COMPASSION and sympathy have much in common with each other. It literally means to ‘suffer with' and it’s about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Jesus showed compassion in his ministry and his works of healing were always prompted by compassion for people’s suffering. In Matthew 11; 28 He said ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
CREATION. We see life as God’s gift and in Genesis 1 :31 it says that ‘God looked at everything that He had made and it was very good.’, God gives humans certain rights and responsibilities to care for the beautiful world He has created ( Genesis 1:28/29.) We also delight in the many different creative abilities we see in the children and music, drama , sport dance and art and craft are actively encouraged and promoted both in our learning ,worship and in extra- curricular activities.
HOPE. True hope is much more of a general idea that things will get better but is rooted in the character of God. Often the Psalmist says of God , ‘My hope is in you.’ Psalm 71 Jesus’ death on the cross and His rising again gives Christians the firm hope that we can have fullness of life with God now and forever. This is explained and celebrated in our worship and in our attitudes with pupils and staff and shows itself in positivity in our teaching and learning.
Collective Worship at Chiddingstone School
At Chiddingstone Church of England School we have a daily act of worship, grace is said before meals and children reflect on the Church School Values they have seen in action at the end of the school day. Worship in St Mary’s Church is an important part of the children's spiritual development. Our worship is Anglican and is led by members of staff, our priest in charge Bill MacDougall, lay minister and governor Sally Musson, community members 'The Children's Workshop', as well as children themselves. A lively, creative approach includes drama, dance and art work alongside readings, prayers and music. We use a variety of well-known hymns and modern worship songs ably supported by a large number of instrumentalists.
There are four main church services each year namely Harvest, Christmas, Easter and the Leavers’ service in addition to a weekly Act of Worship, ( AOW), in St Mary’s every Friday . These, together with yearly Class AOW’s, warmly welcome parents and family members.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, collective worship has remained central to school life and has played an incredibly important part in ensuring that the school has felt united, despite being in class bubbles or at home during periods of school closure. Covid-19 made us adapt - weekly Acts of Worship were recorded on our website as part of our remote learning delivery. In school, the worship coordinator and Headteacher delivered live Zoom AOWs each week with class teachers delivering supporting material every day. In addition, socially distanced, outdoor whole school services enabled everyone to unite in worship and celebration as we all enjoyed our Harvest, Christmas, Easter and Leavers' services in the open air (but not always in the sunshine!).
Every classroom has a reflective area and there is a central worship board where the children can engage in interactive prayer activities and take time to think and ask questions. Every year we hold ‘prayer stations’ in the church which help the children to understand Christian beliefs and festivals in a relevant and kinaesthetic way. Parents are also encouraged to attend these alongside their child.
We have a "Leading Lights" group of Year 6 children who help with various worship activities and who help with creating and delivering Prayer Stations for the school and parents. In addition to helping with daily Acts of Worship, we try to meet with Leading Lights from other local schools to share ideas.
We have worked closely with the Church Wardens and local parents to launch a new monthly family service on the first Sunday of each month. During Covid-19, this has evolved into Forest Church. These are well attended and many have enjoyed a vibrant, interactive and engaging service followed by tea and craft/outdoor activities. It continues to be real community effort.
We were assessed as outstanding in our most recent SIAMS Inspection.