Holiday Traditions at the Lower School


Abbie Thurlow, Features Writer ‘26

The holidays are right around the corner, which means it is time for the Wilmington Friends Lower School to start teaching their students more about different holidays around the world and decorating! During this time of year, teachers incorporate different cultures, religions, and holidays into their lessons. Three teachers in the Lower School talked a little about how they include these different topics in their lessons and their thoughts about them. 

Lara Munch, the Lower School Spanish teacher, teaches her students about many different holidays, not just Hispanic. Señora Munch describes this semesters holidays as, “Hispanic Heritage Month, Día de los Muertos, Diwali, Rosh Hashanah, Noche de Rábanos, Hanukkah, la Navidad and Kwanzaa.” Kate McCarron and Susan Geoghegan, the Lower School librarians, also plan read-aloud activities that are related to the ones going on in the student’s homerooms. 

Señora Munch, Tr. Kate and Tr. Sue all agree that teaching these topics to the students is very important and reflects greatly on Wilmington Friends School’s diversity. Tr. Kate and Tr. Sue commented how, “It is important to be exposed to other cultures, religions, traditions, and beliefs so they can develop understanding. It also helps students find the similarities of some of their family celebrations with what others do.” Señora Munch also explains how important it is in Spanish class specifically, “it gives the students an opportunity to both share/learn about their own ethnic celebrations and Hispanic holidays while simultaneously incorporating Spanish vocabulary.”

The teachers also talked about how parents become involved in some lessons. Tr. Kate and Tr. Sue said that  they “welcome parents coming in to share a favorite book that shares a bit about the holidays that they celebrate with their family.” Even though Covid now restricts them from doing this, they still did this often in the past. In Señora Munch’s class, they have “had various Hispanic speakers come in to share their cultural perspectives with the students.” Also, Mr. Pardo from the upper school has gone down every year and talked about his experiences in Cuba and Puerto Rico to fifth graders. Señora adds as well how “the students are especially interested and engaged in these types of activities.” 

The teachers enjoy teaching about these topics, probably as much as the Lower Schoolers! Señora Munch said, “I enjoy learning and teaching about other religions/holidays/cultures. It benefits all of us – it broadens my understanding and connection with my students and the world around me.” She adds that she enjoys it because “it allows me to create new pathways for the students to learn additional vocabulary and gain a deeper understanding of Hispanic and non-Hispanic cultures.” Tr. Kate talked about how she likes teaching about the different holidays/cultures because, “it helps students appreciate the richness and diversity of our world and aligns with the Quaker spices, especially peace.” She also commented on how the lessons encourage students to check out different cookbooks affiliated with their own religion!

The teachers even have their own favorite parts of the lessons. Tr. Sue and Tr. Kate said their favorite part is “When families or students share their holidays and customs with us… not only do we learn about other cultures, but we gain a deeper understanding about people we know.” Señora Munch enjoys (like most lower schoolers), “ALL of it!” and also, “learning and sharing multiple perspectives with our students…we all benefit and hopefully pass our knowledge and appreciation to others as well.”

Even now, many upper schoolers still remember the fun times of singing holiday songs in a gathering, receiving gifts in their shoes when the three wise men came, playing dreidel, and eating lots of cultural foods. “I remember the mitten tree and putting the mitten on it, I thought that was fun.” (Medford, Leyla ‘26)

Happy holidays from the friends at Lower School!