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From Kwanzaa to Diwali, Kindergartners Learn About World Holidays

Bedford Road School students studied up on global celebrations this week.

While kindergartners freely spoke about lighting the menorah or writing a wish-list to Santa Claus, many were puzzled by the foreign traditions they were asked to embrace as part of 's "Holidays Around the World" event on Wednesday.

"I celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah," commented Clara.

But as kindergarten teacher Kimberly Vecchiariello explained to students as she read from My First Kwanzaa Book, many holidays have similar elements—including spending time with family, exchanging gifts and cooking special meals.

In Vecchiariello's classroom, students each created their own muhindi, or corn, representing themselves.

People who celebrate the African-based holiday of Kwanzaa "put one ear of corn on the table for every child in their family," she explained.

Each kindergarten class rotated rooms to learn about Ramadan, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Chinese New Year and Diwali.

"We explain that everyone celebrates different things," said Deanna Nola, who supervised a Diwali-themed activity.

Elena Garcia hosted the Christmas classroom, which involved assembling a picture of a Christmas tree.

Students were able to decorate their own trees with lights, ornaments and presents.

"My favorite part is opening the presents," said Charlie, before his class sang-a-long to We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

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