Due to the demands of the California state standards and the relatively short school day, celebrations are limited to major holidays. Organization of these events is at the discretion of the classroom teacher. In some cases, students are assigned responsibility and in other cases room parents organize and delegate, as appropriate.
The following guidelines have been sent to us from our County Office of Education and help clarify the purpose for seasonal celebrations.
California schools have students with diverse religious points of view and family religious traditions. It is essential that school staff do not appear to endorse one particular religious belief system over another.When designing our school programs, we keep this in mind. We teach about particular holidays but not endorse them. Religious symbols are not appropriate seasonal decorations in public schools. The classroom and school premises are the place where children spend the majority of their day. It is important that all students feel comfortable and accepted in their school.
Even with our efforts, any parent who has a religious objection about his or her child’s participation in holiday events should notify the teacher so other arrangements can be made for the student during those times.
With over 30 students in some classes, students could be eating birthday cake every week, or more than once a week! For this reason, and with the knowledge that learning time is sacred, birthday parties don’t happen at school. If parents which to bring a “treat” to celebrate their child’s birthday, we distribute these during the last 10 minute of the school day. We are not permitted to give food to children before lunch. Parents should make arrangements with teachers prior to bringing birthday treats.
Home party invitations – Invitations to parties outside the classroom may not be distributed at school unless the entire class is invited. (This is to avoid hurt feelings of students who are not invited.)
Donation of Birthday Books - In celebration of a child’s birthday, a book can be donated to the Castro/Mistral library. The librarian will provide a special bookplate to commemorate the student gift.