Christmas at Broomfield is the most wonderful time of the year. Like every family, we have our traditions and, just like at home, when the Christmas box comes down from the loft, all the memories come flooding back. As the days pass, the advent countdown begins and we unwrap the jewels of the season, like the presents from under the tree.
Like schools up and down the country, we are carefully navigating our way through these uncertain times and carrying on with every Broomfield tradition or adapting it as needed to meet the new demands for keeping our community safe.
Nothing can rival the sheer joy of the children as they don their Christmas jumpers and belt out a chorus of I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day, during registration. It’s a great opportunity for our pupils to see their teachers enjoying all the festive fun, just as they do.
Broomfield throws everything into our seasonal plays performed by our youngest children. There is never a dry eye in the house as Mary and Joseph (played by some of our Pre-Kindergarten children) are turned away at the inn! Each year group up to Year 2 produces their own special message about the spirit of giving, kindness and discovering the magic of Christmas. What joy each family experiences, when watching their small children give their best, after the energy they have put into practising lines, memorising the fabulous songs and learning to act with panache! And for the children, the warmth of their parents’ applause is a singular joy.
Yet for me, the really magical part of Christmas at Broomfield is the children’s simple love of giving. Each year we hold our Love in the Box assembly. The children pack a shoebox with thoughtful gifts to go to children in Eastern Europe who would otherwise not receive a present at Christmas. Our pupils adore it, and it also gives them a wonderful opportunity to show compassion to those less fortunate than themselves. It is a humbling lesson that amongst the gadgets and gear they may get from Santa, a simple bouncy ball can create the biggest of smiles in an underprivileged child.
Singing is in our DNA at Broomfield and I know that Christmas is in air when I hear Mrs Bou leading the children in singing carols. I’ve been here for 16 years and never tire of hearing Away in a Manger echoing down the corridors! We are very lucky that our Year 3 pupils are invited to take to the stage at the spectacular Kew Sparkle; a partnership linking business, local charities and residents together as Kew Village turns on its Christmas lights and celebrates the festive season with stalls, crafts and Santa.
We usually head off to the beautiful St Anne’s Church on Kew Green for our annual Carol Service, with our parents joining in the fun. Sadly. this year as Covid cases started rising again, we recorded the children singing in the Church and our Year 6 pupils reading the Nine Lessons. This way our families could enjoy a singalong at home and parents didn’t miss out on the event. The recording has gone to our friends at Cecil Court Care Home in Kew so they could enjoy some festive cheer as well.
Our Year 6 children and their parents joined us for Carols by Candlelight in the playground just before the end of term. This was a lovely way for us to celebrate one of the rites of passage for our oldest children, who will be having adventures in their new schools this time next year.
As we head off for the holidays, there’s just time for one more tradition – and it’s a Broomfield best. At the very last assembly, on the final day of term, the whole school comes together in the hall (or maybe in a few bubbles) listening out for a special sound, quiet reigns…. and then we hear it, the faint sound of a bell, slowly getting louder before Santa Claus strides in with his sack upon his back. The whole community – from the wide-eyed 3-year old to the more cynical Year 6er (not to mention a 50 year old headteacher!) is filled with hope, joy and love.
How lucky we are to be part of a Broomfield Christmas!
Merry Christmas from Broomfield and a very happy New Year.