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Christmas in Schools – 2020

Historically speaking, and also constitutionally, Australia is a secular country. Following this, each state and territory maintains slightly different policies around the inclusion or exclusion of religion in schools. Religion and religious instruction is taken up differently across states and territories. How does Christmas affect us at St Edmunds College and why do we think it so important.

With the ups and downs and joys and strains of Christmas and all its seasons’ festivities, it’s important to consider what positive or negative impacts Christmas can have on our students. With this in mind, we should always be aware of the strain it can have on effective learning and identify that all students are different. Celebrating Christmas in schools can be a joyous and uplifting occasion. It can offer an entertaining distraction from the stress brought on by the school year.

As a Catholic school, the Liturgical Calendar embodies a rich tradition and shapes the way we experience worship, enriching and strengthening our spiritual journey.   The Liturgical Calendar structures our year enabling us to celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The liturgical calendar is cyclical in nature, the assembly re-living it year after year.  The calendar remains the same but we experience the liturgical seasons in a different way each time of encounter. It is crucial that we provide our students with a varied and deep experience of the Church’s seasons. Advent; a time of preparation for Christmas and a time of joyful expectation of the Second Coming.  It is here where we celebrate this over the four Sundays prior to the 25th December.  Traditionally, churches are adorned in purple and our college halls and assemblies are laid with an Advent wreath which helps us count down the weeks until Christmas Day.

At times, Christmas in schools can bring an entertaining distraction from the study stress brought by the entire school year. The students feel excited, joyous and the season can raise morale, lift spirits and give hope of new life, and a sense that the year is coming to a close. The school environment is enriched with the positive energy of happiness and celebration, and dare I say even some teachers feel excited about the much-coveted break from the teaching-learning cycle that goes on throughout the year, even if it is for a short period.

The sense of Christmas is wonderful, at St Edmunds College Christmas is about celebration and offers Students to experience the joy of giving. Children can be taught to make hand-made gifts for others. They can take part in the food-drive, toy-drive or gift-drive to less fortunate ones focusing on their needs and hampers for across the six Houses are always full of food, gifts and toys for those that are less fortunate.

Christmas time at St Edmunds College shines the light on all the progress, all the highs and lows of the year and in this challenging year of covid, hail, fire and an ever changing landscape of views about equality. Christmas could not come sooner for us all as we all continue to shine our own light into a World that is ever changing, Christus Lux Mea

Have a blessed Christmas and a Happy new year,

Tim MacArthur
Head of Rice House

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