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The Elves and the Shoemaker

Just in case it has escaped your attention, elves have been spotted in the Early Years at Highgate Primary School.

On Friday, the classrooms were set up at the end of the day in preparation for a new week. The role-play area became a cobbler’s workshop, complete with an array of tools and materials. Leather was cut and prepared and the classic fairy tale, ’The Elves and the Shoemaker’, was dusted down in preparation for a week working in the tiniest detail.

Imagine everyone’s surprise on Monday morning when the most exquisite of elf shoes was found in the workshop.  The detail was something to behold; such accurate cutting and careful stitching, clearly produced by the tiniest of hands. It certainly couldn’t have been the work of a teacher, but then again it couldn’t have been real elves, because they only exist in fairy tales, don’t they?

Everyone was extremely puzzled, speculating as to who had indeed been in the workshop over the weekend. But then, on top of the day’s sweepings, was found the tiniest of letters:

Dear children,
Thank you so much for setting up such a beautiful workshop.  We had such fun cutting, hammering and stitching.
We really hope you like the shoes we’ve made. If you look closely, you’ll see we’ve left you some tiny hand-stitched books to write in. Please do write back to us – it would be lovely to hear from you all.
With love from
The Elves

It could only have been written by a real elf.

What followed was a hive of activity in which the children engaged in every elf task imaginable. They designed and made their own elf outfits; wrote letters to the elves using sparkly pens in the smallest handwriting; and selected buttons with tweezers to embellish their designs. They hammered and cut in the outside workshop; practised their stitching into binca and threaded pebbles onto string – a good exercise for any trainee cobbler.  And when they weren’t shoemaking, they drank mint tea in the Elf Cafe.

The week’s Forest School visit to Highgate Wood was notable for several confirmed sightings of resident elves – a thriving community in the heart of London.

On Thursday it was our school’s turn to host Nursery and Reception teachers as part of Haringey’s open classroom programme. Teachers from neighbouring schools turned up to look around and see how we approach the task of teaching the very youngest children. It would appear that our visitors were quite amazed by the quality of the work that had been produced, with many marvelling at the incredible attention to detail.  One teacher was heard to say, ’It’s so tiny, it’s hard to believe this has been done by children.’ We didn’t have the heart to tell them they’d had a bit of elf help – after all if we’d told them the truth, I’m sure they wouldn’t have believed us.​

William