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Josie, Jake and the Easter egg hunt

The symbolism of the Easter egg

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Reception / Key Stage 1

Aims

To explore the symbolism of the Easter egg.

Preparation and materials

  • Familiarize yourself with the story in Step 2 below.
  • Have enough small, brightly wrapped Easter eggs to give two to each child – one early on in the assembly and another at the end. Check ahead of time if any children have allergies and ensure that there is an alternative treat for them, but preferably still an egg.
  • Precede this assembly with a lesson on prepositions and then a classroom Easter egg hunt, hiding the eggs ‘inside’, ‘under’, ‘on top of’, ‘between’’, ‘below’, ‘next to’ something and so on. As the eggs are found, ask the children to drop them into a basket to keep ready for the assembly.

Assembly

  1. Gather the children together to hear the story. Have the basket of Easter eggs ready, with the alternative treat for children with allergies, if necessary.

  2. Tell the story.

    Josie and Jake and the Easter egg hunt

    Josie and Jake were friends. They had been friends together in toddler group, when they were just two years old, and they had been friends at nursery, when they were three- and four-year-olds. Now they were big and grown-up and in primary school and they were still friends. They had a lovely teacher called Mrs Donaldson.

    Like you, Josie and Jake had just finished an Easter egg hunt in their classroom. Josie had found three eggs: one was under the table, one was inside a pencil case and the third was on top of the bookcase. Jake had raced around the room and found five eggs: one was hiding inside the teacher’s mug (Jake was glad that there was no coffee in it!), one was behind the plant on the windowsill, one was under a piece of paper, one was between two books on the library shelf and the fifth one was on top of the cupboard. Jake had had to stretch up really high to get that one! 

    The Easter egg hunt had been such an exciting activity for all the boys and girls and there had been little squeals of delight when yet another egg had been found. Soon Mrs Donaldson’s basket was full of brightly coloured eggs.

    ‘Please come and sit down in a circle, children,’ she said. ‘I have a story to tell you and I think you could all have an Easter egg to enjoy while I tell it.’

    Give each child an egg (or alternative) to eat while you carry on with the assembly.

    ‘Mary lived many years ago in a country called Israel. One Easter day she went on a hunt like you did, but she was not looking for Easter eggs. She was hunting for a person. 

    ‘Mary had lived a very sad life until the day she had met Jesus. Jesus had become her friend and she had spent many happy days in his company with the other new disciples, but, yesterday, Jesus had died. He had been cruelly killed. 

    ‘She still didn’t understand how this could have happened. Jesus was such a good man. He had cared for children, he had shown love to all sorts of people, he had healed those who were sick and taught everyone so much about God. How could anyone have wanted to hurt him? But they had. Yesterday he had been killed, his body laid in a tomb and a big, heavy stone had been rolled in front of the entrance. It had been a terrible day and Mary hadn’t slept a wink all night. She had such sadness in her heart. She had to go to the tomb. She had to be near Jesus even though he was dead.

    ‘Early in the morning, as dawn was beginning to break and all was still in the sleepy village, she left her house and made her way to the graveyard. What a shock awaited her! The big stone had been rolled away. She peeked inside the tomb and saw that there was no one there. Mary sat down on the ground, exhausted with grief. Where was Jesus? Where was her beloved Lord? She began to cry, great, racking sobs. This was all too much.

     ‘A man approached her quietly. She thought he was the gardener.

    “What’s wrong?” he asked kindly. “Why are you so upset?”
    “Oh, sir,” she replied, not even looking up. “They have taken my Lord and I don’t know where to find him.”
    “Mary!” the gentle voice said.

    ‘Mary recognized that voice! It couldn’t be! She lifted her head. It was! It was Jesus! 
    “Yes, Mary,” Jesus smiled, “it’s me, I am alive again.”

    ‘Mary whooped for joy, laughing through her tears, then she took off! Down the hillside she ran, as fast as her legs would carry her, to waken everyone up and tell them the wonderful good news that their friend Jesus was alive!’

  3. Ask the children if they understand now why they were searching for Easter eggs in class. Make sure they understand the significance of Easter eggs, that they are symbols of the Easter story. Eggs represent new life, so remind us of the new life that Jesus had when Mary met him outside the tomb.

Time for reflection

Explain that each child will be given another little egg as they leave assembly. You would like them to give this egg to someone who has not heard the story today. They might like to explain to this person why we eat eggs at Easter time.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you for sending your son, Jesus. 
Like Mary, we are so glad that he rose again and is alive today. 
Amen.

Song/music

‘Go tell it on the mountain’ (Come and Praise, 24)

Publication date: April 2014   (Vol.16 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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