Early Years Advent & Christmas Resources
Make your own Nativity set
Set up the a traditional Nativity scene which includes shepherds, angels, Magi, star, donkey, ox, sheep, manger, Joseph, Mary, Jesus, the Inn, Inn Keeper etc. After reading the scripture stories students arrange the Nativity scene to reflect the Gospel of Luke and then Matthew. Get started using Pintrest!
Art and the Nativity
Provide students with an image of a traditional nativity scene (one that combines images/symbols from both Matthew and Luke’s versions and later traditions). Students colour the image reflecting the gospels e.g. using colours, code words/symbols found in Matthew’s gospel red; colour words/symbols found in Luke’s gospel yellow etc.
Telling the Story of Jesus' birth
Read the infancy narrative from Luke or Matthew's Gospel and act it out; create a collage; create a story map; dress up in characters; role play. Photograph or video children’s play and exploration with the nativity to create a photo story or their own dramatic video clip. Research First Century Palestine dress, houses, food etc; play celebrity heads; sequence events of the story.
Students create an Advent Chain to take home as a family Advent activity. Write prayers, actions, scripture quotes, or reflections for each chain. A class Advent Chain could also be created in the same way to learn something about the Infancy Narratives on each day during the last weeks of the school year.
Silence and Stillness in a season of waiting
Schedule for times of silence and stillness in this very busy time of the school year. Advent is a time for preparing for Jesus. Students identify gifts that they can be for others e.g. kindness, courageous. Students create an Advent Tree of Kindness.
Retreats & Prayer Walks
Organise a student retreat or prayer walk on the theme of Journey. Focus on Matthew’s Gospel and the Journey of the Magi. The Magi began a journey, when they visited the infant child, they were changed; they went home by another route. Early Years students could follow a simple map around the school with reflective stops and visits (eg.church, tree in the school grounds, sacred prayer space, library). This could be a Magi dress up day and integrate other classes, admin staff to be a ‘call to prayer’ stop or ‘station of learning’.
Create an Advent Prayer Mat
Create individual Advent Prayer Mats using the colours and symbols and words associated with this Liturgical season. Take this home to use as a table centrepiece for family meals. Make connections to Advent themes of journey, waiting, preparing in anticipation. Student design prayer mats that include symbols and colours of Advent, scripture quotes, prayers related to HOPE or JOY. Write prayers using the You Who Do Through format.
The Meaning of Advent
Discuss how Advent is a time to WAIT, PREPARE and BE READY for the birth of Jesus. Students use mindmaps, concept maps or Bubbl.us to brainstorm or recall times when they have waited for a special occasion such as birthdays, special visitors etc. Students describe how they felt when they were waiting and what preparations they made for the special occasion.
The Advent Wreath
The first candle represents the Old Testament prophets who foretold Christ’s coming. The second candle represents John the Baptist, who pointed to Jesus as the ‘Lamb of God.’ The third is for Mary who prepared herself and presented Jesus to the world. The fourth candle represents us, who are now called to prepare ourselves to be prophets and witnesses. Create an Advent wreath. The circular shape of the wreath is a symbol of God and God’s love: without beginning or ending. Explain the significance of the four Advent candles. Name four actions you can undertake in Advent which focus on living out the message of Jesus.