Suggestions for Celebrating the 100th Day of School

Dear Educators,


You may have read a recent letter from three national organizations about transforming “Dress Like a 100-Year-Old Day” into a different kind of event: one that celebrates centenarians instead of parodying them or reducing them to stereotypes.


The Pioneer Network, LeadingAge, and The Eden Alternative® are working to make the world a better place to grow old in. We’re using this letter to catalyze the first nationwide direct action against ageism—and we’re asking for your help. We know you’re busy, so we’re collecting ideas for ways to observe the 100th day of school that celebrate long life—and are fun for young learners!


Here are a few ideas, and scroll down for more below...


★Ask kids to dress similar to the way kids dressed 100 years ago.


★Invite a centenarian to speak to your class (either in person or via Skype). Ask them about what school was like when they were a kid, what games or sports they played, what kind of chores they did, what foods they like best, what changes they’ve seen, and their hopes for the world. 


★Take a field trip to a nearby aging services organization (use to find one). Do an engaging craft or other activity with elders, and talk about what it’s like to be 100, or nearly 100 years old.


★Gather stories about older people and share them with your class. Students’ families may have stories, or you can pull from books like If I Live to Be 100: Lessons from the Centenarians or If I Live to Be 100: The Wisdom of Centenarians.


For inspiration and more info, check out these websites:


➜ Turn “Dress Like a 100-Year-Old Day” into action against ageism


➜ Old-Lady Day


➜ On teaching children about ageism


➜ Lesson for middle and high school students


➜ Using picture books to teach about ageism


➜ Ageism in children’s literature


➜ Old School: a clearinghouse for all things anti-ageism


Book Tower

Several years ago I blogged about this objectionable practice and suggested teachers might rather gather 100 books into an impressive tower in the classroom—preferably beautiful picture books. The teacher could share that each book represents a year in the life of a person who has enjoyed 100 years of life. The pages represent the variety of experiences and events in that full life.

My website at A is for Aging shares reviews of picture books that avoid negative age stereotypes and resource lists.
The blog post I mentioned is at this link—


 Instead, try “Imagine YOUR life at 100 Day” – now, that would be good. What will you have done; what will you still be doing; how thoughtful will you be; how many children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will you have? How do you hope to be remembered by your friends and family?

Skills and Crafts

Lisa on comment

Might this be a more positive alternative activity? Learn a skill or craft that an elderly person would be more likely to know. I think some “stereotypes” have some truth behind them, like often feeling cold. So learn to knit the shawl or quilt the lap robe. 100 years ago, children began to learn these (and many other) skills at very early ages.

100 Objects

Our schools have kids bring a collection of 100 things, it can be 100 of anything.