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New places

To help children with ways of coping with being in a new place. To remind them of the Christian belief that God is with them always and everywhere.

by Jill Fuller

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To help the children identify ways of coping with being in a new place. To remind them of the Christian belief that God is present with them always and everywhere.

Preparation and materials

The leader needs to prepare an account, which could incorporate personal experience or be imaginary, about being in a new place. It could focus on moving house, or perhaps being on holiday, or a memory of changing schools.

Assembly

  1. Share the prepared story, giving opportunities for children to identify some of the problems, e.g. can't find where we keep the cereal in a new kitchen; don't know where the shops are in a new town; walking a different way to school from a new house; traffic travelling on the other side of the road in a new country.
  2. Explore feelings about new places: excitement and anticipation, new experiences; nervousness and a sense of losing the familiar landmarks and patterns which make for security; fears of getting lost or doing something inappropriate; frustration that things can take longer without familiar routines.
  3. Focus on the new places which the children may be experiencing for the first time: first day at school, first day in a new classroom, first day with a new teacher, or sitting in a new place or with a new group of children.
  4. Help them to share any hopes and fears about their particular 'new place' and empower the children to help each other. For instance:
    Jack: I'm worried about where to sit when we arrive in the morning.
    Leader (to children): Who knows what you usually do in Jack's class?
    Affirm them both in expressing concern about new places and in seeking or giving help.
  5. Remind the children that the friends of Jesus were often frightened or nervous about new experiences too. It was then that they had to remember the promise that Jesus made, to be with us in every new place, always, everywhere. Tell the children the words of Jesus: 'I am with you always, to the end of the world' (Matthew 28.20).

Time for reflection

In a moment of quiet, reflect on the opportunities and problems that your new place offers.
Think about how we can all help each other as we adjust to being in a new place.
Remember the promise of Jesus to be with us in every place.

Song/music

'A still small voice' (Come and Praise, 96).
'Lo, I am with you to the end of the world' (There is One Among Us: Shorter Songs for Worship, John Bell, Wild Goose Publications, ISBN 1-901557-10-3).

Curriculum links

  • Literacy: Reading or writing descriptive passages of places visited.
  • Numeracy: Exploring distance. How far is it to...? Plans and scale drawings.
  • Geography: Mapping, plans of classroom, school and local area.
  • Art: Painting places. Looking at different artists' impressions of the same or similar places.
  • Music: Music associated with places: Fingal's Cave, An English Country Garden, folk tunes from different places.
  • PSHE: Discussing respect for people's own place and space.
Publication date: September 2000   (Vol.2 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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