Primary school children asked to research whether Santa actually exists
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A group of British school children were set homework to research whether Father Christmas is a myth. Children in Year 5 at Cuthbert's Church of England School in Lancashire were asked to research whether Father Christmas was real as part of their homework, in preparation for an afterschool classroom debate. The assignment came at a time when many of the children would be writing their Christmas lists to the man himself.
Angry parents have flooded headteacher Michelle Smith with complaints. However, Ms Smith argues that the project will in fact “help develop their research, reasoning and promoting empathy for other people's viewpoint”. Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph a mother of one child said the decision “has caused a lot of upset." Adding how debating on the existance of Father Christmas in December "takes away from the magic of Christmas." Nevertheless, Ms Smith states: "The topic was chosen to help get into the Christmas spirit and help bring back the magic of Christmas for any children who have doubts." West End actor Paul Simpson is the project leader and has expressed his sadness that some of the parents have complained. He believes that the project, which is also run in five other Lancashire schools, does not take away the magic of Christmas, instead he sees it as a way to “engage the children in a project where they can learn and use new skills in terms of research, public speaking and debate”. Mr Simpson suggests that the project has not harmed the children’s pre-existing festive beliefs as the children unanimously concluded that Father Christmas did, in fact, exist. Many readers of the original Lancashire Telegraph article saw no issue with the project. With one person commenting: “The magic of Christmas isn't lost simply by discussing whether or not Santa is real, the magic of Christmas is much bigger than that.”