Whenever Easter rolls around, school administrators might think they’re walking on eggshells should they decide on incorporating the holiday into curricula, given its religious foundation. But for Gwynne Frischmann, head of school for both Trevose Day School and Neshaminy Montessori in Bucks County, Easter symbolizes a festive spring holiday that all of her students can enjoy, regardless of where they come from.
“It’s more of a history lesson,” says Frischmann, who is in her 13th year as head of both schools, on how her team of reputable teachers leads students during Easter. “We study all holidays, and the way people celebrate is different; we have children with various backgrounds who don’t celebrate Easter. It’s neat for them to have the experience.”
Part of the tradition at Trevose Day School and Neshaminy Montessori involves decorating fresh eggs that literally comes from their own backyard rather than the grocery store.
“For that, all of the children in the school go out to the chicken coop, and then dye Easter eggs in the classroom,” says Frischmann of how each child chooses one egg for decoration purposes.
The egg selection process can take time, as free-range chickens normally lay only one egg daily. Therefore, it’s Frischmann’s belief that this teaches a life lesson on how good things often don’t necessarily happen right away.
“Sometimes, we have to wait until tomorrow for the chickens to lay an egg,” Frischmann says. “It’s a privilege for the students; they look forward to it.”
Adding a surprise element, 5th graders will hide plastic eggs filled with treats outside throughout school property for younger students to try and find. Even Frischmann and teachers join in on the fun, dispersing eggs in more challenging places for the older students (usually within their shared tables, which recently changed from desks in an effort to encourage collaborative learning). Celebrating Easter will have beneficial effects on the children participating, according to Frischmann.
“Kids need to learn that we can celebrate all holidays and learn about them,” says the school administrator, who emphasizes the importance of creating a balanced environment. “Where else are they going to experience this?”
Since Easter Sunday coincides with April Fool’s Day this year, students will begin preparing on March 26 with the dying of eggs freshly laid from the weekend. Their hunt for the Easter Bunny’s gifts begins in the morning on March 28.
The Trevose Day School and Neshaminy Montessori schools have been a staple of the Bucks County educational community since the early ‘70s. The former enrolls children from pre-k through 5th grade, while its sister Montessori school welcomes kids between the ages of 2.5 and 6 years old. Both also offer summer camps depending on age and activities that children are interested in. For more information, visit trevosedayschool.org and neshaminymontessori.org.
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