Being a Friend
An assembly in the ‘Hello, Scruff!’ series
by Revd Sylvia Burgoyne
Suitable for Reception / Key Stage 1
To consider the importance of being kind to everyone.
Preparation and materials
You will need a glove puppet or sock puppet of a donkey, called Scruff.
As the assembly begins, ensure that you already have Scruff the puppet on your hand.
Scruff waves to the children. Encourage them to say, ‘Hello, Scruff!’
If this is the first time the children have met Scruff, you will need to use the following introduction.
Scruff lives on a farm with Lucy Jane, her mum, Mrs B, her dad, Farmer Brown, and her baby brother, Tom. Lucy Jane loves Scruff. She looks after him. She plays with him and she talks to him – when she’s happy and when she’s sad. Scruff is her best friend!
Lucy Jane ran into the stable to tell Scruff about the new girl in her class.
‘She’s called Maddy Scott,’ Lucy Jane explained. ‘She’s got a lovely smile, but she is quite quiet. She moves around in a wheelchair because her legs don’t seem to work very well. I’m going to ask Mum if we can invite her for tea. Do you think that’s a good idea, Scruff?’
‘Hee-haw! Hee-haw!’ nodded Scruff as Lucy Jane ran back towards the house to talk to her mum.
Ask the children if there is anyone new in their class at school. How could they make them feel welcome? Could they be their friend?
When Lucy Jane arrived home from school with her mum the next day, Scruff saw another car pull into the farmyard behind them. A lady got out, unfolded a wheelchair from the boot and lifted a little girl into the chair. It was Lucy Jane’s new friend, Maddy.
‘Come on!’ said Lucy Jane, in an excited voice. ‘Let’s go across to the stable. There’s someone who is waiting to meet you!’
‘I’ll bring some drinks and biscuits out,’ shouted Lucy Jane’s mum as the girls moved across the farmyard towards the stable.
‘Thanks, Mum,’ shouted Lucy Jane.
Maddy watched as Lucy Jane gave Scruff a big hug, and began to gently brush his coat.
‘Would you like to give Scruff his carrot, Maddy?’ she asked.
Maddy hesitated at first, feeling rather nervous. But then she nodded and bravely held out the carrot. Scruff took it gently, and when he’d eaten it, he put his head down so that Maddy could reach him.
‘He likes you,’ said Lucy Jane. ‘He wants you to stroke him.’
Maddy gently stroked Scruff’s head.
‘Hee-haw! Hee-haw!’ said Scruff loudly, making both of the girls jump and giggle.
Scruff followed the girls across to the picnic table where Lucy Jane’s mum had placed the drinks. The girls chatted as they nibbled their biscuits and the two mums joined them.
‘Guess what, Mum?’ said Maddy. ‘I fed Scruff a carrot and he let me stroke his nose. It was all warm and soft!’
Suddenly, Lucy Jane jumped up in the air.
‘I’ve had a great idea!’ she announced. ‘Why doesn’t Maddy have a ride on Scruff’s back?’
‘Oh, Mum!’ shouted Maddy. ‘Can I? I’ll be careful!’
‘He is a very gentle animal,’ said Lucy Jane’s mum, reassuringly. ‘I think Maddy would be quite safe.’
Maddy’s mum nodded. ‘Why not?’ she said, jumping up and lifting Maddy out of her chair and onto Scruff’s back.
‘Hold on tight!’ shouted Lucy Jane as she led Scruff slowly around the farmyard.
Maddy began laughing and patting Scruff. Lucy Jane laughed, too.
‘I haven’t seen Maddy look so happy in ages,’ whispered her mum when the girls were at the opposite side of the yard. ‘It’s hard arriving in a new school when you don’t know anyone. Lucy has made a big difference to her. She is a good friend.’
Lucy Jane’s mum smiled happily. She was very proud of Lucy Jane.
‘Scruff is a very special friend, too,’ she said, and everyone laughed as Scruff said ‘Hee-haw! Hee-haw!’ very loudly!
Take off Scruff.
There is a story in the Bible about a man who couldn’t walk, but who had some very good friends. We don’t know the man’s name, but for today, we are going to call him Joshua.
Joshua couldn’t walk. One day, he was lying on his mat, feeling sad, when suddenly, his four friends arrived. They seemed very excited!
‘We’ve heard that Jesus is coming to town!’ they announced. ‘We’ve heard that Jesus has made some people walk again and we are going to take you to see him!’
The friends picked up Joshua’s mat and carried him to the house where Jesus was. However, when they arrived, the house where Jesus was staying was full of people. The friends looked at one another sadly. What could they do?
Ask the children if they have any ideas.
The friends carefully carried Joshua on his mat up the outside steps of the house and onto the roof.
Ask the children what they think might happen next.
The friends made a hole in the roof and lowered Joshua on his mat through the hole, until he was lying on the floor in front of Jesus. Jesus looked up at the four friends who were peeping through the hole and smiled. Then, he looked down at Joshua and said kindly, ‘You don’t need to be unhappy any more. Get up, roll up your mat and walk.’
To everyone’s surprise, Joshua jumped to his feet and began to walk. ‘Thank you!’ he shouted, as he ran out of the house to find his friends. I hope they mended the roof before they went home to celebrate!
Time for reflection
The people in the Bible story were good friends. Their friendship led to something wonderful happening.
It is wonderful to have friends. However, sometimes, people struggle to make friends or they arrive in a new place and feel very lonely.
Ask the children the following questions.
- Is there anyone new in your class?
- How could you help them?
- What would you do if you saw someone alone in the playground?
- Is there someone whom you could help today?
Thank you for our friends.
Thank you that they cheer us up when we are sad.
Thank you that they laugh with us when we are happy.
Please help us to be good friends to others.
Please help us never to leave people out, but to look for ways to include others in everything that we do.
‘Cross over the road’ (Come and Praise, 70)