In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we have been exploring the art forms associated with el Dia de los Muertos(the Day of the Dead). It is a widely observed holiday in Mexico, celebrated on Nov. 1st and 2nd, that acknowledges the loss of family members and the concept of ancestors.
For young children, this holiday gives adults an opportunity to share the concept of time, and the passage of time, and touches on the concept of the human life cycle. Each year, children in our community experience the loss of beloved family members (including pets). The holiday can be an opportunity for children to share their feelings with family members who have passed away. The emphasis at this age is on sharing feelings of love and favorite memories. We also can talk about ancestors (family members the children never met).
On Thursday, Ms. Silvia introduced the concept of preparing an altar to remember our ancestors (ofrenda). Las Ofrendas are decorated with colorful streamers (papel picado), marigolds (cempazúchitl), decorated candied skulls made from compressed sugar (Calaveras), and photos of loved ones.
In addition to exploring coloring pages of Calaveras for el Dia de los Muertos, the children prepared the beautiful papel picado that decorated our all-school picnic and will make tissue paper cempasúchiles.