Columbus Day

Dear Families,

We have finished our first full month of school and we are on to October!  It is a very exciting time at GRCDC- many classes have enjoyed field trips to ArtPrize, 3rd Grade attended Immerse at the Public Museum, and the whole school has started our Community Morning Meetings every other Monday.  Our school is truly a vibrant and bustling place to be right now!


With October, comes the federal holiday of Columbus Day.  This day is commemorated the second Monday of each October and many schools and businesses may be closed.  Along with being a federal holiday, Columbus Day is considered a holiday in many states and municipalities.  On the flip side, many communities have marked the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day. Indigenous Peoples Day is meant to be a counter-celebration of Native American peoples and their history and culture and was first changed in South Dakota in 1989.


Our school community has committed to the Image of being whole, in relationship, and diverse.  Part of honoring our diverse community is ensuring that our children feel valued and represented in their identities. Part of the role of schools is to teach history and social studies. Christopher Columbus, like many historical figures, has a mythology about him, as well historical facts.  Children are able to wrestle with complicated ideas, but in this case, it isn’t just about ideas. We have children in our community and at our school who identify as Native, and it is important that they feel safe and seen and know that we do not celebrate a holiday that represents the violent colonization of Indigenous Peoples in the Western Hemisphere.  Instead, we, as a learning community, can consider the complicated history and symbolism of Christopher Columbus.


Here are some resources for thinking and talking about Columbus’ legacy with your children:

Teaching Christopher Columbus: Mythbusters– National History Education Clearinghouse

9 Resources for Teaching the Truth about Columbus– Indian Country Today

Reconsider Columbus Day– Teaching Tolerance

The Columbus Day Problem– Harvard Graduate School of Education

How to Talk to Kids about America Before Columbus- Time Magazine


Part of our educational philosophy as a Reggio-inspired school is approaching children as strong, rich in potential, and powerful.  Our children are more than capable of understanding the “real” stories within history, as opposed to those many of us learned in school.  We just have to have the courage and the knowledge to do so.


Most sincerely,