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Dressing up

05 December 2014

THE generous Parents and Friends Association of St Peter's C of E Primary School, in the village of Brotton, near Saltburn-by-the-Sea, in York diocese, has paid for six child-sized sets of robes and vestments to be used as a teaching aid in their parish church, St Margaret's.

Croft Design, based in Shropshire, has made a chasuble, stole, black scarf, alb, cope, and mitre, all to fit five- and six-year-olds.

The children love dressing up, of course, and the Rector, the Revd Jonathan Rhodes - who tells me that St Margaret's is "fairly trad" in such matters - has welcomed the chance to explain to children which liturgical colours are worn, when, and why.

It all fits well into the RE curriculum, the head teacher of St Peter's, Richard Unthank, says. In the Foundation Stage (ages three to five), the children learn about religious leaders, including a priest and what he or she needs to wear. In Key Stage 1 (ages five to seven), they are helped to understand what goes on in St Margaret's, and the part played by the vicar in the parish. (Mr Rhodes tells me he "gets all the silver out" to explain its use.)

And, in Key Stage 2 (ages seven to 11), they identify the similarities and differences between St Margaret's and York Minster, both in the buildings and in the different parts played by people in each place of worship.

Already, the state primary school near by, and another church school, have asked whether they can come for the same experiences; and Mr Rhodes has also had an enquiry from another church about obtaining similar robes and vestments. He is hoping that it is an idea that will take off.

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