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To show that everyone is capable of achieving. To help children understand every achievement is valued, however small.

by Rona Dixon

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To show that everyone is capable of achieving. To help children understand that every achievement is valued, by those who care about us, however small the steps.

Preparation and materials

  • A collection showing evidence of achievements, e.g. child's swimming certificate, music exam certificate, Cub/Brownie enrolment certificate, First Communion certificate, medals, cups, photos. Any evidence that shows a child is capable of achieving.
  • For 2. below you might choose to ask children in advance to bring in certificates, cups, etc. to the assembly.
  • OHP or flip-chart and pen.


  1. Ask the children what is meant by achievement. Write the key words of their answers on the OHP or flip-chart.

  2. Explain some of the different ways that achievement is charted. Share and explain the variety of certificates, photos, badges, cups, etc. Ask if any children have similar records of achievement, and ask them to hold up their certificates, etc. and explain briefly what they have achieved. If there are too many for individual explanations, ask the children to hold up swimming certificates, then maths certificates, cups, etc.

  3. Link these achievements with achievement in school and discuss how the school marks and recognizes achievement. Explain that achievement often occurs in small steps. Everyone is capable of achieving. Achievement often builds upon what we can do already.

  4. Introduce the story of Helen Keller (below) or some other well-known person who has had to work extra hard to achieve success. Although she faced great difficulties Helen Keller was able to live a remarkable life.

    The Story of Helen Keller

    She was born on 27 June 1880 in the United States. In 1882 she caught a fever and nearly died. As a result of this she could no longer see or hear, and had difficulty speaking. Before her illness she was lively and healthy, with a friendly personality. She could walk and say a few words. The fever cut her off from the outside world. Deprived of sight and sound she felt she had been thrown into dark prison cell, with no release.

    But Helen did not give up easily. She explored the world using her other senses. She hung onto her mother wherever she went. She touched and smelled everything. She felt people's hands to see what they were doing. She recognized people by feeling their faces. By the age of seven Helen had invented 60 different signs to communicate with family.

    She was extremely intelligent and sensitive, and was able to make some sense of a confusing world. But she had limitations. She wanted to talk but couldn't make herself understood. This made her angry and frustrated.

    As she grew older her anger and frustrations became worse. She became wild and unruly. When she was seven the family hired a private tutor, Anne Sullivan, a woman who had been blind since the age of five. She had attended a school for the blind and had displayed similar behaviour to Helen's. But after several operations her sight had been restored.

    Anne taught Helen to communicate by sheer willpower and using the manual alphabet (sign language). She spelt everything on her hands. She taught Helen a wide range of subjects she was interested in. As Helen became less aggressive she learned to read and write in Braille. She learned to lip read and to speak. Anne continued to teach Helen throughout her studies and went with her to college to be her interpreter. Helen proved to be a remarkable scholar, graduating from Radcliffe College in 1904.

    Helen was very religious and her faith led her to examine the world carefully. She realized that injustices in the world meant people were not treated equally. She became a suffragette, demanding equal rights for women and better pay for working-class people. She toured the country giving lectures. Eventually she became famous.

    (Facts taken from

  5. Relate the difficulties Helen Keller faced to the children's own experience, and consider the need to persevere. Ask the children to think about the word 'perseverance'. Can they think of a definition to explain its meaning? Discuss the saying, 'If at first you don't succeed, try and try again'.

Time for reflection

Dear Lord,
Help me to persevere
and overcome any difficulties I face in school.
Help me to keep trying.


'One more step along the road' (Come and Praise, 47)

Publication date: January 2002   (Vol.4 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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