I believe learning about culture (big and little C) in childhood helps children recognize, accept and appreciate differences. I also believe it’s important not to limit ourselves to celebrations and traditions from English speaking countries but bring in those from around the world and even from the local community.  

Do you consider culture as a skill that needs to be taught in the language classroom?

“Culture as the fifth skill emphasizes the learner’s ability to perceive, to understand, and ultimately, to accept cultural relativity.”  Dr. Thomas Garza

Today I’m sharing a project for a celebration that takes place in many parts of the world but is probably best known as an American holiday.  Halloween is a mixture of costumes, candy and the fantasy world of witches, ghosts and ghouls.  Is it any wonder that kids (and many adults) find it irresistible?   

During the project, the children will participate in a number of activities that provide opportunities for acquiring English in a highly engaging context … a Halloween Party! 

In addition to experiencing customs and traditions of another culture, I also used it as an opportunity to explore this idea of reality, fantasy and learning to differentiate between the two. 

The key questions we address with this lesson are:

  • What is Halloween?
  • Where and how is it celebrated?
  • Are ghosts / witches / monsters true?
  • Do I need to be afraid of things that are imaginary?

This was designed to be a 4 hour event for up to 36 children between 3 and 7 years old. However, I think you’ll find it fairly easy to adapt to a variety of different teaching contexts.  

Below you can sign up to receive my Halloween Project. In it I outline a variety of learning opportunities that include:

  • Food preparation and tasting
  • Ghost Stories (Funny – Not Scary)
  • Art and craft
  • Physical movement games
  • Sensory games

The vocabulary and structures that we focus on are related to Halloween symbols and characters, food, colors, body parts and likes / dislikes.