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Special day for teachers starting the new year

Date: 24 November 2022

After the long school holidays, it’s quite a moment when teachers and pupils return to school for the start of a new academic year.

There was a different way to prepare for the staff of one Surrey CofE Infants school. A one-day retreat to the famous Wintershall Estate.

All St Mary’s Infant School Godalming teaching staff visited the estate, which specialises in sharing the Bible and its stories through drama.

Headteacher Valerie Elliot had designed a special retreat day for her staff. It focused on the importance of being a teacher in a Church of England school, allowing the team to reconnect after the summer and prepare for the new term ahead.

“With a wide range of events to select across the day, the group discussed the idea that we have all been called by God to teach at the school,” says Valerie, “And the very special role which we all play within it.”

The group from St Mary’s watched Wintershall actors perform two scenes – a monologue by Mary, Mother of Jesus, and an explanation of the Prodigal Son. “They gave us all an opportunity to discuss the power and impact of drama in RE lessons,” says Valerie, “And more practically a chance to bring up some of the questions that children might ask in response to these two scenes.”

A demonstration of a Godly Play followed lunch. The course leader demonstrated how to effectively present a parable to infant pupils, in this case, The Good Shepherd.

And the day closed with an explanation of the baptism ceremony. “It served as a useful demonstration of the Holy Trinity,” says Valerie. The course leader lit a candle for us all and then ‘changed the light’, asking the staff to take it with them on their journeys through the next school year.

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