14 December 2016
The commercialism of Christmas seems to start earlier each year, provoking the perennial pester power! Yet in recent years, there has been a refreshing change of attitude by some of the well-known shops and supermarkets who seem to be tapping into the highly emotive spirit of togetherness and kindness in their advertising, as opposed to a particular product. The epic 3-minute blockbusters reinforce the act of giving selflessly or doing a good deed for someone as the principal message, which can only be a good thing.
Random acts of kindness are just as, if not more important than, the gifts themselves. This will be recognised at Mark Reading with the presentation of The De Coubertin Award for the very first time. This award takes inspiration from the medal occasionally presented after the Olympic Games for competitors embodying the true essence of the games and acts of selflessness.
It costs nothing to give a helping hand, or a smile, or words of encouragement. We often speak of the ‘well rounded pupil’, meaning a child is taught other qualities in addition to the general curriculum. The Croft’s family ethos and Christian based philosophy are the bedrock of everything else we do, and it pleases me that our pupils possess an innate ability to demonstrate compassion and kindness.
These virtues are reinforced in class and other activities, subliminally or otherwise, from the youngest pupils upwards. The pinnacle for many pupils is to aspire to become a Year 6 Peer Supporter, the epitome of these qualities. Peer Supporters help pupils in the playground in all manner of ways, from rushing over if someone hurts themselves, to seeking out children who have no one to play with and helping them to join in games with others. We also have a buddy system for pupils new to the school to help them find their way in the school day and to help make friends.
Croft pupils often have a smile on their faces and a joy in their hearts. They love what they do in and out of lessons and it clearly shows. As the Michaelmas Term draws to a close, the pupils experience joy in many ways, such as watching Pre-Prep pupils in their Christmas plays, by the excitement and happiness of joining in the festivities and games at Christmas at The Croft, by tucking into Christmas lunch, by celebrating awards given at Mark Reading, and by absorbing the magical moments of the Christingle Service and Carol Service. They share these moments together and build a memory bank of happiness.
During a recent assembly, I discussed a variety of Christmas traditions with the children. These ranged from the Legend of the Christmas Spider, a story from Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, to kissing under the mistletoe. When I asked them, “What do you expect to find on your table on Christmas day that is not normally there – but a turkey is not the answer I’m looking for?”, naturally the first answer was, of course, Brussel sprouts, swiftly followed by candles and a variety of others. I was, however, hoping for the response, ‘Christmas Crackers’ and I was left lost for words when my final volunteer proudly stated, “a knife and fork!”. Oh the simple things in life are clearly what Christmas is all about, and you can’t put a price on that!
I wish you and your family a very happy Christmas!