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'Hello, Scruff!' - a special friend


by the Revd Sylvia Burgoyne

Suitable for Key Stage 1 - Church Schools


To encourage children to be friendly and kind.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a glove puppet or sock puppet of a donkey, called Scruff.
  • As the assembly begins, ensure that you already have Scruff the puppet on your hand.


  1. 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, her dad, Farmer Brown and her baby brother, Tom. Added baby – and in next assembly! 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!

  2. Lucy Jane was in a bad mood. ‘Jazz is horrible, Scruff! He’s only small, but he’s always getting people into trouble. Yesterday, he punched Joe when we were in the playground and made him cry. Then he told Miss that Joe hit him first! Today, he pinched my felt pens. When I asked for them back, he dropped them on to the floor. I had to get down and pick them up and Miss said I shouldn’t be so careless! Jazz thought it was very funny! He’s horrible! Nobody likes him.  When I told Mum, you’ll never guess what she said.’

    Ask the children, ‘What do you think Lucy Jane’s mum said?’

    ‘She said that perhaps Jazz wouldn’t be so horrid if we talked to him and asked him to join in our games. Is she right, Scruff?’

    ‘Hee-haw! Hee-haw!’ nodded Scruff.

    Ask the children, ‘Do you think Lucy Jane’s mum is right? Should we try to be friends with everyone?’

    A few days later, Lucy Jane had a big smile on her face as she came into the stable after school. A small boy followed her. ‘This is Jazz, Scruff. He’s come for tea. First, though, will you give him a ride?’

    ‘Oh, yes! Please can I have a ride, Scruff?’ said Jazz.

    ‘Hee-haw! Hee-haw!’ nodded Scruff.

    Take Scruff off.

  3. Zacchaeus was a very short man. His job was to collect money from his people to give to the Romans, who were their rulers. No one liked the Romans, so they hated anyone who worked for them. They especially hated Zacchaeus, who asked them for a lot of money, then kept some for himself. He was a horrible cheat!

    One day, a big crowd was waiting in the street. Jesus was coming. Zacchaeus decided he would like to see Jesus, but there were too many tall people in the way. Then he had a good idea.

    Ask the children, ‘Does anyone know what it was?’

    He climbed up into a sycamore tree where he had a really good view. He could see Jesus coming nearer and nearer, but why was he stopping by the sycamore tree? Jesus had seen Zacchaeus peeping through the branches. He called up, ‘Come down, Zacchaeus! I’m coming to your house for tea!’

    Zacchaeus couldn’t believe it. Nobody ever came to his house. Nobody liked him!

    Ask the children, ‘Do you think Jesus liked Zacchaeus?’

    Jesus knew Zacchaeus was a cheat, but he still loved him. Zacchaeus knew he was a cheat, too, and, because Jesus loved him, he decided he would give back the money he had stolen. In future, he would be a better person.

Time for reflection

Think about the two stories we have heard for a moment.

Are you sometimes unkind, unloving, mean to your friends and other people? 

Dear Jesus, 
Thank you for loving us even when we are not very good. 
Help us to try and put the wrong things right. 


‘Zacchaeus was a wee little man’ (Come and Praise Beginning) is at

Publication date: January 2014   (Vol.16 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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