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Keith’s Corner: Entry 17: Christmas

In a festive diary entry, Keith and the children have lots of fun with Christmas-themed activities – not forgetting those all-important Christmas treats!

Christmas movement and dance 

The children watched a ballet performance of Tchaikovsky’s Christmassy Nutcracker Suite and then performed their own dance routine to the music. We have some budding ballet stars in the school! 

We’ve been developing our approach to movement and dance recently at Anglia School. Something we’ve learnt is that young children can improve their self-control through group dance activities. When moving around in a group, the children come to realize that they need to work together to achieve the best results. The idea is that this new sense of self-control, and working with and considering others, is transferrable to other areas. For example, with greater self-control, they will find it easier to share toys with other children. This is still a work in progress but we’re having a great deal of educational fun in the process. 

Star positions 

We got our children to role-play being stars in the night sky in our run-up to the festive season. 

Christmas storytime 

We try and find threads through all our activities to create continuity for the children. To tie in with our activities around the Nutcracker ballet, we read the story it is based on, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by ETA Hoffmann. The children ask where the Mouse King is, turning the pages in anticipation as they listen to the story. 

Another favourite of ours is Father Christmas Needs a Wee by Nicholas Allan. This wonderful story has the children roaring with laughter as Santa is desperately trying to get the presents delivered, whilst drinking and eating the treats left out for him with an increasing need to visit the loo! Does he make it? You’ll have to read the book to find out! 

Christmas crafts 

We focused on the tradition of the Christmas tree this week. The children talked about their ideal gifts. They cut out pictures from old magazines and brochures, sticking them onto a sheet of paper to create a lovely collage of presents under their very own Christmas tree. 

Still on the topic of the Christmas tree, each year we get our children to make all the decorations for the tree. It’s much more fun than buying decorations and the children are very proud of their creations and enjoy seeing them hanging on the Anglia School tree in the window.

The children made shiny silver and golden stars, and many other things besides, to hang in the tree. 

One of the benefits of doing arts and crafts activities is the quality of the interactions between the children, as well as between the teachers and the children, while they work. There is so much natural language repetition that the children very quickly absorb key instructional language and make it their own. It’s quite natural to hear a child come out with ‘Give me a marker’ without ever having been explicitly taught the phrase. 

My favourite craft activity this Christmas is toilet-roll Rudolphs. These fabulous little works of art are so easy to make and they look tremendous. Don’t throw away your loo rolls – make things with them! 

All the children at Anglia School know the words to the song Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer from beginning to end. One of our secrets is this: we sing while we work! If you were to walk by the window and peep in, you would probably spy us singing along while making something. 

Christmas treats 

We like to make things – it’s as simple as that. And, naturally, you can’t learn about Christmas without making Christmas cookies! 

Finally, our children get out the tea sets and have a Christmas tea party to celebrate. 

Merry Christmas, everyone. And a happy new year.

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