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Autumn Days

To reflect positively on the experience of change (SEAL theme 7: Changes).

by Alan M. Barker

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To reflect positively on the experience of change (SEAL theme 7: Changes).

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the words and music to the song ‘Autumn days when the grass is jewelled’ (Come and Praise, 4) so everyone can sing it at the beginning of the assembly.
  • A focus table could be created using some of the items described in the song, such as horse chestnut shells and their conkers, battered shoes, a frying pan, football scarf and so on – all surrounded by autumn leaves (optional).

Assembly

1. Enjoy singing the song ‘Autumn days when the grass is jewelled’ (Come and Praise, 4).

2. Observe that autumn is a season of change. Invite the children to consider the changes that can be seen, felt and even smelt in gardens, parks and the countryside. Leaves are changing colour, fields lie empty after the harvest, the newly dug earth has a distinctive fragrance, days are becoming shorter and cooler.
 
3. Refer to the words of the song. Focus on the seasonal changes described in the first two lines - heavy autumn dews and the discovery of conkers in their shells. Invite the children to spot other seasonal changes that are described, such as departing swallows, harvested apples and the appearance of the moon on a cold evening.

4. Observe that other changes have taken place since the song was first written in 1969. (You could comment that some of the teachers may have sung ‘Autumn days’ when they were at school and how they have changed!)  

5. Challenge the children to spot ways in which everyday activities described in the song have changed. In verse 2, lines 3 and 4, for example, not so many people have bacon for breakfast nowadays, Velcro fastenings have replaced shoelaces and most milk is bought from a local shop or the supermarket. In verse 4, lines 3 and 4, cars are more reliable – and is the home team winning or struggling?  

6. Allow the children to reflect on some of the changes that have taken place in school since the summer holidays, too, such as changes to classes, the arrival of new members of staff and children, new exercise books and topics. Identify the range of emotions experienced at times of change. Observe, too, that, while some changes can be challenging, we can also welcome the changes that each year brings. Encourage everyone to say a great big thank you for the new experiences of autumn days!

Time for reflection

A verse from the Bible (Psalm 107.1, The Message) says:Oh, thank God – he’s so good! Allow some moments for quiet reflection. Conclude with lines from a reflection by Dag Hammarskjöld, the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and a great thinker: For all that has been, thanks! For all that shall be, yes!You might like to sing ‘Autumn days when the grass is jewelled’ again as the children leave.

Song/music

‘Autumn days when the grass is jewelled’ (Come and Praise, 4)

Publication date: October 2013   (Vol.15 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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