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No more Mother’s Day in ACT schools… really?

By Rachel Ziv - 20 May 2017 11

Mothers Day

It’s been a bit of a sad week for me.

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day, which I always look forward to as I have two young children (who love to celebrate any type of day), and I’ve always felt that it’s a particularly important day where kids learn to step outside themselves and appreciate the role other’s play in their lives.

My Mother’s Day was really nice, and the kids were extra attentive and very sweet with a homemade card and offers to do things around the house.

But at the end of the day, I noticed an absence. My daughter, who started Kindergarten this year, had not come home with anything from school. No cards, no little trinkets… nothing.

Wondering if she’d not been paying attention in class and somehow “missed” the exercise, I asked other mothers on Monday whether their kids had come home with anything. All I heard was a disappointed “No”, and a number of theories as to why it might be the case.

After a little more investigation, I found that it was a school-wide policy, and that it had been paid no attention at all. Feeling miffed and a little concerned for a lack of family values, I promptly put my feedback in an email to the school in the hope that it would enlighten them as to a better way to approach it next year.

But my hopes were soon dashed, when I was told that “Because it’s not part of the curriculum, and in the interest of diversity (apparently lots of mums don’t celebrate Mother’s Day… really?) it’s simply not done”. No more Easter. No more Christmas. Forget Mother’s Day. And who cares for Father’s Day.

Suffice it to say I wasn’t too happy.

Is this really where we are now? We’ve moved so far into catering for everyone, that we cater to no one at all. When I was at school, some of my fondest memories were making my mum a Mother’s Day card and then hiding it until the Sunday. The silly things I took home made of popsicle sticks and cardboard – they had no use whatsoever but my mum still has them 30 years later. Sure the kids can make them any day of the week as an art project, but it’s not the same as “Make something special for your Mum to say thank you for all the special things she does for you.”

Back then, in the interest of diversity, there were plenty of kids who turned their Mother’s Day cards into a “Someone Special” card. They may not have celebrated Mother’s Day, but they still got to be included in an occasion that recognises an important influence in your life.

And while some argue that “Kids should respect and value their parents every day… not just on one day of the year”, I don’t think this is an excuse to reject Mother’s Day. Yes, respect and value should always be there. But in the grind of everyday life, it’s hard to remember to step back and appreciate what others do for you – especially for children.

Is it illogical to believe that taking just 30 minutes out of “curriculum learning” and allowing kids to enjoy – with their peers – the experience of making something that celebrates their mothers (or fathers, or someone special), is the right thing to do?

Did your kids come home with a Mother’s Day present or card from school this year? What about Father’s Day?

What’s Your opinion?


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11 Responses to
No more Mother’s Day in ACT schools… really?
Holden Caulfield 9:45 am 24 May 17

Wellington Sludge said :

I think all the people who are going to comment here in the negative need to also provide an alternative so as to cater for the kids who don’t have mothers. Has this author actually investigated this side of things from the school? I know, for example, that a child in one of my classes lost her mother in a tragic (nationally reported) incident last year, and so I would certainly carefully consider whether I would organise a Mother’s Day activity at school in case of potentially excluding and triggering her.

I am not saying the issue is clear cut. But i am anticipating that many people whose views are opposite to mine will be. As this so-called “new Australia”, couldn’t we just embrace helping others who are struggling, as opposed to being sad because we didn’t get a present on what is supposed to be a day about us?

Back in the day, when I was at primary school, I made a father’s day card for my mum, who was raising me on her own following the death of my father a few years prior. Apparently the teacher took my card away and admonished me for not doing it right. Thankfully, I can’t remember the incident. Sadly, my mum can.

Personally, I have never had a problem with people celebrating father’s day just because I don’t have a dad.

My biggest objection to mother’s/father’s day, is that it’s just a made up day to sell greeting cards/flowers/whatever. Why not be outraged at the ills of commercialism and the cost that can have towards family?

Pandy 6:06 am 24 May 17

Bill Shorten (yes that Bill) intervened in a school in Melbourne that tried banning Mothers Day. Why? His kid went to that school. The Principal had to have a special meeting to discuss a “way forward”.

Spiral 9:24 pm 22 May 17

I had named the school my children attend, but apparently the moderators decided to protect the guilty.

wildturkeycanoe 2:26 pm 22 May 17

Wellington Sludge said :

Has this author actually investigated this side of things from the school? I know, for example, that a child in one of my classes lost her mother in a tragic (nationally reported) incident last year, and so I would certainly carefully consider whether I would organise a Mother’s Day activity at school in case of potentially excluding and triggering her.

By that logic we could ban pretty much anything. Say a refugee from the Middle east who was persecuted for being Christian had to attend school here and learn alongside Muslim children. What kind of trauma would that create? What about kids who have learned in foreign countries to fear authorities such as the police? Should we ban Kenny Koala from visiting school?
The irrational decisions brought about by complaints from just one individual affect their own community first, then it spreads throughout the state and then the rest of the country. Why should we fear celebrating anything purely because it might offend someone. I am offended by the decisions to ban things like Christmas and Easter because it offends some minority groups. If those people don’t want to celebrate it, fine, but don’t expect the whole world to bend over for your own inability to tolerate other’s beliefs, especially when those beliefs are founded in the country’s most prevalent faith. We should be teaching tolerance, but it seems that is backfiring and we are actually instilling a belief in people that if they don’t like something they have the right to have it banned under the guise of “discrimination” or some such rubbish. This used to be a free country but see what our foreign policy is doing? It is corrupting our freedoms at a fundamental level and I am getting absolutely sick and tired of it.

Rebecca Vassarotti 4:53 pm 20 May 17

I have to admit surprising delight when I received the book of ‘mothers vouchers’, small bag and oven mitts (even though I don’t really cook!) from the school mothers day stall that my kids were bursting with excitement to give me. We absolutely need to recognise the diversity of families and I really didn’t need the stuff but there was something so lovely about it. It hadn’t been mediated by their other parent, they had worked together with their money allocation to get everything they chose and they each had a story about why they had picked each gift. I am really glad my children’s school sees value in creating opportunities for them to nurture kindness and care for their family members. I think it does give them the opportunity to learn and become great people.

emd 4:18 pm 20 May 17

My kids go to public schools and they were making things for Mother’s Day. So I don’t think it’s a policy that affects our public schools in general. Maybe just a few individual teachers who didn’t want to do it?

Acton 12:38 pm 20 May 17

Name the school that doesn’t encourage kids to celebrate Mother’s Day.

The leader, “No more Mother’s Day in ACT schools… really?” is misleading and facturally wrong because mothers are acknowledged and celebrated in ACT Government schools. For example, Garran Primary had a special assembly devoted to Mother’s Day to which all mothers were invited and kids read out letters of appreciation.

http://www.garranps.act.edu.au/news_and_events2/calendar?SQ_CALENDAR_VIEW=event&SQ_CALENDAR_EVENT_ID=398764&SQ_CALENDAR_DATE=2017-05-12

If correct, your school’s P&C association should be asking why your school doesn’t celebrate Mother’s Day when other ACT schools do. Then some butt kicking should occur. Involved parents can change bad school policy and when necessary, get bad school leadership improved. Mother’s day and other special days should be celebrated because they are educational and inclusive and contribute to a cohesive society.

Wellington Sludge 9:07 am 20 May 17

I think all the people who are going to comment here in the negative need to also provide an alternative so as to cater for the kids who don’t have mothers. Has this author actually investigated this side of things from the school? I know, for example, that a child in one of my classes lost her mother in a tragic (nationally reported) incident last year, and so I would certainly carefully consider whether I would organise a Mother’s Day activity at school in case of potentially excluding and triggering her.

I am not saying the issue is clear cut. But i am anticipating that many people whose views are opposite to mine will be. As this so-called “new Australia”, couldn’t we just embrace helping others who are struggling, as opposed to being sad because we didn’t get a present on what is supposed to be a day about us?

John Moulis 8:54 am 20 May 17

We hear a lot about this sort of thing in schools nowadays but I can’t remember doing anything for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day at primary school in Sydney in the 1960s and at primary and high school in Canberra in the 1970s.

I can remember taking my Christmas record to school in 1968 and the teacher played it during our Christmas party a few days before the school holidays started, and I remember a teacher’s strike in 1977 when the ACT Schools Authority tried to take Easter Tuesday away as a school holiday but apart from that I don’t remember these type of events being acknowledged at school at all.

So before anybody bangs the drums about politically correctness in the modern classroom we should remember that schools have never really been into celebrating outside holidays. At least as far as I can remember.

DeadlySchnauzer 8:49 am 20 May 17

My kids school goes all out. Cards, presents to bring home, even a mother’s day morning hosted at the school.

So I don’t think this is any kind of ACT wide policy.

Spiral 8:01 am 20 May 17

My kid’s school did the same thing.

Welcome to the new Australia, where we try so hard to be inclusive we have become exclusive.

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