Welcome to 2021!

Activity Ideas for January

If you have not already talked about this simple, yet beautiful poem, with your students, what a nice opening activity to welcome them back to a new year. Sadly, you cannot welcome them back to a COVID-free 2021. But it is a great time to have them stop and think about what they have learned since living through 2020 – a year that changed the whole world.

And the People Stayed Home

Poem by Kitty O’Meara – Relevant to Today’s Times

And people stayed home
and read books and listened
and rested and exercised
and made art and played
and learned new ways of being
and stopped
and listened deeper

someone meditated
someone prayed
someone danced
someone met their shadow

and people began to think differently
and people healed
and in the absence of people who lived in ignorant ways,
dangerous, meaningless, and heartless,
even the earth began to heal

and when the danger ended
and people found each other
grieved for the dead people
and they made new choices
and dreamed of new visions
and created new ways of life
and healed the earth completely
just as they were, healed, themselves.


  • What did you learn from being forced to stay home, by being removed from your friends, from your favourite hobbies and events? (E. G. sports, dance, theatre, going to public spaces like parks, arenas, or swimming centres)
  • How did you, yourself change?
  • How did you lose or gain?
  • What new habits did you create during quarantine?

Responses could be written spoken, sung, or acted out. Collaborative Teams of 3-4 work best! Kids need chances to talk about their feelings and ways to cope for 2021!

For Teachers Who Want to Make 'And, the People Stayed Home' a Theme

For Teachers Who Want to Make 'And, the People Stayed Home' a Theme

An intense month of fun, engaging activities that can spark all kinds of creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and strengthen listening and communication skills. And the People Stayed Home screams of reasons to develop a sense of self and society. This unit can be integrated into Music, Dance, Drama and Visual Arts, as well as Religion/Character Education, Health and Wellbeing and Social Studies/History. It would take, very, little to include Science too.

January is a great month to be reminded of the simple beauty and appreciation, people worldwide commented on, when making this poem, viral. This is a great month for reflecting and looking ahead to adapt healthier habits. Be sure to look at the January page at the ArtsAround site to honour some, or all, the events occurring in the month of January. Let kids work on a hobby they love at school. Or let them invent and experiment (there is your Science theme). Prepare kids for Compliment Day on January 24th. Get the whole school featuring ways to give heart felt compliments, all month long.

Why not prepare materials or links or ideas, for parents, for Family Literacy Day on January 27th? Some ideas might be reading Winnie the Pooh stories together, like Winnie the Pooh and the Royal Birthday (17:23 minutes) or reading and discovering books About Penguins. Or try one of the books on this Penguin Books for Kids list or watch BBC’s Best of Penguins  (17:02 minutes). Kick this month out of the ballpark and you are well on your way to a healthier, productive year, making sure you find renewal by practicing kindness meditations, too!

Dates to Remember