Christmas video 25: Christmas according to kids

What happens when you ask a bunch of kids to tell the story of Christmas? Enjoy this story of Bethle-ha-ha-ham and the magical star that appeared.

The natural humour of the children of Southland Christian Church describing the nativity story makes this an obvious video to show at your Christmas family service:

 

Christmas video 21: The Nativity in Sand

The Bible Society produced this video of sand artist Gert van der Vijver retelling the story of the Nativity in sand.  This is a great thing to watch in an all-age service:

 

Best children’s Christmas story book

One of my favourite resources for the Christmas season is Jesus’ Christmas Party by Nicholas Allan.

Nicholas Allan writes and illustrates the nativity through the eyes of a grumpy inn keeper who is unexpectedly at the centre of Jesus’ birth.  The story follows him as he is woken up repeatedly by Mary and Joseph and guests visiting the newborn.

I first heard of the book when I was a child and it was used for a Sunday School drama to present the Christmas narrative to the whole church.  As a children’s and youth worker I’ve used it numerous times, be it with young pre-school children, older teenagers, or non-Christian adults.  The book is easy for people to follow and join in, and yet still allows for profounds truths to be taught.

It can be bought in a number of sizes – from A6 just to fit in the pocket and use to tell a large group of people, to a large A4 size which a class of children can crowd around and look at the pictures.

What children want for Christmas: a Dad

When it comes to Christmas, it might be safe to assume children will ask Santa for an extensive list of toys, games and treats.  But a survery of their typical lists for Father Christmas has shown many have more serious concerns, requesting “a dad” instead.

A study of 2,000 British parents found most children will put a new baby brother or sister at the top of their Christmas list, closely followed by a request for a real-life reindeer.

A “pet horse” was the third most popular choice, with a “car” making a bizarre entry at number four.  But despite their material requests, the tenth most popular Christmas wish on the list was a “Dad”.

The survey, of consumers at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City, found children aged three to 12 years also wanted a dog, chocolate and a stick of rock.  Traditional hopes for a white Christmas were represented by a wish for “snow” in ninth place, with sensible youngsters also requesting a “house”.

Of the top 50 festive requests, 17 related to pets and animals, with some imaginative children hoping for a donkey, chicken and elephant.

iPhones and iPads also appeared on the list, with some quirky children asking for the moon, a time machine, a pond cover and beetroot.

A request for a “mum” reached number 23 on the list.

What does a registered manager at a children’s care home do?

 

 

 

 

Great article from the Guardian, interviewing Zoey Lees, who is a registered manager at The Orchards, a children’s care home in Nottingham for five young people aged 11 to 18 who are on the autism spectrum:

We are just like a family and my day starts about 8am when I transport some of the children to school. Then I come back and do health and safety checks, paperwork and look at the rotas.

We have 21 members of staff so I do staff supervision, for example, go over some things with them and provide the opportunity for reflective practice. I also look at how we can move the service forward and the different schemes we could become involved in. It’s important to tackle the stigma surrounding learning disabilities, which is why community participation is vital. We start collecting the children from school at about 2pm. My attitude is that I can’t talk to staff about working with a young person if I don’t work with the child myself, so I do a lot of observational work.

We have a variety of after-school activities, such as music and Zumba; some children go skating, make contact with their family or go to Scouts. We want to teach children life skills, so they help make the evening meal, which we eat together at about 5.30pm.

After dinner, children choose their own activities until we get ready for bedtime; we may read a book with the child or talk about the events of the day, maybe give a hand massage to emphasise that we are winding down. The youngest child goes to bed at 7.30pm, the oldest at 10pm. I leave about 6pm, but I’m always on call.

Upcoming funding deadline: Comic Relief Tech for Good 2018

Comic Relief Tech for Good 2018 funding stream has an upcoming deadline.  The fund is well worth looking at for youth work projects.

Deadline: 20 December 2017

Who can apply? Not-for-profit groups in the UK

How much? Between £15,000 and £47,000

What for?

This programme aims to provide the opportunity for not-for-profit organisations, who already have some technological capacity, to take their digital innovation projects forward. We are looking to fund teams to make a significant digital step forward within nine months.

A wide range of digital interventions will be considered and our aim is to fund projects that:

  • Are focused on specific user needs in their design, delivery and development
  • Make best use of web, mobile or internet based technologies
  • Can scale effectively and offer economies of scale
  • Disrupt and challenge existing ways of delivering services
  • Are sharable with other parts of the not-for-profit sector

We are looking to fund more than just good ideas. We want to fund projects that will deliver bigger, better and more ambitious services to users and beneficiaries. Applicants need to demonstrate that they understand how to manage a successful digital project, and that they have sound internal or external technical expertise in their management and delivery team. We would expect that some development work will already have taken place.

Projects must address one of our four programme areas:

  • Empowering Women and Girls,
  • Investing in Children and Young People,
  • Building Stronger Communities, or
  • Improving Health and Wellbeing. 

How to apply:   Apply online

Government must invest in children’s & youth services

Leading children’s charities and local councils have called on the Government to urgently close the funding gap facing children and young people’s services as new research reveals a sharp rise in families reaching “crisis point”.

An open letter signed by five major organisations warns that children’s social care is being pushed to breaking point, with a £2bn funding gap expected to open by 2020. It urges ministers to “step up” and use the Autumn Budget to invest in vital services in order to save youngsters from serious harm.

The signatories, which include Barnardo’s, Action for Children and the Local Government Association (LGA), state that between them they have “spent years warning successive governments that a failure to invest in these vital services will have long term consequences” for the UK’s children and families.

The letter, comes as a report by three leading children’s charities reveals “crippling” central government cuts have left councils with no option but to close services designed to detect early signs of child neglect and abuse – forcing them to direct to a “crisis” fire-fighting model.

Demand for crisis support for children has risen sharply as council spending on services that are designed to spot signs of neglect and abuse early has fallen by 40 per cent between 2010/11 and 2015/16, the report shows. Central government funding for children and young people’s services has seen a real terms decrease of £2.4bn in that period, while local authority allocations for these services has fallen by £1.6bn.

At the same time, there has been a 108 per cent increase in child protection investigations, as demand for council help soars.

The research, from The Children’s Society, Action for Children and the National Children’s Bureau, also reveals stark geographical discrepancies, with the most deprived councils in England having cut spending on children’s services by almost a quarter (23 per cent) – six times as much as the least deprived councils.

The open letter to ministers reads:

“Children’s social care is being pushed to breaking point, with an unprecedented surge in demand leaving services across the public, voluntary and community sector struggling to cope.

“We believe that all children deserve the chance of a bright future. That’s why we are uniting today to urge the Government to use the Autumn Budget to close the funding gap facing children’s services, which will reach at least £2bn by 2020.”

It states that the number of children needing child protection plans has nearly doubled over the past decade, and last year saw the largest annual increase in children in care since 2013. The organisations also highlight that local authorities overspent on children’s services by £365m in 2014/15 just to keep children safe, and a huge £605m the following year.

The letter adds:

“Our children and young people deserve better than the gradual decline of services – particularly those services that help children early – that have been shown to make a real difference to their lives”

“Councils and the voluntary sector are committed to getting the best for every child. Now we need the same commitment from our government, starting with urgent action through the Budget to give local services the resources they need to help children and families thrive.”

The number of young people subject to child protection enquires increased by 140 per cent – to 170,000 – in the past decade, according to research by the LGA earlier this year.

A separate study more recently revealed that benefit cuts and increased levels of poverty across the UK were the primary cause for this “unprecedented surge” in demand for children’s services, while a lack of resources to provide universal services like children’s centres and youth clubs also played a significant part.

 

 

Children’s & youth work links

Links from the world of children’s and youth ministry: