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A very merry COVID Christmas with the Pre-School

We all know Christmas will be different this year, for the Pre-School the main difference is NO CHRISTMAS PLAY! Shock horror! Every year we practice a narrated play with singing whilst our children’s families watch followed by a communal festive lunch and our hugely popular Christmas fundraising raffle.

This year we have had to think outside the (Christmas) box. This led the staff to ask the question.. ‘Who really benefits from a Christmas play?’ The families who come to watch it was our first answer, they enjoy the traditional songs and to see the children looking adorable in their outfits. The staff all really enjoy the challenge of writing a play that will hold everyone attention whilst being achievable with a group of under 5s, not forgetting a strong moral backstory.

This year we questioned what do young children get out of a Christmas play? As a Pre-School we strongly believe in child-led learning, our practitioners are there as scaffolders, enabling children to access opportunities to learn and encouraging children to follow their interests.

Child-led play has an important role in children's learning and development, because children explore and learn from their own thoughts and ideas through the freedom and creativity that child-initiated play enables.

How can we ensure Christmas at Pre-School is child-led when many of our children don’t actually remember Christmas?

We asked the children ‘What is Christmas?’

‘Presents!’ ‘A big big Christmas tree!’ ‘Father Christmas’ ‘Reindeer fly.’

From these answers we organised play opportunities for present wrapping, we had a huge Christmas tree donated from Julian at The Dove Cote Garden in Westdean for the children to decorate and undecorate as much as they wanted to, we introduced Father (and Mother) Christmas dressing up and role play and listened to and sung lots of Christmas songs without the pressure of everyone joining in all the time and in time.

Instead of adult-led Christmas cards the staff have allowed the children to chose their own decorations and paints to make Christmas cards and tree decorations to take home this year.

Sadly Father Christmas couldn’t visit us as usual to give out his gifts of festive books, instead when he visited he looked through the window and saw everyone playing so nicely he left the gifts under the tree outside.

We have still had lots of traditional Pre-School activities, we have filmed the children enjoying Christmas fun and shared with the parents, we had a lovely visit to St Andrews Church, learning about the Christmas story and why baby Jesus isn’t in the manger just yet…

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