What an interesting question to ask! And not only around the winter break, but at any point.
Assemblies – Big class assemblies take up a lot of time. In the last year, we had two per class. But this sometimes took the focus away from the Unit of Inquiry. As a result, we changed it to once a year. With the students sharing their learning experience after every unit, we found this was acceptable.
My assembly is coming up next. I have chosen the Rights and Responsibilities unit for it, and a lot of my drama objectives will fall into that. As a result, I think the unit won’t lose its focus. But preparation for an assembly takes time! I like the students to be in control, which often takes a little bit more time even.
Performances – Oh dear! The big P! I love performances. Last year we had a whole-school end-of-year performance. It was great, but it took up an awful amount of time. The children practiced their songs and lines in class, then they had to come down for line-up time early, so they could practice the songs together, and then the proper rehearsals started a few weeks before the performance. It cut into the curriculum, but on the other hand it also met many drama and music objectives. It was a big job, and with a growing school, this could become harder to manage as a whole-school project in the future.
Parties – We invite parents in at the end of every unit. It is not a party, but I can see how we spend the last 2 hours of the day cleaning up, decorating one last time, preparing. Worth it, yes! But again, it costs times.
Decorating, art projects etc. should be authentic. While having an odd Christmas or Easter session, or even an art workshop with an artist is great, I prefer to keep art in context. This year we didn’t have the time to decorate! We were too busy with our UoI and then the reflection. The children did not even ask to decorate or do crafty stuff for Christmas, as they were too involved in their work.
My answer to the question is simple: Yes, it can disrupt the learning process, but we should try to make it authentic and support the learning process. Holidays are part of who we are, what we believe in and worth knowing about!