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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET FOREWORD TO THE FIRST EDITION by Louise Derman-Sparks In my workshops and conversations about anti-bias education with early childhood practitioners throughout the country, the “holiday question” invari- ably comes up. The many-faceted issues connected to the topic are not only of intellectual interest; they also spark strong emotions that shape the conversa- tions—even when the people involved are not aware this is happening. Holidays matter deeply to people. They represent a host of experiences, feel- ings, connections, and memories of family and close friends; many of which are warm and positive, some of which are filled with anxiety, anger, or pain. Consequently, asking people to rethink how and why they have been using holiday activities in their early childhood programs is a much more complex and difficult task than it may first appear. It isn’t surprising that considerable confusion characterizes where many teachers are on this volatile issue. Moreover, certain basic misconceptions cloud the very necessary dialogue about the role holidays play in an anti-bias curriculum for young children. The most prevalent misconception is that an anti-bias approach means the elimination of all holidays from the curriculum. In fact, Anti-Bias Curriculum: Tools for Empowering Young Children, the book I wrote with the ABC Task Force, has an entire chapter devoted to a discussion about holidays. It does not say that people should stop all holiday activities in their educational program. It does raise many questions about how we have used holidays in the past as the focus of multicultural activities and about the ways we have presented and involved children in holiday activities. The primary message of the chapter about holidays is to encourage early childhood educators to rethink and make changes as necessary in their practice. Unfortunately, instead of taking on the challenging—and possibly daunt- ing—task of rethinking their practice, some people have opted for a “no-holi- day” policy. This solution only causes further problems. It deprives children and families of a potentially enriching aspect of early childhood care and educa- tion; it deprives staff of the stretching and growing conversations essential to rethinking their holiday policy and initiating new approaches. The no-holiday solution also results in some individuals unfairly holding the anti-bias approach responsible for policies that it neither suggests nor upholds. Another source of confusion about holidays is the anti-bias book’s critique of the form of multicultural curriculum we label the “tourist approach.” As part of our criticism, we point to the overuse of holidays as the primary strategy for introducing children to cultural diversity. Because, by definition, holidays are special days in all people’s culture, over-reliance on holiday activities results in children not learning about the daily life of people different from themselves and thus prevents them from understanding the diverse ways people live out their shared human needs. Incorporating holiday activities as one strategy for xiv FORE WORD COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL