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Changes: A beginning of year assembly

To consider how changes and new experiences affect us (SEAL theme 1: New beginnings).

by Manon Ceridwen James (ne้ Parry) Our congratulations to Manon on her recent marriage

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To consider how changes and new experiences affect us (SEAL theme 1: New beginnings).

Preparation and materials

  • You will need three pairs of old and new objects that you own – one pair in which the new thing is clearly an improvement on the old; another pair in which the old and the new thing are about the same; and the final pair in which the old version has never been bettered by the new. It doesn’t matter what they are – they could be clothes, books, phones, ornaments, pictures – anything you own and can speak personally about.
  • For Church schools, as appropriate, print out the following verses and have them available to read out during the assembly:

    But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. . . . Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
    (Isaiah 43.1, 18–19)

    Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.
    (Hebrews 13.8)


  1. Talk to the children about the new school year. Have they changed classes, are they being taught by a new teacher? Explore how this feels - exciting, scary, fun . . . ?
  2. Tell the children that you have brought with you some old and some new things.

    First, bring out the pair of something old and new in which the new thing is much better than the old one. For example, I brought an old mobile phone and my current one. Discuss with the children how sometimes the new thing is so much better than the old version. For example, the new phone can surf the Web and looks so much nicer.
  3. Next, bring out the second pair of things, where the old and the new versions are similar and both desirable. For example, I brought an old and a new dress, both of which I like and wear. Explain how you can like something that’s old and still want to use it. Whatever you have brought, you may want to discuss further with the children which one they like best - for example, ‘I like the new dress because it’s more colourful’ and so on.
  4. Bring out the final pair of things, in which the old version is your favourite. I brought with me two recipe books - one brand new and the other well thumbed through and a bit battered. Explore with the children how you have tried the new version, but still keep going back to the old because it’s your favourite. For example, I spoke about how I had never found recipes that I liked as much as the recipes in the Delia Smith Complete Cookery Course, despite all the new recipe books I have by celebrity chefs.
  5. Discuss how sometimes a new thing isn’t as good as an old one. New experiences and changes can be like that - fun and exciting or scary and nerve-wracking or maybe all of those feelings altogether. We can feel sad when something changes, even when it’s something good.
  6. For Church schools, mention that the Bible also speaks about changes in all these different ways. We hear throughout the Old and New Testaments how God spoke to his people in different and new ways and encouraged those who followed his way to learn and try out new things. If appropriate, read out Isaiah 43.1, 18–19 (see above). Note that we also read how God is the same throughout history and doesn’t change – we can trust in him. Again, if appropriate, read out Hebrews 13.8 (see above).
  7. Discuss how change is a normal part of life and makes us feel different things. Sometimes a change is all good or all bad, but normally it is a mixture of these feelings. For something good to happen, sometimes we have to leave something behind. For example, it’s great growing up and going into a new class or making new friends. This doesn’t mean that we don’t miss our old friends or our old teacher and we don’t feel a little bit sad or a mixture of happy and sad about it.

Time for reflection

You may like to read out Isaiah 43.1, 18–19 again here.

Dear God,
We thank you for the happy changes.
Help us when we feel sad or mixed about something new and to know that you always stay the same.


‘He’s got the whole world, in His hand’ (Come and Praise, 19)

Publication date: August 2013   (Vol.15 No.8)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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