Book Week is just around the corner. Which means it’s almost time for our children to dress up as their favourite character, strutting in front of their schoolmates.
Many parents and teachers adore the annual book week parade. But not me.
Curious as to why, this year I’ve explored where my resistance comes from.
There are four factors :
Sixty one dollars and eighty three cents. That’s the total of how much I’ve spent on the costumes for this year’s annual book week parade.
That’s sixty one dollars and eighty three cents that would have been better spent on travel, our council rates bill or some new books to read-aloud with my children.
In Australia we throw away 6,000 kilos of clothes every 10 minutes. And even though many of us donate what we no longer wear to charity, lots of it still ends up in landfill.
I’m much more mindful than I used to be about how much clothing I buy, purchasing only what will be worn often (Courtney Carver Project 333 is brilliant by the way!). But the t-shirt that we’re going to sew wings onto and those leggings that have already split…these are items that are unlikely to be worn ever again.
I don’t feel comfortable with this fact, especially after watching ‘The True Cost on Netflix. Have you seen it?
I may not like spending money on a book week parade. But ultimately I can afford to.
Some parents don’t have enough money in the kitty to spend on costumes or props. Housing and feeding their family is their top priority (as it should be).
And others may not engage in school life, unable to support their children’s involvement in the event.
It breaks my heart when I see children in school uniform on dress up day, walking embarrassedly behind their strutting classmates. True, some may have chosen not to dress up. But for others it may not have been a choice at all.
Dressing up can be a fun and engaging school celebration. Yet it needs to be accessible to all.
This year will be my first book week parade missed, being that Friday’s are now one of my teaching days. Seeing everyone’s smiles and playfulness on the big day gives me a moment to pause happily, pondering if perhaps it’s worth it after all.
With book week looming, here are a few tips from me to you, for being inclusive, money savvy and environmentally conscious.
To be inclusive:
- don’t force children who aren’t dressed up to walk in the parade with their classmates (unless they want to). This can bring attention and shame to their circumstances.
- provide the time and materials for children to create their own book week props or costume within class time. It could be as simple as a mask that relates to the class book you’ve recently read.
To save you money and energy:
- avoid done-for-you costumes, as they tend to be more costly
- encourage your children to take ownership of choosing who they’re going as and what they need to play the part
- Set a budget and stick to it (I seriously failed with that bit in bold this year)
To be environmentally conscious:
- Try buying props, clothing or costumes second hand
- Only buy what you need, making do with what you already have where possible
- Pass your costume onto someone else for next year’s parade, once book week comes to a close