Once again this year we are promoting the Advent Experience as an exciting and creative opportunity for parishes and LMAs to work together with their local schools. A chance to focus on the idea of waiting in the busy time of preparing for Christmas
The project works best if;
- You have a reasonably large church building you can set up 6 visual stations in
- You have a school within walking distance of the church
- You have a team of around 5/6 volunteers who are willing to set up and lead the experience
- You can provide the following resources; a large Advent wreath, large nativity figures of Mary and Joseph, a large toy sheep, a manger, plenty of cushions/kneelers for children to sit at (we provide all the other resources you need!)
However, if you are struggling with one of these it shouldn’t be a barrier, the experience has been run in a school hall, for a very small group of children (therefore needing fewer volunteers), with pared down visual stations and can be adapted in a variety of ways.
Advent Experience is a programme written by Clare Williams along the same lines as the Experience Easter programme written by Gloucester Diocese. This can be used and adapted for churches to work with their local schools to re-tell the wonderful and beautiful story of Christmas from the Christian viewpoint of Advent—watching and waiting.
The story is divided into 6 sections each with a title which forms part of a visual ‘station’. The children make a journey round the first 5 stations in small groups, also taking part in a craft activity to support their learning. The final station ‘The Gift’ takes place with the whole group present. Music may be played to indicate when the groups need to move on.
The whole visit should take around an hour and three quarters. Teachers are encouraged to take part with pupils.
Each station session involves;
– Opening question/thoughts
– Ask and think
– Reflective activity
– Prepare to move on
and should take around 10 minutes.
It is a simple storytelling tool which works very well with primary age children. It can be used all across Foundation Phase and KS2 and is very adaptable to the needs, ages and resources of the group using it.
It also makes use of the station leaders’ own skills and experience and each ‘script’ is a guide to be used and adapted.
It is important to maintain a calm and reflective atmosphere throughout the visit. There will be a short introduction before the children are split into groups to help set the scene and let the group know your expectations of them. Most of all it is something to experience and enjoy together!
Come along to our training event on Saturday 3rd November 10.30am – 12.30pm to learn more, see the Experience set up and have a ‘walk through’ training session. Ask questions and share experiences. You can also pick up your bilingual resource packs there. Please let us know if you plan to attend, light refreshments will be provided.
Look out for a write-up of this event in Pobl Dewi next month. We hope lots of you will use this fantastic resource in the next month. If you need some help let us know and we will even come and help you run it!