A Festival of Lights

Program Name: Preschool 2

Fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion is of the utmost importance in Preschool 2. Putting this philosophy into practice means that we make an effort to celebrate anything and everything that is important to the children and families in our program. 

This past month we had the opportunity to learn about Diwali from our Conestoga College student, Ankita. Through play-based experiences we were exposed to new vocabulary, symbols, traditions, and celebrations. 

In a hands-on art activity, we were able to learn about the significance of the Diya. The Diya is a clay lamp that holds oil or ghee and is lit to provide light in the home in a decorative manner. The common theme of Diwali is light triumphing over darkness; children were able to connect with this belief as they created their own diyas to bring into their home.

Through transient art on our tuff tray, we explored the concept of rangoli. Rangoli uses coloured sand and other materials to create patterns at the threshold of a home or a tabletop and are intended to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and good luck. Vocabulary words were added to the edge to spark discussion about key components of the festival and to facilitate letter recognition.

Hindu symbolism also served as a significant learning moment for children, families, and educators. For the children in our program, this was their exposure to the swastika and we were fortunate to educate them on the original meaning. The word swastika comes from the Sanskrit words Su, meaning good, and Asti, meaning existence. Together, the word swastika refers to well-being or good fortune. Through a multi-media art experience, swastikas and diyas were decorated and displayed throughout the classroom, creating an invitation to discussion, celebration, and education for many. 

This four-day festival was fundamental to our practice of inclusion. In the coming month, we look forward to celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas as co-learners with children and families.

A child smiling while looking at the diya they just created

A student sitting with two children and assisting with creating a diya out of clay

A child decorating their diya and swastika with art materials