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One step at a time

To celebrate achievements and affirm positive attitudes towards change.

by Alan M. Barker

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To celebrate achievements and affirm positive attitudes towards change.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need some blue sheeting or other cloth to represent water and sufficient paving blocks or bricks to construct a ‘river’ and a set of five stepping stones.
  • Search the Internet for a copyright-free image of stepping stones to use in this assembly.
  • Note that, to allow adequate time for involvement and reflection, this material could be used in a number of shorter assemblies.


  1. Welcome everyone to the last week of term and introduce the theme of stepping stones. Explain that, when there is no bridge, stepping stones provide a way across a shallow river. Invite two or three children to cross the stepping stones you have constructed, ‘one step at a time’.
  2. Go on to explain that, because stepping stones must be crossed in this manner, they are often used to describe the way in which new skills and understanding are gained – one step at a time. They also are a good image of making progress through life.
  3. Reflect that stepping stones can be a challenge. Sometimes they are wet and slippery, sometimes they seem a long way apart. It can be difficult to keep our balance. The encouragement and help of friends can mean a lot.  Invite a number of children to cross the stepping stones in line together. Note that we need to be thankful for friends who lend a helping hand.
  4. Invite the school community to use the stepping stones to celebrate the changes and achievement of the past year. Nominate someone to cross the stones – one step at a time – as members of their class recall some of the things that have been enjoyed and learned. Mention that we should be thankful for steps that lead to new experiences and understanding.
  5. Reflect that many members of the school community will soon be moving on to new classes – even new schools. Ask everyone how they feel about facing change. Observe that a range of emotions (and some anxiety) is only natural. Suggest that remembering our past achievements can help us to move on to enjoy further success. Encourage the children to have positive attitudes, declaring, ‘I can’, ‘I will’, ‘I dare’, ‘ I believe’, ‘I’ll try’, ‘I’ll succeed’, as they cross the stepping stones, one step at a time.

    Church schools, in addition, might reflect on the role of faith when facing change. Recall when the time came for Jesus to leave his friends and he asked them to remember what they had learned from him and share his message with people all over the world. It was a big step, so, to help his friends, Jesus said, ‘Remember, I am with you always’ (Matthew 28.20). You could invite some of the children to cross the stepping stones, repeating the text, a stepping stone at a time.

Time for reflection

Be thankful for the stepping stones of life:
– for  past achievements and the challenges that lie ahead
– for good friends and helping hands
– for new opportunities and the excitement of moving on together
. . .  one step at a time.


Lord Jesus,
Thank you for your promise: ‘Remember, I am with you always’.
Help us to know that to be true – yesterday, today and for ever.

Leavers’ blessing
We wish you well for the future.
Take pride in yourself.
Think of others.
Aim to do good.
Dream dreams. Don’t be discouraged.
Believe and be strong.
May the blessings of life and the blessings of God be yours today and always.


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

Publication date: July 2013   (Vol.15 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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