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These legs were made for walking

To reflect upon the benefits and enjoyment of walking and support Walk to School initiatives (Walk to School Week: 17-21 May 2010).

by The Revd Alan M. Barker

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To reflect upon the benefits and enjoyment of walking and support Walk to School initiatives (Walk to School Week: 17–21 May 2010).

Preparation and materials

  • The presentation of this assembly could be accompanied by a display or PowerPoint presentation using images of large shoeprints, combined with:
    A globe or an image of the earth
    A sign bearing the name of your locality, or a local picture
    A hand weight or an image of a person exercising
    A bottle of bubble mix (to blow thought bubbles!) or an image of bubbles
    A flower in a vase or an image of beauty.
  • You might ask children to take part in the Time for reflection.

Assembly

  1. Do a quick survey of the ways in which the children have travelled to school. How many have caught a bus? Come by car? Ridden a bike? Or walked?

    (A class might complete a survey before the assembly and present the results.)

    Introduce the Walk to School initiative. Walk to School Week in the UK is held in May – this year it’s 17–21 May. (October is International Walk to School Month.)
  2. Reflect that in rural areas across the globe, where there are few ways of travel, children walk long distances to school. Many older people can recall walking considerable distances in rural areas of the UK to and from school in all weathers.

    (Children might undertake and record a brief interview with an older member of the community.)
  3. Suggest that while it may not be practical for everyone to walk to school, there would be real benefits if more people could. Using the PowerPoint presentation or gradually building the visual display, highlight the following:

    Walking is good for the planet. The fuel that cars and buses burn contributes to global warming. The more footsteps we take, the smaller our ‘carbon footprint’ will be. Walkers are also more aware of the environment. They notice different plants and creatures, and can observe the changing seasons.

    Walking is good for communities. Cars can make the area around a school gate dangerous and they can become a nuisance for people who live nearby. When we walk we meet other people, say ‘hello’ and get to know our neighbours. Walking can make towns and villages friendlier and safer places to live.

    Walking is good for our bodies. Exercise helps to keep us fit and healthy. It stretches our muscles, strengthens our hearts and lungs, and makes us feel better.

    Walking is good for our minds. A walk to school is a good way of waking up and focusing on the new day. Afterwards, the walk home can help us to relax and wind down. Walking can also exercise our brains and help us to think clearly! 

    Walking is good for our spirits. There are times when we need to slow down to appreciate the beauty of the world around us and to realize it’s good to be alive! The whole of life is like a journey, to be taken one step at a time.
  4. The Bible tells us how Jesus walked with his disciples. For example, the story of two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24.13–32) tells how the risen Jesus walked with the two followers who were very sad and upset. It was a long and tiring journey to their village but, when they arrived home, they had the joy of knowing that Jesus had been with them.
  5. Conclude by suggesting that our legs can enable us to be ‘all-terrain’ people. Walking can take us to wonderful places that cars cannot reach! Has anyone enjoyed walking to places other than school? An older child or member of staff might share their enjoyment of walking. Hidden tracks, high hills, and peaceful places (as well as school!) are all accessible if we remember that our legs are made for walking!

Time for reflection

Voice 1:  Dogs and cats have four.

Voice 2:  Beetles have six.

Voice 3:  Spiders have eight.

Voice 4:  Centipedes have … too many to count!*

Together:  A lot of legs!

Voice 1: We humans have just two – and learning to walk is a great achievement.

Voice 2:  No longer babies, we become toddlers and can explore the world around us.

Voice 3:  Along the path of life there are always new things to discover … by walking!

Voice 4:  And the first step of the journey is often the most difficult to take!

Voice 1:  Dogs and cats have four.

Voice 2:  Beetles have six.

Voice 3:  Spiders have eight.

Voice 4:  Centipedes have … too many to count!

Voices 1 and 2:  We humans have just two –

Together:  Legs, that are made for walking!

(* Note: Few centipedes actually have 100 legs. In the UK, the common centipede Lithobius forficatus has a mere 30!)

Song/music

‘One more step along the world I go’ (Come and Praise, 47)

Publication date: May 2010   (Vol.12 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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