Welcome to Schools for Bethlehem

A Christmas Celebration

Over the last few years, primary schools up and down the country have taken part in our wonderful Schools for Bethlehem campaign. In previous years, a focal point of the campaign has been the Festival of Cribs, exhibited in schools and public spaces.

As we know, 2020 was a very different year in almost every way. But that didn’t stop us getting on the fundraising trail! Our participating schools held a non-uniform day to mark the first day of advent. Then they encouraged their pupils and their families to create their own Christmas crib scene, using materials they had at home

Some schools even encouraged families to go out on socially-distanced evening walks to see how many of the wonderful cribs they could spot in people’s windows!

Christmas 2021

We’re hopeful that Christmas 2021 will turn out to be a rather more social affair, and so we’re asking schools once again to participate.

The Schools for Bethlehem campaign launch will take place in the autumn, but you can register your interest now, in order to receive our updates.

We’re looking for as many schools to take part as possible.

You’ll be helping to raise much-needed funds for the Bethlehem Care and Hospice Trust, whose mission is to establish the first ever hospice for sick and elderly people in the holy city of Bethlehem.

‘St Thomas of Canterbury School thoroughly enjoyed supporting the Schools for Bethlehem campaign during Advent. We began the season with a non-uniform day – children and staff wore their festive clothes in exchange for a donation to the Bethlehem Care and Hospice Trust – and a special assembly to create our Advent wreaths and introduce our crib exhibition. Over Advent, classes spent time crafting Nativity scenes in a variety of creative ways, to display at home as a light in the darkness. Bethlehem Care and Hospice Trust is a truly worthy cause and we look forward to supporting the Schools for Bethlehem campaign again’.

Matthew Richardson

Teacher, Saint Thomas of Canterbury School, Sheffield

A Festival of Cribs

In previous years, schools have asked families to create their own crib scene, to form part of a wider exhibition within the school over the Christmas period. It provides a wonderful focal point for the festivities as well as supporting further learning.

You could even invite parents to view the exhibition as part of a Christmas event. Each participating family will receive a certificate from the Trust.

Mary Wilde, from St Wilfrid’s Catholic Primary School in Sheffield, describes her school’s experience:

‘We encouraged all families to make their own crib scene to bring into school. We ended up with over 60 lovingly homemade and creative crib scenes. We had cardboard cribs, plasticine, lego, knitted and even gingerbread scenes. It was so special and a lovely way of making a link between what we do in school and what happens at home.’

Bernadette Twomey, RE Coordinator at St Marie’s School reflects on their event:

‘Welcoming the Festival of the Cribs into schools at this busy time provides a calm and mindful space for children to experience the joy of the crib and the unity of the family. The Festival of Cribs supports a wide and varied curriculum and the opportunity to experience so many beautiful ways of expressing one story.’

A few of the Schools involved

A selection of hand made cribs from last years participating schools

Get involved

Pope Francis encouraged the use of the Christmas cribs to “Bring the Gospel to the places where you live: in homes, schools, workplaces and meeting places, in hospitals and nursing homes, in prisons and in squares. And where we live reminds us of one essential thing: that God did not remain invisible in heaven, but came to Earth, he became man, a child.”

Taking part in the Schools for Bethlehem campaign is the perfect way for the whole school community to come together to celebrate the joy of Christmas whilst also raising money for a truly worthy cause.