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Nothing Is Rubbish Part 1: Wonderful Rubbish!

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Pri) - Church Schools


To explore how even seemingly unattractive things can be transformed into something beautiful.

Preparation and materials

  • This is the first in a series of assemblies on the theme of ‘nothing is rubbish’. Some of the activities in the Follow-up ideas’ section can be developed in lesson time to provide the core illustrative material for the next assembly.

  • Gather bits of rubbish – cartons, bottles, paper, vegetable peelings, tin cans and so on – to form a pile to show the children at the beginning of the assembly.

  • Have available some images of artwork and sculptures and the means to display them during the assembly. Examples could include:

    - a metal peacock, available at:
    - an ornament made from recycled glass, available at:
    - a glass vase, available at:
    - fibreglass sculptures in Edmonton, Canada, available at:

  • Optional: prior to the assembly, work with some children to create some artwork using rubbish. For example, collages can be made with glue and a selection of coloured packaging, and log strips of plastic and paper rubbish can be used very effectively with nylon or plastic netting or fencing to create some woven rubbish art. Have the artworks to hand and their creators to one side ready to take part in the Assembly, Step 4.


  1. Show the pile of rubbish to the children.

    Ask them what the pile looks like and smells like. Is rubbish good or bad? Why might there be a pile of rubbish there? Who might have made the mess? Is there anything good about rubbish?

  2. The childrens responses will probably be negative. We sometimes feel a bit like this about ourselves. We dont feel great, we dont think we look good, we don’t think theres anything good about ourselves. We sometimes even say that we feel rubbish’ or that we are rubbish at doing something.

  3. Show the images of artwork and sculptures.

    Ask the children what words they can think of to describe them. The artwork and sculptures are beautiful and they make us feel good when we look at them because they are so attractive.

  4. Show the artwork that the children created from rubbish.

    Ask the children who made the artwork to come forward and explain what they have made, what materials they used and how they made it.

    Use the childrens work to conclude that, even though something can seem unattractive – like rubbish, something no one liked the look of – it can be taken and transformed into something beautiful. One piece of screwed-up rubbish stuck on a piece of paper is nothing special, but, by using care and combining that piece of rubbish with others, the rubbish can become part of something special.

Time for reflection

We all have things that we think are not that great about ourselves, but, together, we make up a valuable and beautiful part of a greater unit: we are all part of a family, a school, a community and, most importantly, part of Gods world.

Dear Lord,
What a wonderful world you have given us, full of wonderful things and wonderful people.
Even when we dont feel great about ourselves, help us to remember that we are still a wonderful part of your wonderful world.

Follow-up ideas

  1. Read the creation story from the beginning of the Book of Genesis to illustrate that God wanted people to be an important part of his world.

  2. Think about all the wonderful things that God has made and what we should do to look after each group: plants, animals and people.

  3. Think about the communities we live in, such as our school, town, country and faith group, and share ideas about who is important within that group. Encourage the children to identify reasons for each of them and each of us being important. What would the world or our community be like without us?

    Related activities 
  • Use rubbish to make collages or weave pictures.

  • Make a poster to show how we can look after our wonderful world.

  • Read stories such as Dinosaurs and All That Rubbish by Michael Foreman (Puffin, 1993) and Wonderful Earth by Nick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen (Chariot Victor, 1990).
Publication date: February 2018   (Vol.20 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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