Dear Parents and Children,
I want to thank so many of you for entering the Easter competition. All the entries should be on the website now- under the tab: Children- Easter Cards and Competition. I am so impressed with what the children have done! The imagination and creativity shown in some of them is incredible: thank you for taking the time to enter. If your entry is not there, please contact your teacher via email, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be forwarded to me.
We have been closed for three weeks now, and I am keen to keep in touch so that the children still feel part of the St John's family. I want to wish you all a Happy Easter from myself and all the staff at St John's. We have all missed out on lots of end-of-term fun due to the lock-down. We would usually have had a lovely Easter celebration, singing songs and giving out prizes for all the usual end of term things: attendance-where we celebrate those children who come to school every day; Golden Book assembly-where teachers participate in a high-five race to congratulate children who have been awarded golden stickers; the Easter competition prize-giving, where the entries are displayed for all the children to look at over lunchtimes, and winners receive chocolate eggs. We would also have spoken to the children about the significance of the festival of Easter for Christians.
One of the reasons I love St John's so much, is that we are a diverse community. The school brings together children and staff who are Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh as well as people of no faith. We talk to children all the time about how we are the same, as well as how we are different. We designed a curriculum that gives children opportunities to think about who they are and to be proud of themselves and their culture, whilst understanding that although other people may be different, they are still equally as valuable. We try to teach children that "different" does not mean "bad".
Children have already thought about what Lent is, and how it is the forty days leading up to Easter, during which some Christians fast, whilst others give up something indulgent, so that they can concentrate on living a more simple life and feeling closer to God. During Lent, Christians might reflect on how fortunate they are in their everyday life, and give more to charity. There is also an emphasis on prayer during these forty days. Children at St John's were very quick to spot similarities between Lent and events in other religions- such as Ramadan which I know many of you will be preparing for at this time.
I am very proud to be the Head of a school where children can understand and appreciate the beliefs of others, whilst still growing in their own faith. The world would be a very much nicer place if all people were able to do this.
So I wish you happy Easter because Easter is all about Hope- the expectation that something good will happen, but also the sense of trust between people and God: the belief that God loves us and wants the best for us all. At this most difficult time, people of faith must trust and hope that God will help us to use these events to become better, kinder and wiser- more able to appreciate simple things.
For me personally, one of the hardest things about this situation is that I cannot hug my 79 year old mum. I don't think I ever stopped to think about the power of such a simple thing before. When this is over, perhaps the collective power of society realising their appreciation for simple things will make the world a better place.
Today, some of our families will be celebrating Vaisakhi, probably very differently to normal. Like the Easter services yesterday, many of you will participate in virtual gatherings. I came across this greeting, and I thought it was very appropriate for today: Fill your heart with love and joy, share your blessings and be thankful. Happy Vaisakhi!
Take good care of yourselves and of each other,