Kokoso the camel is a star of wonder

Special guest steals the show at school's nativity

Richard Vaughan

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A primary school in Berkshire took its nativity play one step further this year by hiring a camel to take centre stage for the night.

Penn Wood Primary in Slough put on a production of The Gift Bringer, an adaptation of the traditional Christmas story that focuses on the tale of one of the three kings.

In the limelight for the night was Kokoso the camel, who gave the show a little more authenticity than the children had bargained for.

Jane Girle, the head, said the evening was "truly amazing" and enabled the key stage 2 nativity play to teach some valuable lessons.

"The atmosphere was very special as the whole community turned out to see the show," she said.

"I think it exceeded everyone's expectations. The school wants everyone to see the value of stories and storytelling. It provides such an excellent basis for the development of literacy skills."

Ms Girle had the idea for the camel after last year's success, when the school created a farm in its courtyard. After the show, parents asked about plans for the following year.

"I jokingly said we'd be having a camel," she said. "But then some staff did some investigations and found that it would be possible to hire a camel for the evening."

The animal was supplied by the Wiltshire firm Joseph's Amazing Camels after the Penn Wood pupils managed to find the cash through some local fundraising events.

The play was performed on International Human Rights Day and the main themes of the production were "dignity and justice for all", said Ms Girle.

She added: "We believe we truly achieved `creativity in action', from the fundraising of loose change to fact-finding about camels from around the world, and a whole-school writing competition. There was narration, singing, dancing and recorder playing on the night."

At the end of the evening, staff at the school each had a ride on the camel. But Ms Girle doubts she will manage to achieve next year's suggestion for the play.

"I don't think we can fit a giraffe in the courtyard," she said.

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Richard Vaughan

Richard has been writing about politics, policy and technology in education for nearly five years after joining TES in 2008. He joined TES from the building press having been a reporter and then later news editor at the Architects’ Journal. Before then he studied at Cardiff University’s school of journalism. Richard can be found tweeting at @richardvaughan1

Find me on Twitter @RichardVaughan1

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