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Charlton Nursery in Bristol has put on a highly original nativity performance this year, as the preschoolers themselves were allowed to write the script. Still based on the traditional nativity, three and four-year-olds got fully involved in the whole artistic process, including choosing the setting (which was Bristol), script and names of the main characters. 

“We were keen to make this a fun and engaging time for all our children this year, after the challenges of the last 18 months,” commented Mel Toogood, operations manager at Charlton Nursery. “By using a child-led approach way we’re able to teach the traditional story but rather than just asking them to learn lines and giving stage directions, we can immerse the children throughout the whole process.” 

Held at the Flax Bourton setting – one of two Charlton Nurseries in Bristol – the nativity has been performed twice, on 14 and 16 December, as the team decided to minimize the number of attendees at any one time. Adults all wore masks and windows and doors remained open. The performance was also recorded to allow those who are unable to attend to enjoy the show. 

The children chose to re-name Mary and Joseph Elsa and Anna, and they journeyed from Flax Bourton to Bristol on a donkey. Their son was called Matt, named after a Charlton Nursery teacher. The valuable presents were represented by toys and were delivered via the Great Western Railway. Songs included Makaton versions of Starry Night, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and We Wish You A Merry Christmas

“All of the children have thoroughly enjoyed this year’s nativity,” added Mel. “Using a child-initiated approach, we able to share serious messages through fun and engagement. We would like to say a massive thank you to all our staff in the Sunflowers room who have guided them at every step of the way, including Matt, Casey, Aimee, Brianna, Emma and Courtney, as well as all the parents and carers for supplying costumes, helping the children with lines and songs and supporting them throughout.” 

Charlton Nursery was founded in 2004 and provides childcare and education for children from six weeks to five years, 51 weeks of the year. Settings are in Flax Bourton and Winterstoke Road in Bristol and both nurseries are rated Good with Outstanding Features by Ofsted.