By JR on Wednesday, December 14, 2011
'Merry Christmas' replaced with 'Happy Holidays'. I think the father who objected to this has his kid in the wrong school. Montessori schools have always been "progressive" -- though whether it's "progress" to be doing the same thing for over 100 years is an interesting question. Most of the other parents probably agreed with the school and see Christmas as just a quaint folk custom of no particular importance
A SCHOOL is accused of stealing Christmas after removing all references to Santa, carols and Christianity in end-of-year celebrations.
Three to six-year-olds at the Inner Sydney Montessori School replaced the festive lyrics "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" with "We Wish You A Happy Holidays".
One angry parent said he would withdraw his daughter from the Balmain school next year, The Daily Telegraph reported.
The dad, who did not wish to be identified, said: "There were about five songs and not one of them mentioned Christmas. There was no Santa or Christmas decorations or a Christmas tree or any reference to Jesus. "Is this politically correct? I don't understand."
He said some of the children were so confused they blurted out the word Christmas while singing: "They should not force this on young kids. Christmas is meant to be all about Santa and presents."
The Inner Sydney Montessori School said it offers an "inclusive co-educational, non-denominational" education for children from diverse backgrounds from birth to age 12. Principal Cathy Swan said the complaining parent had misinterpreted what went on at the school.
"This is the first complaint I have received about this ... I am sorry this parent felt that way. We have Christmas activities going on all over the building," she said.
"Our policy is that we give children keys to the world and we show them many celebrations including Christmas. We look at all cultures and the particular ways that people celebrate such as Easter, Christmas and Chanukah." Ms Swan said the end-of-year songs without Christmas references may have been an "attempt by one teacher to address the fact that she had Hindus and Jewish children in the classroom".
"Chanukah is happening at this time of year as well. Our parents are multicultural but so are my staff ... we do celebrate Christmas," she said.
Montessori Australia Foundation office manager Sandra Allen said each school was independently owned and operated and had its own policy. "It is a secular education system so no particular religion is taught," she said. "Some schools may choose to celebrate holidays such as Chinese New Year or Chanukah or look at these events from a cultural point of view.
"I have had an email from a concerned member of the public and I pointed them to our website. "It is one school only that I've heard of - it (complaints) are not widespread."
Australia has 190 Montessori schools and 25,000 in 120 countries around the world.