This year, the usual festive celebrations we all enjoy in the Christmas lead up will have been muted.
Concerts, pantomimes and carol services have all had to be scaled back or scrapped altogether because of Covid regulations.
But despite the challenges, staff at Kingspark School in Dundee were determined to ensure pupils didn’t miss out on festive fun before term ended this week.
To celebrate the period, the additional needs school pulled out all the stops to transform its gymnasium into a sensory winter wonderland.
Headteacher Paul Dow said: “Christmas is usually a time at Kingspark when there are a lot of events and experiences like a Christmas show that we put on for the parents and other schools.
“But that won’t be happening this year because of Covid, so we turned our gym-hall into a winter wonderland.
“It was a sensory space – we are talking about the feel of Christmas such as ice and snow.”
The task of creating the fun space was helped by the generosity of the local community and parents, who went above and beyond to help the school get into the Christmas spirit.
Paul explained: “The parent council made contact with the Carnoustie Theatre Club who gave us a load of different props they would normally use in their Christmas pantos.
“Ardler Community Centre also gave us some of the props they would usually use in their Santa’s grotto which was super.
“And parents themselves gave us their donations, like lights and projectors.”
Christmas songs, storytelling and festive games such as elf on the shelf and sticking Rudolph’s nose on were all on offer for the pupils to enjoy – all whilst adhering to the current Covid rules.
“It all had to be Covid-friendly of course, so there was a one-way system through the wonderland,” Paul said.
“Along the way you could go through an igloo and take part in a sensory story, so it created the sound, smell and the experience of that story.
“We had ice, fake snow, bubble wrap to make the crackling sound. Then from the ice palace you went to the log fire where you could sit round and sing some Christmas carols.
“Then the whole journey ended up at Santa’s grotto where we met Santa – Covid-friendly and socially distanced.”
With many families facing the prospect of spending Christmas apart this year, it will undoubtedly be a different festive period to what many are used to.
And with this in mind, Paul paid tribute to the efforts of all the staff at Kinsgpark who have put their all into making the pupils smile in these tough times.
Christmas is usually a time at Kingspark when there are a lot of events and experiences like a Christmas show that we put on for the parents and other schools.”
Paul Dow, Kingspark headteacher
Paul said: “These are tough times and Christmas is not going to be what it is every other year but I wanted to recognise the creativity of the staff here.
“The feedback we have had has been lovely and it’s brought a bit of joy.
“People seem really touched by the experiences we have given to the kids during the week.
“Sometimes when you are forced to think of doing something different, it’s incredible what people can come up with.”