Christmas tends to be a huge talking point in primary schools, not least because it provides a great opportunity to get children engaged with new and exciting activities. School nativity plays have been a staple of many school calendars for decades, although over the past 10 to 15 years it hasn’t necessarily been quite as traditional as it used to be.
As the religious significance of Christmas and even the nativity story itself has been dulled over the years, many end-of-year school plays started to become more varied and generic. Much of this shift has been put down to being more inclusive for children who don’t come from Christian backgrounds. Many of these alternative Christmas plays for schools would be focused around other, more modern festive characters such as reindeer, snowmen, elves and so on.
However, recently there has apparently been more of an interest in the more traditional religious stories instead. Companies that produce and sell nativity plays for schools, usually offering traditional and non-religious options, have reported over the past few years that stories based on the birth of Christ have significantly risen in popularity again. On average, these traditional nativities have increased in popularity by up to 25% over the past few years.
The change has partly been explained by shifting attitudes towards what accepting differences means in schools. Previously, nativity plays were seen by some as politically incorrect and it was assumed that repeating a narrative strongly associated with one particular religion would be inappropriate for children of other faiths. In fact, this attitude has since faded away for the most part, since the majority of people see the nativity story as intrinsically linked with the original meaning of Christmas.
Whether it’s relevant to the religious beliefs of children or parents isn’t necessarily important, but for many people the classic nativity play is a positive part of the run-up to Christmas and a great opportunity for parents to be proud of their children’s performances. Personally, we think anything that encourages kids to practice their acting talents and enjoy learning is a great idea!