by MICHAEL OTTO
WANAKA — Ten students at Holy Family School, Wanaka, have been writing and drawing to highlight the meaning of Christmas.
The fruit of their work is a full colour illustrated Advent Calendar that has 25 stories, one for each day leading to Christmas, and a little activity or prayer for each day, plus biblical references.
Project organiser Christine Schafer told NZ Catholic that the children (aged 9 to 11 when the work was done) did most of the writing in their own time and produced the paintings at school.
“That was a great effort . . . as none of them had ever done anything like it before,” she said.
In doing the project, the students learned about turning an idea into a story, writing to word limits, deadlines, artwork and editing. They had help from professional writer Bartha Hill and two artists, Wendy Niederer and Lynda Gregg.
In 2010, the calendar was published within the school, and in 2011 it is being promoted throughout New Zealand.
“It’s a great preparation for Christmas and a great quality time for the whole family,” Mrs Schafer said.
The work — Little Angel and the First Christmas — has been endorsed by Anne Kennedy, one of the principal writers of the Catholic religious education programme in schools, and has been viewed by National Centre for Religious Studies director Br Kevin Wanden, FMS.
Readers can follow little angel “Cleo”, who witnesses the events of the first Christmas — including the Archangel Gabriel’s visit to Mary in the Annunciation, the visitation by Mary of her kinswoman Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, and the visit of the Magi. Cleo relates her amazement and adds a few thoughts of her own.
The calendar is available as an A4 wall calendar or an A5 storybook for $20 each (plus postage of $2.30) and comes with a set of activity cards. Additional activity cards are available for $3 each. There are discounts for larger orders.
Phone Holy Family School Wanaka (03) 443 2394 or email adventcalendar@xtra.co.nz
— Read more about the project on www.peak-sportchalet.co.nz/links.html

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