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The value of learning

To help the children appreciate the value of things they don’t have to pay for.

by Paul Sandford

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To help the children appreciate the value of things they don’t have to pay for.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need several types of CD with different values, e.g. computer software, ranging from those that cost hundreds of pounds to those that are ‘free’ (e.g. Windows Service Pack 3, which is free but essential).
  • A Bible.
  • A candle for Time for reflection.


  1. Introduce the idea that the true value of something may not be instantly visible on the outside.
  2. Invite some children up and ask each to hold a CD. Can they arrange themselves in the order of the cost of the CDs? Ask the other children if they think the order is right.
  3. Now ask them to guess the cost of each CD. Encourage them to guess more, or less, as the case may be, until they have it right. Continue with each CD, leaving the ‘free’ one till last. Rearrange the children with CDs as you do this. But where do we put the free ones? Although they are free, we may need them more than most of the others!
  4. Point out that their education is highly valuable, although it is ‘free’ to them. If appropriate, reflect on the cost of teachers’ salaries.
  5. Hold up a Bible and invite them to estimate the cost. Tell them that during the Coronation ceremony, the Queen was given a Bible with the following words: ‘We present you with this book, the most valuable thing the world affords.’
  6. Read Jesus’ words in this verse from the Bible: John 10.10. ‘The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life – life in all its fullness.’

    Ask the children what they think Jesus meant when he said that? How can life be ‘in all its fullness’? What might our lives gain to increase their fullness? Can we buy ‘life in all its fullness’? What part does a good education play in making our lives more full?

Time for reflection

Light a candle. Ask the children to think about the ways in which they could make other people’s lives more rich, more full. What will they need to do today, to make that happen?

Now think of all that school gives to you: education, friends, and time to be yourself. What would life be like without these things?

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for all the lovely things
you have given us that cost us nothing.
Help us to value the beauty of your creation,
the fun we have with friends
and the true worth of our school.
Help us to give to others, to make their lives more full.


‘The best gift’ (Come and Praise, 59)

Publication date: March 2010   (Vol.12 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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