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Encouraging a positive whole-school attitude

by Margaret Liversidge

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To give children a perspective, in an easy recall fashion (acrostic), of some of the positive elements/aspects of their school life. This assembly could be relevant in encouraging a more positive whole-school attitude after, perhaps, a difficult incident. It could also offer a beginning-of-term focus or mid/end-term opportunity for reflection.

Preparation and materials

  • OHT or flip-chart prepared with the word SCHOOL written vertically as an acrostic (see below). Blank OHT or flip-chart page and pen.


  1. If appropriate, refer to and encourage reflection and feedback from the children with regard to a particular incident, or a difficult or significant time.
  2. Ask what is the opposite of 'positive' - 'negative' - and spend a few moments talking about how different, and how much better, life can be if we have a positive rather than a negative attitude. Take several suggestions as to ways in which we might demonstrate a negative attitude at school; expand that this is a problem adults have as well as children! Explain that today in assembly we are going to think of six positive things that school means to us individually.
  3. Brainstorm six ideas as to what school means to the children, encouraging personal thoughts that do not need to relate to, or include, anyone else. Prepare to record the children's contributions on the OHT or flip-chart for all to see. Use the prefix 'At our/my school I am...'.
    Verbally prefix all the contributions the same way, e.g. 'At my school I am busy/happy/interested'. Simplify and record the responses.
  4. Move on to presenting the pre-prepared acrostic, revealing one line at a time with a brief explanation in context. Ensure that the children respond collectively, repeating the word after the prefix 'At school I am...'. The suggested acrostic, which can be adapted, is:
    At school I am:

    S    Safe
    C    Challenged
    H    Happy
    O    Optimistic
    O    Outgoing/orderly
    L    Learning
  5. Recap on all six points of the acrostic with the children joining in. If time allows, encourage volunteers to come to the front and recite the six points, with prompting as needed.

Time for reflection

Lead a brief time of reflection on each point, suggesting that the children ask themselves if they feel safe/happy, etc.. Encourage them to consider the difference a positive attitude could make to each day and remind them that they can approach teachers or good friends if they have problems they wish/need to discuss.

Dear God,
Thank you that at school we have the opportunity to be safe,
challenged, happy, optimistic, outgoing and learning.
Please help us to remember to adopt a positive attitude towards our work and our play.


'Prayer of St Francis' (Come and Praise 2, 147).

Curriculum links


Publication date: September 2000   (Vol.2 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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