Essays, parenting

Pagan Kids and Our Religious Freedoms

I’ve been thinking about this topic for a bit after running across an out of print book this past week, titled  Pagan Child: A Handbook for Teachers, Carers, Childminders, and All Those Involved in Looking After the Children of Pagan Parents  by Dee Weardale. This book was published in the mid-90s in the UK, just a couple of years before I found Pagan folks at college and learned that there were other options when it came to religion.

I’ve talked before about the challenges we face when it comes to caregivers. Clearly, though, I’m not the only person who has wondered about your run of the mill daycare and our kids.

Around here, a fairly sizeable percentage of daycares and preschools are run by Christian churches. It’s an obvious choice for them – if they’re big enough to have classrooms for their Sunday School programs, they’ve got those rooms sitting largely unused all week.

Our current daycare for Acorn did ask about our faith – the owner ran across one of my blogs. But she was respectful, and it has never come up again. Our previous daycare, however, told me at one point that they “do a Christmas program, with traditional songs and stuff” and that they planned to continue to do so, because “we don’t have anyone here who objects.” Which I guess is code for “everyone here is nominally Christian or afraid to say otherwise.”

But that does leave me wondering – in some areas, it’s likely that church-based centers are the only option (or the only affordable option, which is a totally different post for another day). Even all of the small centers I interviewed that advertised themselves as being “green” or “organic” turned out to be heavily Christian based – some even using pre-packaged Christian curriculums, even though that wasn’t mentioned in their ads at all. So even here, with one of the largest Muslim populations outside of the Middle East, along with sizeable populations from all corners of the globe, daycares that aren’t Christian are hard to find, and are so much the norm that they don’t see a need to mention it.

Actually…it’s somewhat interesting that both our local Hindu temple and one of our Mosques here in our small suburb have Montessori based preschools….

So…what should daycare providers know about our kids? Mine aren’t likely to say anything that might cause a stir anytime soon, but I bet yours talk about holidays and witches and that sort of thing once in a while.

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