Wake Up It’s Christmas!

The way you measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Kidz Newz #164 – 16 November 2017

Welcome to Kidz Newz, especially all new subscribers – including those from the recent Move to Learn PD in Perth. Kidz Newz is a regular newsletter with information and teaching tips for anyone involved with young children. You are receiving this because you have attended one of my workshops, purchased a book, or you have requested to be on the mailing list. Thank you. Please forward this to anyone you feel it may be of interest to. Feedback is welcome. Don’t forget to stay in touch on our Facebook Page and watch out for our exclusive fan page competitions.

Kidz-Fiz-Biz Workshop – ASME Summer School Perth

I have been invited to present at this event on Friday 19th January. Details to follow. Although put on by a music association, I recommend it for anyone involved with young children, not just music specialists, in order to learn more about using music in teaching, whether at early childhood, primary or secondary level. I have presented at the Summer School many times and it is always very worthwhile attending.

Wake Up It’s Christmas!

I was looking after my three year-old granddaughter yesterday and we were listening to some Christmas music. We both decided we really liked a piece of music by Peter Combe called ‘So Far Away’ from his album ‘Wake Up It’s Christmas’. There are lots of beautiful tracks on that album but this stood out for both of us. When I checked the lyrics I was moved by the chorus – Peace and goodwill to all people on earth is So far away, so far away.

The song is about the rituals at Christmas time and what they mean. The hope is that one small baby could change human nature so that peace could reign forever more. It may sound like a bit of a cynical piece of music for children that this hope is so far away but they are listening to the music. In that sense it is on two levels. Combe writes – ‘… hope can conquer all your fears and love can wipe away the tears.’ It is a simple message that is actually echoed in all the religions of the world but human nature is as it is.

It is for this reason that I am concerned that our obsession with political correctness in maintaining a secular curriculum with no mention of celebrations like Christmas and Easter at all has become absurd. In the Western world, the dominant religion is Christianity and that underpins the culture, irrespective of how many other minority religions co-exist or how many devout atheists there are. As such, it is relevant to explain to the children (whose parents may well not be of the Christian faith) what these celebrations are all about and why we have national holidays at those times. When not running kidz-fiz-biz, I teach English to foreigners, all of whom want to know about how we celebrate our festivals in Australia and what the customs are. They simply don’t know and are curious because most of them are not of Christian backgrounds. After all, they don’t want to cause offence if invited to a celebration of some kind at someone’s house. They want to know! This is not about proselytising! It is about education. They will still maintain their own religious convictions and celebrate their own religious festivals but they want to know about their adopted country’s rituals. In Australia we have to hide behind political correctness and keep these people in the dark. How absurd!

So, my recommendation is that you avoid proselytising but simply state the facts. In my kidz-fiz-biz classes I would ask the children what they knew about Christmas. They would invariably say it was about Santa and presents and yummy food. When I would ask when else do we have presents and yummy food, they naturally respond that on their birthdays this happens. When I explain that Christmas is a birthday party too, their eyes are wide open. No one has ever told them that before. I explain that a little baby called Jesus was born a long, long time ago and it is His birthday that we celebrate all over the world. ‘He’s famous,’ would often be the response. Well, that’s quite correct. I don’t say any more than that because there is no need. I am not there to proselytise but simply to explain that Christmas is a birthday party. It is up to the parents to explain further if they wish to. To ignore the celebration entirely, however, is wrong in my opinion. It is just as wrong to say Christmas is about Santa bringing presents and leaving it at that.

Let me know your thoughts. Are we going too far when we ignore these religious festivals? After all, isn’t that the thin end of the wedge? If the message of Christmas is much broader in being about peace on earth and goodwill to all men, then why not be reminded of this broader message at least once in a year? I am reminded of the very famous World War I incident in 1914 where both sides lay down their arms on Christmas Eve and into Christmas Day and even exchanged small gifts with the enemy. War was not going to be forever. War was an aberration. That is the basic message of Christmas – peace – irrespective of what faith you have or don’t have. That is a human message and beyond religion. I agree with the notion of keeping public education secular but let’s not go too far. What do you think?

Quotes of the Week

Tolerance is giving to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself.
Robert Green Ingersoll

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
Norman Vincent Peale

We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love … and then we return home.
– Aboriginal Proverb

Christmas Specials – and Freebies!

You need to email me directly to get these specials as they won’t appear on the website – info@kidzfizbiz.com or phone me in Australia on 0410 642 781. These will last only until Friday 14 December.

Free with any purchase – a Scarf Magic DVD (valued at $13.75)

Free with a 20 set or 30 set Scarf Bag – a Scarf Magic Pack (valued at $27.50)

Half Price KFB Multicultural Book with full price KFB Learning Through Drama, Dance and Song (save $42.50)

Save $10.00 on Books

Nurturing Kids’ hearts and souls (Maggie Dent) – $25.00 (was $35.00)

The DEAL for Happier, Healthier, Smarter Kids (Dr Peter Dingle) – $25.00 (was $35.00)

Help Your Class to Learn (Barbara Pheloung) – $19.50 (was $29.50)


EYES Conference Perth 2016

Great links to cross-curriculum and EYLF applications.

Lovely way to finish the day. Thank you!

It was energetic at times but quiet and relaxing too. Very enjoyable.

An excellent way to engage students in the early years.

Thank you for a fun and relaxing session.

Thank you. Thoroughly enjoyed your session.

Thank you!

You are wonderful. Thank you for a fabulous interactive ‘lesson’ on scarves and music. Rosie Baker


Don’t say we never told you…

  1. Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
  2. Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
  3. Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
  4. Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
  5. Germans drink beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
  6. The French eat foie-gras, full fat cheese and drink red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.

Eat and drink what you like.
Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at festivals. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ program.

PO Box 6894, East Perth WA 6892 Australia
T: +61 8 9355 4890 M: +61 (0) 410 64 2781 E: info@kidzfizbiz.com

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Until next time … continue being a legend in your classroom.

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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