For the first session of the year I like to do an activity where we look back at the year, see where we are and to look forward. This is quite difficult for younger children who don’t really have much concept of when things have happened.
This year however, I have found this great printable page to use as a focus for this. It covers past, present and future. I particularly like the gender and age neutral figure that the children can decorate as themselves. Also that some prompts are very obvious and others need a bit more thought, making it suitable for a wider range of children.
In our group the children range from 4 to 8 and they will all be able to participate in this activity, although the younger ones will likely need quite a bit of help with the actual writing.
How I Use This in a Session
After our opening circle I will ask the children if they know what it means that it is a new year and introduce or discuss the idea of a year being the length of time it takes for the earth to go around the sun. We can demonstrate this as a group with one child (being the earth) walking around the others (as the sun) speaking the months of the year.
For older children we could introduce the idea of different countries or faiths celebrating the New Year at different points in the sun’s cycle. E.g. Chinese New Year in February or the Pagan year beginning at Samhain. Also we could introduce the idea of the lunar calendar.
Round up this section with this or similar – “Whenever the New Year is celebrated it is a good time to look at the year that has just finished and the year that is to come so we are going to think about some of the things that have happened, what is happening now and what we might like to happen in the next year.”
Colour and fill in the activity sheet.
For the closing circle I would ask the children to make some wishes for the next year. A wish for themselves, a wish for a specific person other than themselves and a wish for the world.