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St David's Day: 'Do the little things in life' (1 March)

To consider St David’s well-known saying, ‘Do the little things in life.’

by Manon Ceridwen Parry

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider St David’s well-known saying, ‘Do the little things in life.’

Preparation and materials

  • A stack of coins – either by collecting them yourself and distributing them to willing participants before the assembly starts or, if there are several adults who will be present at the assembly, by asking them beforehand if they are willing to give you their small change (which you will eventually give to charity!).
  • The story of St David can be found here
  • For the reflection, a candle and matches.


  1. Ask the children about pocket money and, if they get it, what they enjoy spending their money on. For example, how much is a bar of chocolate or their favourite little toy?

    Can they afford what they want to buy from week to week or do they have to save?
  2. Ask the people you have briefed beforehand to hand over some of their small change (or the coins you have given them). This is more effective if you pretend that it is spontaneous – the children might well find it amusing that you are taking money away from their teachers!
  3. As you go about collecting the money, explain that 1p or 2p doesn’t mean very much to us, but counted all together this comes to an amount that you can do something with.

    Count the money quickly (or estimate how much it is likely to be). Explain that we don’t really miss a 1p or 2p piece from our pockets/purses. But with the money collected in this assembly you could buy a bar of chocolate, or a little toy (if there’s enough). All the throwaway change has come together to make a good amount of money. Make a joke that you can use it to buy your favourite chocolate bar . . .
  4. Explain that there is a saying, ‘Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.’ This is very similar to an important Welsh saying.

    Depending on the context of the school, explain, if needed, about David being the patron saint of Wales and that his special day is 1 March, the day on which he died.

    David’s most well-known saying was, ‘Do the little things in life.’

    ‘Do the little things in life’ was one of the last things David said in public. It has continued to be an important saying in Welsh.
  5. So what did David mean? He meant that it is important to show love and care in small, everyday ways.

    We may think that each time we do something that’s kind or helpful, it’s too small to be important or to make a difference. But our small, loving, kind words or actions mount up and build into something bigger, just like this pile of coins.
  6. On 1 March people all over Wales celebrate St David’s Day.

    Welsh people, wherever they are in the world, wear a daffodil or a leek (symbols of Wales) and to celebrate the day, schoolchildren wear traditional Welsh costume and even sometimes Welsh rugby tops.
  7. It’s important to celebrate our identity and our history, whoever we are and wherever we come from. However, we can all learn from David’s words. ‘Do the little things in life.’ Doing small acts of love and kindness can make a huge difference.

Time for reflection

Place the coins on a table and light a candle next to them.

Explain that you will give the coins to a charity (maybe one that the school supports).

Talk about the difference the money will make. A penny would not have made much of a difference, but the more pennies we all give, the more we can do to help other people and make their lives better.

Dear God,
help us to do the little things in life,
and to know that you turn our small acts of love and kindness
into acts that can change the world.


‘Guide me, O thou great Redeemer’ (Hymns Old and New (Kevin Mayhew), 188) or another Welsh song.

Publication date: March 2013   (Vol.15 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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