Don’t cancel Christmas! Some COVID-safe tips for schools

Ben Brown

A former primary DHT, Ben now supports Schools and Headteachers through the Education Roundtables network. CPD and conversations that solve the challenges that they face.

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Christmas is a huge part of this half-term. While preparing for it can be stressful, it contributes a great deal to the school community and wellbeing. Nativity plays, Christmas lunches, cards, pantomime visits, carol services, parties, discos, fetes, staff nights out are all difficult to do under COVID-19 restrictions, and there is a genuine fear from some staff, children and parents that Christmas could be cancelled.

No one wants anyone to miss out on some of the greatest memories of childhood. In my case it was watching my son pick his nose as one of the angels, and then my daughter’s moment of triumph as the loudest narrator the school had ever heard, making Mary jump out of her skin.

So, what are the alternatives? What is possible?

No room at the inn

Social distancing may mean that we can’t all be together in one place, but it doesn’t mean we can’t hold a nativity - it just means you will have to record it. Different classes or bubbles can take on different roles and produce something amazing. Alright, it may not be as prone to those wonderful moments when it all goes slightly pear-shaped, but with some careful editing a fabulous production can be created. 

Sending out an invitation to attend through a private “live” performance streamed into children’s homes means we can all watch it together. Perhaps consider setting up a temporary Facebook group to allow parents to chat and communicate while the performance is taking place. Find ways to share the experience and make it interactive. One school is sending home packets of hot chocolate so everyone can enjoy a mug at the same time.

It’s behind you!

Oh no it isn’t… you get the picture. If nativities are possible, so too are pantomimes. You could perform one yourselves, the same way as the nativity, or you could find one of many workshops and theatres that are offering an online pantomime experience. Beamed into schools the excitement of Dames, Villains and some of the best terrible jokes ever uttered can be experienced by all.

It doesn’t have to be a silent night

While singing indoors is frowned on due to the spread of COVID, carol services are still possible outside. One school will be giving each class the chance to sing a couple of carols outside around the Christmas tree. Another opportunity for some creative video editing and a performance to remember can be created. 

Events | Bishop Wilson C. of E Primary School

A keepsake for the ages

Creative use of space, time and some video magic mean that Christmas doesn’t have to be cancelled. Best of all, you have a ready-made souvenir to send to all the children that participate. No more filming through crowds of people, shoulder cramp, fears of the battery dying or the tone-deaf singing from the enthusiastic parent stood behind you ruining the ambience.

You don’t have to miss out the mistakes either: End the video with a series of outtakes and bloopers and each parent can have those embarrassing moments ready to show when their children get hitched.

 Looking for more resources to support your teaching and learning? Check out the best education technology resources on our sister platform EdTech Impact.

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