December, filled with its special customs and celebrations, is traditionally the season of joy. From the twinkling lights to the promise of snow, excitement fills the air. The message of Christmas is all about love, beginning as it did with the story of a baby being born. Even in this most challenging of years, the birth of babies has remained a time for celebration and joy, and seeing the delight of our youngest pupils at this time of year is always uplifting.

To be joyful is suggestive of happiness and spontaneity, innocence and laughter. This ability to take delight in the small pleasures of the world around us is a quality we associate with young children and is exemplified by the fictional character, Buddy the Elf. In the film, Elf, Buddy faces a series of challenges and setbacks but continues to smile through them, never losing his sense of optimism. As he does so, those around him are drawn to his positivity and charm, and the world becomes a better place.

In much the same way, this term at school has been one which has brought unexpected joy. With a return to face to face teaching, the camaraderie among pupils and staff has been palpable, with us all valuing ever more the joy in the positive relationships between us. There is a gentle understanding of the shared challenges, and an atmosphere of care for one another, as well as a determined optimism to make the most of being at school together. From the youngest to the oldest pupils in school, we have been delighted and impressed by their ability to keep a positive attitude towards working hard– another great ‘Buddy’ quality! By holding on to a sense of curiosity and spirit of adventure, even in the depths of google classroom, we have all made the best of this year and so we have come to know better the value of community.

2020’s gift to us is perhaps a reminder not to look too far ahead but to make the most of the small pleasures in every moment. Like Buddy, let’s look for happiness in all that is around us and, amid the festive noise and colour, nurture the quiet feeling that is joy, which comes ultimately from the confidence and faith that good will come.

As this term draws to a close, we would like to thank our pupils, parents and staff for the joy that they bring to our school and wider community. In the weeks ahead, however you spend the Christmas season, we wish you a time filled with happiness and love and look forward to easier times ahead.

Mrs Helen Hutton-Attenborough
Head of Preparatory School