'Hello, Scruff!' Harvest
Encourages children to think about sharing the harvest so all have food to eat.
by The Revd Sylvia Burgoyne
Suitable for Reception / Key Stage 1
To encourage children to think about sharing the harvest so all have food to eat.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a glove or sock puppet of a donkey, called Scruff.
- As the assembly begins, ensure that you already have Scruff the puppet on your hand.
- Scruff waves to the children. Encourage them to say, ‘Hello, Scruff!’
If this is the first time the children have met Scruff, you will need to use the following introduction.
Scruff lives on a farm with Lucy Jane, her mum, Mrs B, and her dad, Farmer Brown. Lucy Jane loves Scruff. She looks after him. She plays with him and she talks to him – when she’s happy and when she’s sad. Scruff is her best friend!
- It was harvest time on Farmer Brown’s farm. Lucy Jane and Scruff were in the orchard with Mrs B, picking fruit.
Ask the children, what kinds of fruit grow in orchards? Can they name some other fruits?
What do they think Lucy Jane was picking?
- It had been a good year for apples. Lucy Jane had put a saddle on Scruff’s back, with deep baskets fastened to each side. As her mum passed her the apples, Lucy Jane dropped ‘the eaters’ in one basket and ‘the cookers’ in the other.
You may need to explain what ‘eaters’ and ‘cookers’ are.
Once the baskets were full, she led Scruff back to the big barn and carefully laid the apples in the straw in boxes. They had already made four trips from the orchard and were feeling very tired.
- This time, Mrs B had followed them up from the orchard and, while Lucy Jane was busy in the barn, she went into the farmhouse kitchen and brought out some lemonade, biscuits and . . . a carrot, of course! ‘Hee-haw, hee-haw!’ nodded Scruff. They were all ready for a rest and a cool drink, so they sat at the picnic table in the corner of the farmyard.
‘What a lot of apples we’ve picked!’ said Mrs B.
‘We’ll never eat them all, Mum.’
‘I think you’re right, Lucy Jane. We could give some of them away to the Food Bank (you may need to sensitively explain what this is) in the village. Perhaps we could bake some apple pies.’
‘Ooh, yes!’ agreed Lucy Jane, who loved to roll out the pastry.
Ask the children, who likes baking? What have they made?
‘I’m sure Grandma and Grandpa would enjoy one . . . and there’s Mrs Khan up the lane.’
‘We’d better not forget old Mr Ali’, added Mrs B.
Between them, they soon had a list of people who they knew would enjoy a home-made apple pie.
‘Can we bake the pies tonight?’ asked Lucy Jane eagerly.
‘I think we’ve worked hard enough already today’, laughed her mum. ‘Perhaps tomorrow!’ ‘Hee-haw, hee-haw!’ agreed Scruff, loudly.
So that’s what they did. The next morning, Lucy Jane and her mum baked eight apple pies and bagged up some of the rosy red apples. Then, in the afternoon, they harnessed Scruff to the small cart, loaded with pies and bags of apples, and set off to share their apple harvest.
Take Scruff off.
- For Church schools.
There are lots of stories about Joseph in the Bible. Here’s one about harvests.
Joseph was in prison in a strange land, far away from the farm where he had lived with his dad and 11 brothers. One night, the ruler of the land, Pharaoh, had a bad dream. In it, he was standing by the River Nile when out came seven fat cows that began to eat among the reeds. After them, out of the river came seven very ugly, thin cows. They gobbled up the fat cows, but were still as ugly and thin as before.
Pharaoh had never seen such horrible animals. He woke up and wanted to know the meaning of his dream, but no one could tell him. Then one of the servants remembered Joseph. They had met in prison and Joseph had told the servant the meaning of his dreams.
Pharaoh ordered Joseph to be brought from prison. Joseph listened to Pharaoh’s dream and then Joseph said, ‘God has shown Pharaoh what is going to happen. The seven fat cows stand for seven years of bumper harvests, with more food than the people can eat. Then, for seven years, the seven thin cows are telling you that the harvests will be poor and the people will starve, unless . . .'
Joseph had told Pharaoh the meaning of his dream, but he continued boldly:
‘unless, in the good years, you store some of the grain in barns, then it will be there for the people to eat when there is nothing growing in the fields.’
Pharaoh thought this was an excellent idea. He liked Joseph and at once put him in charge of collecting the spare grain for seven years, then sharing it out in the next seven years. Joseph, the prisoner, thus became the most important person in the land, next to Pharaoh. Wow!
Time for reflection
How do we celebrate harvest? How can we share the harvest?
Thank you for harvest time,
for food to eat
and plenty to share.
‘Lord of the harvest’ (Come and Praise, 133)