? what have we come to where a church doesn't even talk about prayer?

So at the moment in the UK it looks bleak.

WilsonFrickett Tue 10-Dec-13 23:40:09

I'm a bit confused op, is your new school in the UK?

I've been to funny nativities, rocky nativities, traditional nativities and even (memorably) a nativity told from the pov of a sheep. But they've all had baby Jesus in them...

PinkPepper Tue 10-Dec-13 23:43:49

I don't think that's the norm. I'd be happy if it was. They can learn the stories to all religious celebrations in the classrooms alongside still?

mugglebert Tue 10-Dec-13 23:46:36

Maybe they should discuss the true origins of christmas and how the christian church have jumped on the bandwagon? In the interest of knowledge. Also for easter, i don't see how the easter bunny is a less meaningful fairytale than the ressurection.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Tue 10-Dec-13 23:47:14

I'm a BIG fan of the separation of Church and State. BIG fan. Does seem odd to celebrate 'Christmas' without a mention of baby Jesus though.

If the school is in the UK and a state school it is breaking the law as there is no separation of Church and State and assemblies are supposed to have worship of a broadly Christian nature.

I don't mind, it was a good assembly but I would like them to learn about different religious observances whether in class or assembly (not just Christian) as it's part of general knowledge if nothing else - Christmas seems an ideal festival to include.

Ironically our new school is in Texas, which has a huge proportion of regular churchgoers. There are about 40% Brits at the school and another 40 or so nationalities from all over, would be nice for the kids to find out about their friends' cultures and traditions, as mine did at their previous school. I think that with a wide range of nationalities and cultures, it's even more important to foster understanding, although I can see why it might conceivably offend if not done sensitively.

Was going to mention the assembly in passing to DD's teacher if the opportunity arose....

You're sighing at this woman because she doesn't share your religious beliefs? hmm

To me, a person free of religion, Easter is and always was a spring festival, celebrating the return of warmth and growth etc. So it is about flowers and bunnies. Just as Christmas is a midwinter festival and therefore about snowmen and sleighbells.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Tue 10-Dec-13 23:54:33

Ah, makes sense now, they do have separation of Church and State in the USA. They can learn about religions but not really participate in them in school.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Tue 10-Dec-13 23:56:09

Return of warmth and growth, my arse. Easter as was before Christianity was all about sex. Bunnies and eggs, fnarr fnarr. grin

"I think it's important to know why we celebrate festivals, if only from a knowledge point of view."

I agree, but you don't seem to know yourself.

"There are about 40% Brits at the school and another 40 or so nationalities from all over, would be nice for the kids to find out about their friends' cultures and traditions"

If they are talking about Christmas as well as the other festivals you mention then they are teaching the children about different cultures.

Sex, growing, birth, all the same idea!

AnAdventureInCakeAndWine Wed 11-Dec-13 00:03:34

If it's in the US then that explains it. No religious content in schools (except for private religious schools) is a big thing there.

I'm not sighing at the woman for not sharing my beliefs, I'm sighing at a school that teaches children that Easter is about chocolate eggs delivered by a rabbit. I know that these refer to the original spring festival but no-one will explain why to the kids.

They are also talking about Christmas from the Coca Cola point of view, all the kids in red hats singing about parties and gifts with no idea why. I guess the red Santa stuff is cultural, you're right, but it's not my first idea of Christmas and has focused my kids on receiving gifts even more.

Didn't realise there was a separation of religion and education in state schools in the US, this puts it into perspective but we are neither a US school, nor state...

CuntWagon Wed 11-Dec-13 00:23:56

But your post above says you are in Texas?

Yes in Texas at a British school, not a US school.

AnAdventureInCakeAndWine Wed 11-Dec-13 00:25:56

Yes, but the UK as a society in general is much much much much more secular than the US. There is religion in schools here but largely because (ironically) in spite of being largely secular we have an officially established religion and laws that say schools have to have some religious content. If schools didn't have to include religion then most of them probably wouldn't. If you take a culturally-British school and transplant it into a society where not only do schools not have to include religion, but the state schools are not allowed to include it, then it's not astonishing that they end up that way.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Wed 11-Dec-13 00:27:06

Turns out my atheist self has to move to Texas to get the education I want for DD. Who knew?

Come on over MrsTerry ... Just be prepared to be asked a gazillion times "so where do y'all worship?"

MaidOfStars Wed 11-Dec-13 09:04:32

It is illegal to promote any kind of religion in US schools. You have comparative religion classes, and extracurricular clubs, but that's it. And they aren't afraid of suing, most famously, the case of Jessica Ahlquist, who last year won her lawsuit against her school who had hung a (Christian) prayer banner in the school hall.

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