New Year Choices
New Year is a stepping stone to the future
by Rebecca Parkinson
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To encourage us to use the start of a new year as a stepping stone towards making good choices in our lives.
Preparation and materials
You will need some items of clothing that you would wear in ‘opposite’ situations, such as a swimming costume and a warm coat; scruffy gardening clothes and a suit or dress; and a sunhat and a woolly scarf and gloves.
If you cannot get hold of these, have available your selection from the following images and the means to display them during the assembly:
- a swimming costume, available at: http://tinyurl.com/zhgczqg
- a warm coat, available at: http://tinyurl.com/hfpy6xr
- scruffy gardening clothes, available at: http://tinyurl.com/gkw4dpd
- a dress, available at: http://tinyurl.com/j6on559
- a sunhat, available at: http://tinyurl.com/z8ls2ew
- a woolly scarf and gloves, available at: http://tinyurl.com/ztee3a3
You will also need the following words printed or written on six pieces of card: ‘Helpful’, ‘Unhelpful’, ‘Persevere’, ‘Give up’, ‘Kind’ and ‘Unkind’.
Optional: you may wish to display the ‘Top ten UK resolutions for 2016’ list (available at: http://tinyurl.com/h333u9q) in the ‘Assembly’, Step 2, in which case you will also need the means to do so.
Ask the children what it means to make a New Year’s resolution. Ask them if they can tell you some New Year’s resolutions that are commonly made.
Explain to the children that a survey was carried out that looked at the top ten New Year’s resolutions in the UK for 2016 (available at: http://tinyurl.com/h333u9q). This is the list, with the most commonly made resolution at the top.
1. Do more exercise
2. Eat more healthily
3. Drink less alcohol
4. Learn new things
5. Lose weight
6. Focus on career
7. Nurture relationships
8. Stop smoking
9. Travel to new places
10. Give to charity
Explain that, unfortunately, New Year’s resolutions rarely last past the first week of January. However, even so, resolutions are good because they help us to identify areas that we realize need to change in our lives.
Show the children an item from one of the ‘opposite’ pairs listed in ‘Preparation and materials’ above. For example, you could show them the sunhat and ask them when they would wear it. They will probably suggest wearing it on a sunny day. Go on to ask them if they can think of an item of clothing that would be worn in ‘opposite’ weather. After a few guesses, show the woolly scarf and gloves or the image of them. Repeat this process for the other ‘opposite’ items.
Explain that, at the start of the year, we can make good decisions about what clothing we will put on in different situations. Likewise, we can make good choices now about the attitudes we will ‘put on’ for the rest of the year.
Show the six cards to the children. Ask for six volunteers to hold the cards and then ask the other children to help you put them into pairs so that the opposites are together (‘Helpful’ with ‘Unhelpful’, ‘Persevere’ with ‘Give up’ and ‘Kind’ with ‘Unkind’).
Explain to the children that, at the start of a new year, we have a good opportunity to make decisions about our attitudes for the rest of the year. Encourage the children to make good decisions that will do themselves and other people good in the future.
Time for reflection
In the quietness, let’s remind ourselves that we all make a huge difference to those around us. As we think about the new year, let’s consider what attitudes we want to have this year.
- How do you want to behave?
- How do you want to work?
- How do you want to treat other people?
The choices that we make today affect the future.
Thank you that we are all important and that each one of us makes a huge difference to the world around us.
Please help us to make good choices this year and to always see the value of each other.
‘One more step’ (Come and Praise, 47)