Published: 11 December 2008 at 10:52
With Christmas approaching, the annual seasonal clash is also on its way. A study led by Professor Theodora Papatheodorou from the Faculty of Education at Anglia Ruskin University has shown that parents and teachers have differing views about perpetuating the Father Christmas story with young children and this could potentially create tension in schools across the country between now and the end of term.
While Father Christmas is not part of the National Curriculum, he is still used as a tool to drive letter writing and numeracy skills. In the current politically correct environment, however, teachers have become increasingly concerned about initiating colourful discussions about Santa. This is despite the fact that Father Christmas has little foundation in religion.
In contrast, parents surveyed during the course of this study felt that mystical figures such as Santa, Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny are all part of the magic of childhood and do not see this as a moral dilemma. As one parent explained
The average age children find out about the reality of the story is between 7-9 years and the revelation in most instances (but not always) is easily acceptable. The majority of parents surveyed for the study revealed that the joy, wonder and magic of Father Christmas overrides concerns about conceit and the possible risk of losing credibility.
Professor Theodora Papatheodorou who led this study says,