Philippine Christmas Traditions: a Unit Study

I’ve been considering the unit study approach for our homeschool since I noticed that I was getting more and more frazzled with the prep part of teaching. And this started when DS started Senior Kindergarten (Prep) this year. I ordered the book by Valerie Bendt called “Unit Studies Made Easy” and I’m reading it now.

I was encouraged by what I read and so I made up this simple and brief unit study to teach my kids about our native Christmas traditions (and secretly to learn more about them myself!)

This is my first attempt at creating a unit study and I hope we have a lot of fun with it. We’ll be starting it tomorrow.

Unit Study – Philippine Christmas Traditions (Pre-K to Grade 1)

This unit study will be an overview of popular Christmas traditions in the Philippines and aims to introduce the names and history of the traditions. It is designed to be completed in 2 to 3 days, preferably before Christmas Day (December 25).

The unit study will include the following:

1. Music: 1 popular Christmas song

The children will listen to 2 or 3 popular Christmas songs and choose a favorite song to sing to. A drawing can be made of what the music makes them feel or think of. The finished artwork can be presented to the rest of the family and/or relatives during the Christmas Eve celebrations.

Song choices:

Sa May Bahay Ang Aming Bati/ Mano po Ninong Mano po Ninang:

Ang Pasko ay Sumapit:

2. Food: 1 recipe from a dish traditionally sold or served during Christmas season: “puto bumbong”

The children will read the recipe and learn Filipino words for the special ingredients. The children will be allowed to observe how “puto bumbong” is traditionally cooked on a street stall through video: and/or by observing it being done at a street stall.

(I would like to make it at home but not this week).

3. Events: 2 unique Christmas traditions: the Catholic “Simbang Gabi” and the family “Noche Buena”

The children will read about the “Simbang Gabi” and the “Noche Buena” and look at artwork that depict these traditions (the Pan de Manila paper bags can be used for this).


Reading Selection: Simbang Gabi (p43-47 We The Filipinos Grade 4 by Consolacion Cristobal et al, Alemar Phoenix Publishing House 1977)

4. Art: 1 popular artwork: the “Parol”

The children will look at a traditional “parol” and learn how it is made. The activity will also include the biblical inspiration for the “parol”.


Video 1 (9 minutes in English):

Video 2 (4 minutes in Tagalog):

5. Project: To tie all the lessons together, the children can make their own story book or story board from what they learned about Philippine Christmas traditions. In the storybook they can draw, write or narrate (and the teacher writes it down) how it makes them feel or think about being a Filipino and of Philippine Christmas traditions. The story book or story board can be presented with the artwork from Item 1 (Christmas song) to the family and relatives.

I’ll update and refine this unit study after we go through with it…

UPDATE: Here is what we came up with during our Unit Study.


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