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The old stone wall (Shelter)

To show the importance of shelter to all living things.

by Jan Edmunds

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To show the importance of shelter to all living things.

Preparation and materials

  • Large piece of stiff card to make an ‘old stone wall’, large enough for the children to hide behind.

  • Stiff card for the creature-shapes listed below, and a length of dowel rod for each ‘creature’.
  • Make model as follows:

    Paint the card to look like an old stone wall. It could be mounted on a table or tables put on their side to give stability. Some autumn leaves could be spread in front.

    Draw and paint the following creatures on stiff card: a horse’s head, a spider, a fly, a chrysalis, a butterfly, a lizard, a beetle, a bumblebee, several ants, a toad and a hedgehog. Cut them out and mount each on a piece of dowel rod.
  • The poem can be read by the teacher, used for choral speaking or divided into lines and presented by individual children. The reader will need to pause between each line to enable the creature mentioned to be held in place seemingly on the wall. (The hedgehog could be hidden by the leaves, then uncovered when mentioned, so need not have a stick.)
  • You could prepare children to read the poem.


This assembly takes some organizing but can be visually effective. It can be used as an art and craft project.

  1. Reader: Here is an old stone wall. It looks very plain but so much happens here. Listen to this poem and see if you can count the number of creatures that use its shelter.

    The Old Stone Wall
    By Jan Edmunds

    Tucked up in our beds at night we all feel safe and warm.
    We’re snug and cosy, feel secure, our shelter from the storm.
    Outside we see an old stone wall,
    Protecting creatures great and small.

    Close to the stones a grey horse stands while sheltering from the rain.
    He needs the wall’s protection till the sun shines through again.
    A spider waits upon its web. A fly crawls in a gap.
    It knows it can be safe inside away from threads that trap.

    A chrysalis is hidden there to change its shape one day.
    To turn into a butterfly, spread wings and fly away.
    The lizard crawls out in the sun, the stone wall keeps it warm.
    A shiny beetle crawls within, ants begin to swarm.

    A bumblebee’s been in and out throughout its busy day.
    Summer’s spent inside the stones before it flies away.
    The toad finds shelter in the wall until it’s time to spawn.
    It crawls out in the evening or in the early dawn.

    In the leaves beneath the wall the hedgehog finds a bed.
    It’s safe throughout the winter from where bigger creatures tread.
    So year by year the old wall stands to shelter one and all,
    It keeps them safe and warm and dry, whatever may befall.
  2. (Pause) How many creatures can you see? (Allow time to count and possibly discuss the answer.)

    : All living things need shelter as well as food, water and air.

Time for reflection

We all have homes where we can feel safe and warm. They may look very different both inside and out, but for most of us home is the best place in the world where we can be with the people we love.


We thank you loving Father for all your tender care.

For food and clothes and shelter and all this world so fair.

(Anonymous, from ‘Child Songs: Themes of worship for infants and lower juniors’ by Irene O’Brian, in Themes of Worship (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1969)).


‘In the bustle of the city’ (Come and Praise, 101)

Publication date: November 2010   (Vol.12 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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