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A Birthday for Pooh Bear

It is 90 years since the first publication of Winnie-the-Pooh

by Claire Law

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To celebrate 90 years of A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh and to consider what we can learn from the characters in the book.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Winnie the Pooh) and the means to display them.

  • Have available the YouTube video ‘The Mini Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: Stuck at Rabbit’s House’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 2.32 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDm3NlSSJyg
  • Optional: you may wish to download the story of Winnie-the-Pooh and the Royal Birthday from: http://tinyurl.com/jgvav5r. Scroll down the page to download a PDF file of the complete illustrated story, or scroll down further to download a recording of Jim Broadbent reading the story.

Assembly

  1. Show Slide 1.

    Welcome the children to the assembly and ask them if they recognize the characters on the slide. Ask the children if they know in which books the characters appear and if anyone knows the name of the author.
  2. Explain that October 2016 marked 90 years since the first publication of A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh, which he followed with The House at Pooh Corner two years later. These books became classics, and many other Winnie-the-Pooh books have been written since then. All are much loved by both children and grown-ups alike. You may be more familiar with the Disney films, which were first released in 1966. However, the original books, featuring illustrations by E. H. Shepard, are still hugely popular today.

  3. Show Slide 2.

    In fact, to celebrate the fact that both Winnie-the-Pooh and Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II both have their 90th birthdays in 2016, a special book featuring Winnie-the-Pooh and the Queen has been produced in the same style as the original. You may wish to download the story of Winnie-the-Pooh and the Royal Birthday from: http://tinyurl.com/jgvav5r.

  4. Show Slide 3.

    Point out that the slide shows the original cover of one of A. A. Milne’s books.

    Show the following clip of ‘The Mini Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: Stuck at Rabbit’s House’. It is 2.32 minutes long.



  5. Explain that the characters in the Winnie-the-Pooh books all have distinct personalities, each revealing both strengths and things they find difficult. Ask the children to think about themselves as they consider each of the main book characters, by asking the following questions.

    - Am I a bit like that character?
    What can I learn from that character?

  6. Show Slide 4.

    Perhaps you are someone a bit like Owl? Owl is known for his wisdom - in fact, he is the wisest of all of the animals living in the Hundred Acre Wood. His intelligence is often called upon to help Winnie-the-Pooh. He is always forthcoming in offering his advice, opinions and experience - even if others don’t want to hear them!

    - Are you someone who has plenty of ideas, advice and wisdom that you generously share with others?
    Are you someone who helps others when they are in difficulty?
    What can we learn from the character of Owl?

  7. Show Slide 5.

    Perhaps you are someone a bit like Eeyore? He is a small donkey, stuffed with sawdust. He is an intelligent animal, but tends to keep to himself. He is known to be extremely gloomy and a thinker. He does not rush to do things, but takes his time.

    - Are you someone who enjoys being in your own company?
    Are you someone who thinks deeply?
    What can we learn from the character of Eeyore?

  8. Show Slide 6.

    Perhaps you are someone a bit like Piglet? Even though Piglet is small, he is a very brave animal. What he loves doing best is going on adventures with Pooh. He is fond of bright colours and balloons, and he likes blowing dandelions. The first thing that Piglet says to himself when he gets up in the morning is, ‘I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?’

    - Are you someone who loves adventures?
    Are you someone who has an inner courage?
    Are you someone who delights in the colour and beauty of life?
    What can we learn from the character of Piglet?

  9. Show Slide 7.

    Perhaps you are someone a bit like Tigger? He is a very Bouncy Animal and resembles a tiger. He is always in an electrifying and exuberant mood, and loves to bounce, bounce and bounce. He looks to make the most of what life has to offer and says that the most wonderful thing about Tiggers is that ‘I'm the only one!’ He takes a lot of pleasure in being able to ‘unbounce’ some of the other animals in the Hundred Acre Wood.

    - Are you someone who loves to exercise?
    Are you someone whom people describe as ‘unique’?
    Are you someone who wants to make the most of life?
    What can we learn from the character of Tigger?

  10. Show Slide 8.

    Or maybe you are someone a bit like Pooh Bear? He is a small, golden bear of very little brain, he does a lot of silly things and his love for honey is endless. He is friends with everyone in the Hundred Acre Wood. The first thing he says when he gets up in the morning is, ‘What’s for breakfast?’ Things he likes to do include exercising in the morning, going on adventures with Christopher Robin or Piglet and visiting friends.

    Are you someone who loves being with friends?
    Are you someone who loves adventures - especially with others?
    Are you someone who keeps going, even if you make a mistake?
    What can we learn from the character of Pooh Bear?

Time for reflection

Although the Winnie-the-Pooh stories are classified as children’s literature, there are many lessons that people of all ages can learn from them. Let’s look at some short quotations from A. A. Milne’s stories and consider what they might mean.

Show Slide 9.

Read out the quotation, or ask a child to read it.

This quotation is all about gratitude - being grateful. Piglet is optimistic and delights in the simple joys of life. Although he is small in size, he is full of gratitude. How can we foster a greater sense of being grateful today, for our food, friends, family, teachers and home?

Pause to give the children time to reflect on something for which they are grateful today.

Show Slide 10.

Read out the quotation, or ask a child to read it.

This quotation asks us to think about love. Love is not something that is related to our intelligence or our abilities. Love is a feeling that all of us want to feel and enjoy. How can we show love to others?

Pause to give the children time to reflect on how they can show love today.

Show Slide 11.

Read out the quotation, or ask a child to read it.

This final quotation is from Piglet. Despite his small size, he knows that, to fully experience life, he needs to get out there and live it. He is proactive - willing to take risks and have a go.

Pause to give the children time to reflect on something new that they might have a go at today.

Prayer
Dear God,
We thank you for people who write books that fuel our imaginations and bring us joy.
Thank you for people who have the gift of illustration, bringing story books to life.
Thank you for the different personalities you have given to us.
Thank you that each of us is different and each of us is special.
Please increase our understanding of others who might be different from ourselves.

Amen.

Publication date: December 2016   (Vol.18 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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