Lesson planning

10 March 2023

How to teach calendar-themed days in primary school

Melanie McGhee

School Support Officer

There are lots of exciting themed days and calendar events in the academic year. But how to know which events to celebrate and include in your curriculum? In this article, we share the top 10 themed days to incorporate in your primary curriculum (with links to themed day lesson planning and teaching resources too!)

What are the important calendar events for primary schools?

Calendar events span all the way from famous change-makers’ birthdays to month-long awareness focuses (like Black History Month and LGBTQ+ month). Awareness of these important dates gives children the opportunity to learn about historical events that shaped the future and can help them understand themselves and the world around them.

The beauty of calendar events or themed days is the flexibility possible in teaching about them. Some calendar day events can be studied over a whole day, whereas some smaller events with a pastoral focus can be explored in PSHE lessons, a registration slot or as a topical whole-school assembly to inspire the children in your primary school.

But, with hundreds of school theme days possible, how do you keep track of what events fall in each month? Using a free downloadable school events calendar can help sync these celebrations with your school’s busy timetable.

Why do we teach themed days in primary school?

Celebrating calendar events helps to encourage recognition of others’ lifestyles, cultures and history. Your school should tailor the school events calendar to fit the needs of your setting. Ensure your curriculum reflects the diversity of all pupils, making sure all children feel nurtured, celebrated and included in the school community. Themed days are one of many ways your school can promote equality, diversity and inclusion in addition to enriching your curriculum.

Top 10 calendar events to study in primary school for 2023

  1. World Book Day
    World Book Day is a favourite in primary schools, a themed day that celebrates different authors and sparks literary inspiration. World Book Day offers a fantastic opportunity to model reading for pleasure and can be incorporated into your English curriculum.
  2. Black History Month

    Black History Month is celebrated throughout October each year; whole-school assembly ideas about Black History Month can cover well-known historic events that highlight the importance of equality and bravery.
  3. National Storytelling Week

    Stories are such an important aspect of primary school, you may want to think outside of the box for engaging National Storytelling Week ideas. Consider involving your school’s families by inviting a parent, grandparent, or important person to read a snippet of their favourite book with the class. This can be via a parent visit to the classroom or could be virtual, pre-recorded stories from parents can be enjoyed any time throughout the day.
  4. British Science Week 2023

    British Science Week for 2023 is in March, and provides an opportunity to explore many STEM lesson ideas with your KS1 and KS2 children. Each year has a theme and this year’s is ‘Connections’. Children as young as those in EYFS can explore floating and sinking through play whilst the year 6 children can ponder the question, ‘Can we see sound?
  5. World Art Day 2023

    World Art Day 2023 is in April. It is a learning opportunity to explore how art can be a vehicle for learning about diversity and society. Encourage the children to study the artistic history and culture behind masquerade traditions in Africa like the Fulani, Igbo and Yoruba peoples.
  6. Diwali in EYFS

    Beginning in EYFS, encourage your pupils to explore the beauty of the Diwali celebration by creating their own Mehndi design. This valuable celebration can be incorporated into your RE, geography or pastoral curricula, ensuring all feel welcome and included in addition to fostering an awareness of cultural diversity.
  7. Easter card making

    Easter is an occasion that can be used to celebrate the Easter Story within Christianity or recognise the changing of seasons; Easter cards can be made to appreciate nature. Children can learn about how people may celebrate Easter, including the religious significance for some families. Consider linking an Easter craft project with recycling awareness by using recycled materials to house an Easter egg in a creative way.
  8. Hanukkah

    Jewish festivals surrounding Hanukkah are often focused on during late November and December in primary schools. Learning about the four Jewish festivals and creating a class calendar to recognise when each festival begins and ends can introduce Hanukkah at KS1. Celebrating the Festival of Lights can help bring your RE curriculum to life and enable pupils to understand the relevance of religion in the modern world.
  9. Christmas sensory story

    Christmas is a popular festive celebration in primary schools, where children in KS1 can learn about the Christmas story and all pupils (especially SEND pupils) can enjoy a sensory story of a Christmas Carol.
  10. World Maths Day 2023

    World Maths Day (WMD) 2023, which this year has a theme of ‘Mathematics for Everyone!’, is in March, celebrates all things numeracy in primary schools. A day for open-ended problem solving, teamwork and exploration of maths theories. Challenge your high-attaining KS2 pupils to explore some of the world’s famous maths problems.

Download our free calendar for lesson ideas

Easily find teaching resources for calendar days with our free calendar. It's packed with key events throughout 2023 with direct links to adaptable teaching resources to help speed up your planning.

If you need help subscribing to the calendar on your email or calendar app, read our help article.

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