December has arrived, and with that comes holiday preparations, gift giving…and, at The International Preschools, the annual celebration of the Winter Solstice. The Winter Solstice marks the day with the shortest amount of daylight and the longest amount of darkness. Traditionally, the Winter Solstice celebrates the return of the sun, as the days following the solstice contain more minutes, and ultimately hours, of daylight, culminating with the Summer Solstice (the longest amount of daylight in one day of the year) in June.
Curriculum at IPS during December focuses on the concept of light and dark while integrating aspects of the holiday season. Many of the holidays that our families celebrate, from Diwali to Hanukkah to Christmas, cherish light sources such as candles and lanterns; the
se items act as icons of the season. In some cultures, people choose not to use electricity on the Winter Solstice and rather, live by candlelight on this day. Nature is also revered during this season and within the classrooms; traditionally, evergreen trees are decorated because they are seen as the “eternal symbol of life during the dark months of the winter.” They are referred to as Yule Trees or Winter Solstice Trees and are decorated with symbols of light (i.e. sun, moon, star ornaments; candles) as well as pinecones and garlands filled with food for animals during the winter months.