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With glowing hearts

To celebrate the Winter Olympics and our feelings of pride in participation.

by The Revd Alan M. Barker

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To celebrate the Winter Olympics and our feelings of pride in participation.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need some images of winter sports, as found at (subject to copyright). The website contains up-to-date information on the Games.
  • (Optional) Some children’s ski hats and glasses, a small non-slip mat and some ‘medals’.


  1. Begin by referring to the Winter Olympics, which will be held in Vancouver, Canada, from 12 to 28 February. The Winter Olympics are held every four years, and sportsmen and women will be travelling from many different countries to join in the competition. Explain that they are called the Winter Olympics because the sports involved take place in cold weather, on snow and ice!
  2. Invite the children to share their knowledge of the sporting events. They include skiing (alpine, cross-country, and freestyle), skating (speed, figure, and ice dancing), sledging (bobsleigh, luge and skeleton) and snowboarding. Two other team events held on ice are ice-hockey and curling. 
  3. Explore some images from the Winter Olympics website. Note how the competitors are equipped with warm and brightly coloured clothing, many with goggles and helmets. Why? Refer to issues of warmth and safety.
  4. (Optional) Refer to the ski event called the slalom. A slalom is a ski race down a zig-zag course. Skiers take it in turns to race through lots of twists and turns marked by poles, or gates. Each skier is carefully timed. The fastest wins the gold medal! Explain that sometimes only a split-second separates the winners, and that the slightest mistake can cause a serious fall. Fast reactions and long hours of practice are essential!
  5. (Optional) Enjoy the fun of a ‘static slalom’. Invite a volunteer to put on the ski hat and glasses. Standing on the non-slip mat they must respond to directions to ski forward, left or right by making the appropriate movements (demonstrate this!).

    The same instructions should be given to several competitors. For example: forward – forward – left – right – left – left – forward – right – left – right – left – right – forward – left – right – right – left – forward – forward – forward!  

    The winner is the one judged to move most swiftly and smoothly – you could even set a clock running. Prizes might also be awarded for style and effort. Stage your own medal ceremony.
  6. At this point it may be appropriate to say that while the Winter Olympics are inspiring, the children should NEVER venture out onto frozen pools or ponds or sledge down hazardous slopes.
  7. The motto of the 2010 Winter Olympics is With Glowing Hearts. What might this mean? The motto invites everyone who is taking part to glow with pride. Athletes will naturally take pride in their performance.

    However, not everyone is an athlete. Pride arises from achievements of many different kinds. Officials and volunteer helpers will also be proud of their contributions. Without their hard work and planning there could be no Games. Canada will also feel a sense of national pride as the world watches the Games in Vancouver and on television across the world. One of the organizers has put it like this: ‘There’s a champion in everybody and the motto invites everyone to step up to their own podium and give their very best.’

    Invite everyone to take pride in a personal achievement or in the help that they have given within school or some other organization.
  8. Conclude by presenting any awards or certificates that have been attained by members of the school. Observe that both those who present awards and those who receive them do so ‘with glowing hearts’.

Time for reflection

Introduce the responsive words of praise used below, that arise from glowing hearts. The word ‘exalt’ means to ‘praise highly’ or, more loosely, ‘to take pride in’. Some images might be used to stimulate reflection.

Bless the Lord, all created things:

Sing his praise and exalt him for ever.

Bless the Lord, you mountains and hills:

Sing his praise and exalt him for ever.

Bless the Lord, frost and cold:

Sing his praise and exalt him for ever.

Bless the Lord, you ice and snow:
Sing his praise and exalt him for ever.

Bless the Lord, all people on earth:

Sing his praise and exalt him for ever.

(adapted from A Song of Creation, Alternative Service Book 1980)

Invite quiet gratitude for snow and ice that make us tingle with excitement – and for the pride found in work and sport that gives us glowing hearts.


‘Praise him’ (Come and Praise, 40)

Publication date: February 2010   (Vol.12 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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