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Cultural Events and Celebrations in the Early Years
By Dr Michelle Hill, Assistant Principal of the Primary School

A year in an International School presents many opportunities for our students to share, explore and take part in cultural events and celebrations. At ISZL teachers embrace these opportunities for learning through the diversity provided by our own international community and also by creating links to the local Swiss community. Our units of inquiry are designed to foster an appreciation of diversity and international mindedness and one example of this comes from the Kindergarten programme of inquiry, which includes a unit with the following central idea: Celebrations and traditions are expressions of shared beliefs and values.

At this time of year the Kindergarten children will be taking part in many different events at school and in the local community that centre on traditions from Swiss culture. The importance of light using lanterns and candles is a particular focus. The children will hear the story of St Martin as they explore the tradition of Martinstag, celebrated on 11 November. They will be carving turnip lanterns as they learn about the local tradition of Räbeliechtli parades and they will be taking part in
candle-dipping - making their own beeswax candle to light up the winter evenings. Food, of course, plays an important part in any celebration and the children will also be making Grittibänz, which you will see in every bakery, and are traditionally eaten at the beginning of December to celebrate the anticipated visit from Samichlaus on the night of 5 December.

Exploring the tradition of Martinstag during outdoor learning in the forest

Children carving turnip lanterns as they learn about the local tradition of Räbeliechtli parades

Early years students making traditional dipped beeswax candles

The Kindergarten children will also be beginning what we hope will be a new school tradition, when they walk together along the Lichterweg in Baar and perform at the specially made ‘Waldsofa’. This will take place on Monday December 3rd at 5.30pm and is a community event open to all members of the Baar community. We are really looking forward to this opportunity to take part and look forward to seeing many of you there.

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