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Josie and Jake and the heavy load

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Reception / Key Stage 1


To help children to appreciate that sometimes we need others to share our heavy loads.

Preparation and materials

  • Familiarize yourself with the story below.


Tell the following story.

Josie and Jake and the heavy load

Josie and Jake were friends. They had been friends in toddler group when they were just two years old, and they had been friends at nursery when they were three and four years old. Now they were big and grown up and in the Reception class/Year 1 and they were still friends. They had a lovely teacher called Mrs Donaldson.

The children in Mrs Donaldson’s class had been enjoying a project on transport.

On Monday, they had made a colourful pictogram showing their family cars. On Tuesday, they had drawn and labelled a police car that came to visit. On Wednesday, they had taken a trip on a bus to the local supermarket. At the shop, they had tested carrier bags to see how strong they were and had looked at the way in which supermarket trolleys worked. On Thursday, they had visited a building site and identified all the different vehicles working hard there. Josie and Jake had loved watching the forklift trucks and the diggers and the cranes. They were so powerful. They had also been surprised at the way builders carried bricks, in a special three-sided box on a long handle over their shoulder, called a hod. Josie counted eight bricks in the hod.

Today, Mrs Donaldson showed them that there was a right way to carry heavy loads and a wrong way. They had all practised picking up boxes by bending their knees. Then they learned that sometimes an extra pair of hands can help us to lift loads. Each child had paired up with a friend and rearranged the benches in the gym. That was great fun. Now Jake and his friends were playing on the mat with diggers and trucks and cranes, imagining they were builders.

‘Come and join us, Josie’, said Jake.

But Josie didn’t feel like it today. She was sitting by herself, quietly colouring in a picture of a digger. Mrs Donaldson noticed her.

‘Is there something wrong, Josie?’ she asked kindly.

With tears welling up in her eyes Josie replied, ‘I don’t want to go to the dentist this afternoon.’

Jake heard her and came over to the table.

‘Oh you’ll be fine, Josie. I was there with my mum last week. Mr Thomas is a nice man. He let me ride on his magic chair. It bends in different places and you can even lie right back and look at stars on the ceiling. Then there’s this mouthwash that tastes all tingly and you get to spit! Look at the sticker I got! You can choose any one you want from a big box.’

Josie smiled.

‘Really? What about a lollipop?’

‘No, he’s a dentist, silly!’

Josie laughed, ‘I was kidding.’

Mrs Donaldson smiled at Jake.

‘Jake, I don’t know if you’ll ever be a crane driver, but you have helped to lift a heavy load this morning.’

‘I have?’ said Jake.

‘Yes, Josie felt like she had a heavy load inside her heart. It wasn’t bricks or sand or shopping that was weighing her down, but something called worry and fear. You have shared that heavy load by telling her about your experience at the dentist and I think, by the look on her face, she is feeling better already.’

Josie nodded.

‘You see,’ continued Mrs Donaldson, ‘many people have heavy loads in their hearts – sometimes a heavy load of fear or sadness or worry. We can’t always tell this because these loads often hide in people’s hearts and just make them feel miserable. We know it is good and kind to share one another’s heavy loads and that having someone to share it with often means it is lifted off us. That’s what you did for Josie today, Jake.’

‘Just like how we lifted the benches together’, said Jake.

‘That’s exactly right!’ smiled Mrs Donaldson. 

For Church schools

Mrs Donaldson then gathered all the children together to share the lesson that Josie and Jake had learned. She told them that Jesus also knows all about heavy loads in our hearts. He told his friends to come to him whenever they were worried and anxious about anything and that he, too, would help them carry their heavy loads.

‘So, said Jake. ‘You’ve got two people to share your heavy load with, Josie – me and Jesus.’

‘Correct again, Jake,’ laughed Mrs Donaldson. ‘What a lot we have learned about loads today.’

Time for reflection

Are you carrying a heavy load inside your heart today?
Think about whom you could speak to about it.
Remember that Jesus is always there to help you, too. 

Dear God,
Thank you that you know all about heavy loads. 
Thank you that you care about us and know just what is going on in our lives. 
Thank you for putting people around us with whom we can share.
Thank you that you have promised always to be with us. 


‘Kum ba yah’ (Come and Praise, 68)

Publication date: December 2013   (Vol.15 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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