Pajama Day is one of my favorite days of the year. Sitting at the dinner table last night, still in my pajamas, I had to explain the day to Gavin. He couldn’t understand why anyone would want to show others their pajamas, and said it never would have worked for him, taking a Dublin city bus to school. His Irish accent still strong (as it gets when he talks about home), he concluded, “It’s very American.”
Yes, Pajama Day is very American. It originated in the American tradition of having “Spirit” days at schools – many schools have one a month, of various silly themes, like backwards day, crazy hair day, dress-up as your teacher day, etc. The idea behind spirit days is to give students a chance to be creative well as to build community by all taking part in something different, while not altering the schedule of the day. We understand that too many activities like that can be cumbersome and lose the point, so we have limited it to a tried and true favorite.
Not all of our global citizen community at INTL* embraces Pajama Day, but I can tell you that the elementary school students love it. It is a chance to do something silly and different while still going about the daily life of learning at school. It is a chance to share something that feels personal, yet is simple and not threatening. It is yet another way that we can take a moment to alter our perspective and look at the world through a different lens (or different clothes).
Yes, I will admit that I love it in part because I am cozy and comfy all day, but I also love the face-covering smiles of the students as they see their friends and teachers in various robes, jammies, and slippers. I love passing out hot chocolate and the thrill that the students have in sharing a special treat of a simple warm beverage. These moments do build community, as I experienced firsthand with all of the smiles, conversations, hugs, and heartfelt thank-yous I received yesterday.
*In 2020, the International School of the Peninsula (ISTP) formally changed its name to Silicon Valley International School (INTL) to better reflect its bilingual programs, location, and international values.