SJS pupils with their own sunshines

New hobbies, binging boxsets or finally going out on that run you said you’d do last year; we’ve all had our methods for beating the lockdown gloom.

Driven by a sense of community and a passion to beat the dreary weather, Sir John Sherbrooke Junior School (SJS) is doing their bit to bring the Nottinghamshire village of Calverton a ray of sunshine.

The school’s solution is the ‘Sunshine Smile Challenge’ – a way for the pupils to lighten up the days of passersby by decorating their windows with their very own sunshine.

Not only is it a way for the kids to flex their crafting skills, but the challenge is also a strong reminder of the power of community and simply looking out for others. Headteacher Sally Maddison said: “We were keen to help the children, stay positive and have reasons to go outside because the last time schools shut it was sunny outside so everybody wanted to get out, whereas now it’s a bit darker and colder so there’s less motivation to get out and do those positive things.

“As a result, we’re very keen to spread positivity, to give the children something active that they could do to help spread joy and happiness to other people, and give them a sense of community by going out and knowing that other people from the school, and from the village are joining in with them.”

The humble message of spreading joy and thinking of others has clearly struck a chord, with the pupils of SJS making enough sunshines for a ‘Sunshine Trail’ to take place on Wednesday 27 January.

Sunshine decorated windows by the pupils of SJS

Miss Maddison said: “The response has been really positive so far and I’m actually going to be dressing up as an inflatable sunshine to go round to all the children’s houses to spot their sunshines. I’ve got a good number of houses to get through tomorrow so it’s going to be a long walk but overall it’s really positive.”

This certainly isn’t the first time the 36-year-old Headteacher has set challenges for her pupils – the Sunshine Smile challenge comes as part of the school’s weekly ‘Wow Us Wednesday’.

The first challenge saw the pupils building towers from strange and unusual materials whilst future weeks will take the kids bird watching and, later on, delivering random acts of kindness to continue the message of selfless behaviour.

Underneath it all, however, is a message of resilience. The pupil’s rays of sunshine bringing more enlightenment than a mere exercise in arts and craft. “It’s so easy to get bogged down in the news which is challenging for everyone,” Miss Maddison said.

“Our aim is to always try and help the children and their families those little moments of joy in all of this.”