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Josie, Jake and the wisdom necklace

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Reception / Key Stage 1


To demonstrate that parents and other adults can help children to become wise.

Preparation and materials

  • Familiarize yourself with the story. The story will be made more interesting if you replace the names of the characters with those of children in your class and also specific observations you have made of those children exercising wisdom.
  • You will need some coloured threading beads and cord or a whiteboard and pens, plus a copy of the Bible.


Tell the story.

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.

Josie and Jake had enjoyed their maths activities today. They had been sequencing by making patterns with different coloured beads.

Can you complete Josie’s pattern sequence – B Y R G B Y R G B _ _ _?

Either complete by threading coloured beads or writing this sequence on the whiteboard.

Can you complete Jake’s pattern sequence – Y R R B Y R R B Y _ _ B?

Demonstrate as above, ensuring the activity is appropriate to the age and stage of the class.

Mrs Donaldson had made a colourful display on the wall with all the children’s lovely bead sequences.

‘We could make necklaces with them’, suggested Josie.
Jake didn’t think much of that idea at all!
‘What a good idea!’ replied Mrs Donaldson.
Jake groaned.
‘Gather round children,’ said Mrs Donaldson. ‘I have something to talk to you about. We are going to make a wisdom necklace together.’

Show the copy of the Bible.

Mrs Donaldson continued, ‘This book, the Bible, is a very special book for Christian people. In it we find out about how much God loves us. We find out about Jesus and all the wonderful ways in which he helped people when he was on Earth. The Bible also gives us instructions about good ways to live our lives. In a book called Proverbs a very wise king called Solomon, one of the wisest men in all history, said this:

Listen my child to what your father teaches you
And do not let go of what your mother teaches you
These things will be like a garland for your head
And a necklace to adorn your neck.

I wonder what that necklace looks like? I’d like to show you what I think it looks like in our school today.’

Take a cord and some beads and add a bead each time some wise way of living has been displayed in the stories that follow.

‘I came in to school feeling a bit tired this morning.

Give an appropriate reason.

(Give the name of a known school colleague)
noticed this and said, “I’ll make you a nice cup of coffee. That will waken you up a bit!” That coffee did taste good and soon I was feeling wide awake and ready for work.

That was kind of my friend wasn’t it? When (name of colleague again) was a little girl her mum had probably told her many times about how it is important to care for others.’

Thread first bead.

‘Then I saw Jake came in to class with a big smile and a cheery, “Good morning Mrs Donaldson.” What a lovely start to the day! Jake’s mum had obviously taught him that it is polite to say, “Good morning” to adults.’

Add second bead.

‘Then Sami tried very hard with his writing, even though he made a few mistakes and had to do it over again. His dad had probably told him many times that he should work hard at school and try to always do his best.’

Add third bead.

‘Then I noticed Martha sharing her snack with Lois who had forgotten hers. Martha’s grandma had probably told her many times about how good it is to share with other people.’

Add fourth bead.

‘I also noticed Kevan watering the classroom plants without even being asked and Grace picking up some litter from the floor. Their mums and dads had obviously taught them about taking responsibility for and looking after things around us.’

Add fifth and sixth beads.

‘Last of all, even though Jake really did not want to make a necklace, he came and sat down and has listened carefully to the lesson. Jake, I think your mum and dad have taught you to cooperate and do as you’re asked! Well done.’

Add seventh bead. Put the finished necklace around one child’s neck.

‘So, children, I can see that you have been listening to all the wise things that your mums and dads and other adults in your life have been telling you and I can see that it is making you into very lovely children!’ 

Time for reflection

What wise things have your mums and dads or whoever looks after you taught you?
How will you be wise today?

Dear God,
Thank you for all the children and adults in our lives who teach us good things. 
Help us to grow up to be wise. 

Publication date: June 2014   (Vol.16 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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