This week was a great week for 'flourishing' - we saw every child from Pre-school to Year Six performing on stage in a series of events that made my heart swell with pride.
Our Nativity Play on Wednesday was a delight. Year Two children had composed their own retelling of the story of the first Christmas and spoke confidently while children from Reception and Year One acted the story out following their lead. It made the most hard hearted of us smile and brought a tear to the eye. Children from pre-school made an appearance too and charmed us with 'Twinkle Twinkle'. I was proud to be the head teacher of a school that could make such a calm, loving and inclusive Nativity show for parents and carers to enjoy.
On Thursday, Key Stage Two performed their Christmas Concert twice - they sang a range of seasonal songs, many of which were new to me, and children from Year Six recited poetry linked to Christmas. Highlights included a beautiful, confident performance on handbells of the 'Walking in the AIr' theme from 'The Snowman' and the wonderful poem 'The Jesus Room' which stopped me in my tracks at last years Christmas Concert.
Finally, on Friday, we had our second trip to the church of the school year. This was especially moving to me as it will be the Reverend Paul's last church service with the school before he moves on to his new parish in Cambridgeshire. He has been such a friend to the school, and to me personally, I shall be very sorry to see him go. Once again the children's singing was beautiful. I loved especially to hear 'O Little Town of Bethlehem' which has long been my favourite Christmas Carol and is now, even more so, in the new melody and arrangement that the children learned for the concert.
So many people have played a big part in making this week's events happen. I shan't manage to thank everyone but I have to pay special tribute to Miss Coleman and Miss Pollard for thier lovely work on the Nativity, Chloe Brooks-Warner and all the other members of the PTFA committee who volunteered time and effort to support the events and, especially, Mrs Armstrong who made a herculean effort to teach the children all the repertoire for the concert as well as training the Year Six pupils for the poetry recital and the hand bells. We are so very lucky to have her on the staff.
The Jesus Room by Christopher Woodland
The Jesus room is not a chapel
Or a church or a shrine
Or anything like that.
It is not even sacred ground
in town or garden.
The Jesus room is inside the head,
inside the heart, inside the body,
Inside the feelings, but no one knows
Quite where the exact location is.
It is not really a room at all
And the Jesus discovered there
Does not come care of religious dogma
Or some archbishop or priest
Or politican or minister
Or anybody like that.
Indeed when you go into the Jesus room
You will find no one there,
Only space… emptiness… energy.
You will, however, feel the vibration
If you are very still and quiet.
And as you tune in to the power of the place
You will sense a presence, a mystery,
You will hear the poetry of the Jesus room.
PTFA Christmas Fayre
Huge, huge thanks to Zoe and to everyone who made last weekend's Christmas Fayre such a success.
The grotto which Izzy, Anna and others somehow magicked out of our PE store was breathtaking, the refreshments were delicious and all the various stalls were well chosen and well run. It made me very happy to see people from all parts of the Chagford community come together to make this event happen. Quite unsentimentally, I thought of our school vision 'Community, Challenge, Care' and how I could see every aspect of that reflected in what was going on the hall.
The team raised more than £1000 on the day, this is money which will go straight to improving the quality and range of provision that we can offer our children - it genuinely makes the most enormous difference. In recent months, for example, the PTFA have funded the Woodland School sessions that our pupils have enjoyed so much, helped towards trips and visits for families where money is tight, furnished and equipped the redevelopment of what we used to call 'The Pancake Room' and now call 'The Nest' as a nurture hub and much, much more. There's a lot to celebrate about Chagford Primary and our hardworking, cheerful PTFA is a big part of that.
Christingle Service and Carols in the Square
The Reverend Paul has asked me to mention two events to you all.
The Christingle Service tomorrow (Saturday 17th) at 4 p.m. in the church of St Michael the Archangel will be fun and inclusive way to encourage your children to reflect on the meaning of Christmas. All families are very welcome to come along to make a Christingle together, everything you need will be provided and help will be on hand. The event won't last more than half an hour. If you don't know what a Christingle is, or have never made one before, this is your chance to find out!
Carols in the Square will run from 6:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Come along and gather outside The Pepperpot to sing lots of old favourites. If you play an instrument do bring it along and join in - guitars, mandolins, melodeons, concertinas, violins, clarinets and everything that can make a joyful noise is welcome.
I have been assured that all the carols will be in 'easy keys' so I shall bring my D/G melodeon along and a pocketful of harmonicas and add to the wonderful din of a community singing and playing together.
Thank you to Helpful Holidays and to Astor's Bookshop
Mr Finch had a very happy time visiting Astor's Bookshop in its new location in the old NatWest Bank building on Thursday. Our friends at 'Helpful Holidays' had donated £250s worth of book tokens to us as a 'thank you' for the children's designs for their calendar.
I was able to buy every class a pile of brand new books to add to their book corners. These were gift wrapped and opened on Friday to 'oohs' and 'ahs' in almost every case. There's nothing quite like unwrapping a brand new book with its wonderful 'new book smell' to help build a love of reading.
A massive thank you to Helpful Holidays for this - £250 is a good deal of money and we are very grateful indeed for it.
Thanks to Astor's for letting me strip bare the children's section on the same day as the late night shopping - I hope it was ok to see all the beautiful stock waltz out of the door and into the boot of my car! If you haven't checked the new shop out yet, do go and have a look - it's a lovely new space for the town.
Thanks also here to the benefactor/s who donated us a similar sum through The Bookery in Crediton, allowing us to buy books for some of our pupils individually. Working on that project with The Bookery was one of my very happiest tasks this week, and one which will make a real difference to a good number of children this Christmas.
A community food project to help local people
Chagford Pantry is a new community-led food project that is here for anyone who is struggling or facing difficulty in the local area. It’s run by the community, for the community. Anyone can use it, and anyone can donate food or funds. This Christmas and New Year we will also be delivering 40 or more hampers for residents. THANK YOU to those of you who have donated food, money or time to support our Pantry.
There are two Pantry locations – one at the back of Chagford Church (open every day 9am – 7pm) and during term time, one at our brilliant Primary School.
To use the Pantry:
You don’t need to be referred to access food, we invite anyone who is struggling and needs food to come and help yourself to some cupboard essentials. If you or someone you know needs help but can’t get to the Pantry please contact: email@example.com.
We would love donations of non-perishable, in-date food (as well as sanitary products and pet food). You can drop off food donations during opening hours at Chagford Church or you can donate funds for Chagford Pantry here: https://bit.ly/chagfordpantry
Chagford Pantry is a joint initiative between St Michael the Archangel, Chagford and Chagford Primary School, with support from local people and businesses. If you’d like to be involved, drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org