We are focusing on the value of Friendship this term. As we have been separated from our friends for so long, and as restrictions continue to ease, it is a great opportunity to remind ourselves of the importance of good friends, how to be a good friend and what Jesus teaches us about friendship. We will also reflect on Pentecost and the significance of this event for Christians all over the world. We will read stories from the Bible about friends (such as Mary and Martha, Paul and Barnabus and Peter and Jesus) and learn how other religions also celebrate friendship. The children will also use their Spiritual Journals to reflect on how the stories they hear in Collective Worships can be applied in their own lives.
This week, we heard the story of Paul and Barnabus, who were best friends that travelled around Syria helping build churches and teaching about Jesus. We learnt that Barnabus' name means 'The Encourager' which Paul really needed as many people were afraid of him. We thought about all the ways we need to encourage others. To help the children think what it means to encourage others, some brave volunteers offered to show off their hula-hooping skills, even if they weren't very good, and we all joined in with cheering them on and offering words of encouragement! Through the rest of the week, the children are going to try and earn the nickname 'The Encourager' by their friends and teachers and listen out to when their teachers show encouragement to them.
Peter and Jesus' friendship was the focus of our Monday worship this week. We looked at how playdough can be an example of a friendship - we can spend a long time creating something special, only for a mistake to ruin it and make it go wrong. This is like friendships - we can be friends with others for a long time and put energy into creating fantastic friendships, only for an unkind word or a mean facial expression to upset it and cause it to go wrong. We learnt that Jesus was Peter's best friend but, in his time of need when he was on trial, Peter denied him three times and said he didn't know him. Jesus gives the perfect example of what it means to be a forgiving friend and, later when he has risen from the dead, asks Peter three times if Peter loves him. Peter got three opportunities to right his mistake and this is how we should be as friends - forgiving and ready to make up. We passed playdough around and pushed our fingerprints into it, showing how we are all unique and special, and this is what makes us different to others and helps us be such good friends.
Term 4 - Forgiveness and Hope
This term, our values are Forgiveness and Hope. As we reflect on what a strange year this has been, we have never been in more in need of hope for the future. By also focusing on forgiveness in the lead up to Easter, we are reminded of the forgiveness that Jesus offers us freely by dying on the cross and rising again, three days later. Rev Julie is putting together and Easter Garden in the church yard and, with the help of the children who will visit it in their classes in the run-up to Easter, they will create a spring garden, reminding us all of the hope that is to come. The children will write prayers on doves (a symbol of peace) and attach these to the word HOPE which our fantastic Site Manager, Mr Grey, has created out of wire. Look out later in the term for some photos!
This week, we read an acrostic poem all about forgiveness and reminded ourselves that true forgiveness is 'wiping the slate clean' and starting again. Jesus calls us to turn away from the things we do that are wrong and trust in Him for forgiveness and a fresh start. Our spiritual Journal task was to write a 'TSP prayer'! But instead of thinking of teaspoons, this prayer helps us focus on saying Thank you, Sorry and Please for our lives. Here is a lovely example from one of the children.
This week, Rev Julie, with the help of Ed Pascoe (Youth Worker at Frant Church), we have been looking at the meaning of Lent and how small acts of kindness can have a BIG impact. We heard about the story of a small boy who offered his small lunch (just five small loaves of bread and two fish!) to Jesus to perform a miracle with and ended up feeding 5000...with 12 baskets left over! His example of love, strength and faith in Jesus is a good reminder of our school values and how we can try and do small acts of kindness in love and strength and have faith that God can use them for BIG results. We also paused to think about the charity we are linked with, Starfish Malawi, for their day of prayer for Africa. We were humbled in thinking about how much we have to be thankful for and prayed for their safety and protection from the virus.
This week, we learnt about the story of Noah's Ark and how God sent the symbol of the rainbow as a promise that the world will never flood again. We were reminded of God's forgiveness and that when we see a rainbow, we are also reminded of the hope we have that God will always keep his promises. In our Spiritual Journals, we thought about what Rainbows mean to us - particularly over the last few months as they have been used as a reminder of our wonderful NHS and the hard work they have done to protect us and treat those who are unwell with coronavirus. The children designed their own rainbows to suit their personality and wrote about what they are hopeful for.
We have begun focusing on the Easter story in our Collective Worships this week. We looked at Palm Sunday and how the arrival of Jesus into Jerusalem was such a cause of such celebration for those who had been waiting years for their Messiah. We thought about what we were hopeful for in the future and the children were really reflective in their thinking - a lot of their hopes involved no social distancing and being able to hug and play with all their friends! In our Spiritual Journal time, we wrote our hopes onto leaves and decorated them to hang on our very own Tree of Hope! We will share some of our hopes during future collective worships across the term and include them in our prayers.
We read the story of 'A Sad Night' which helped us retell the story of the last supper. Our story ended with Jesus being led away to face trial for the things he was accused of. We talked about the significance of the bread and wine that made up the meal of The Passover and linked this learning back to our knowledge of when the Israelites escaped Egypt under Moses' instructions from God. From this story, we were reminded that what we want to happen, sometimes doesn't happen in the way we wanted - sometimes it is better! This links to our value of 'Hope'. The Jews had been waiting and hoping for a King and some were disappointed when Jesus arrived on a donkey. BUT, even though this wasn't the king they imagined, He was ultimately better and more powerful than even their dreams as he defeated death and took the blame for all our sins.
Term 3 - Truthfulness
This term, our value is Truthfulness. Over the next six weeks, we will be reading a variety of bible stories that help teach us the importance of being truthful. We will learn about Jacob and Esau, Jonah and Saul of Damascas as well as reading 'Who made me?' by Shirley Tulloch and learning about Saint Lucy who lived in the Roman Empire when Jesus was alive. Truthfulness is part of our Golden Rules at St Mary's - 'We are honest and think before we act' and an important value for the children to learn more about, using Jesus as our example.
Term 2 - Generosity
This term, our value is Generosity. We will be learning about God’s generosity by reading the Parable of the Great Feast and finding out about The Widow and the Oil. We will also read ‘The Rainbow Fish’ to help show us how we can learn to be more generous and then use familiar characters in the Christmas story to link the miracle of Jesus’ birth with our value.
On Wednesday 11th November, the whole school paused to visit the church grave yard and place crosses at a war memorial grave. The children, along with Rev Julie, went with their teachers to have a two-minute silence to remember those who fought for peace and for the long-lasting peace we are fortunate enough to have in our country. Mr Gray also put a wreath on the memorial in the village with a message which some Year 6s wrote, in memory of the bravery and courage of the soldiers.
We linked Remembrance Day in with our value this term of Generosity and Willow Class thought about this during their Spiritual Journal time in school. They focused on how soldiers in WW1 and 2 showed generosity and bravery by fighting for us to be able to live in peace.
This week, Maple Class had a class discussion about how to be generous and created this acrostic poem of all of their ideas during their Spiritual Journal time. They linked this with the national initiatives during Anti-Bullying week Rocco explained that being generous is about sharing ‘as much as you can’ and Jessica described generosity as ‘being really, really kind’.