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Change and growing up

by Alison Thurlow

Suitable for Reception / Key Stage 1


To look at change in a positive light (SEAL theme 7: Changes).

Preparation and materials

  • You will need sets of images of the following and the means of showing them:
    – caterpillar and butterfly
    – tadpole and frog
    – cygnet and swan
    – foal and horse
    – seed and plant
    – baby, child and adult.

  • Familiarize yourself with the story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19.1–10).
  • Choose a version of the above story that would be good to read aloud, such as ‘Jesus and the Taxman’ from Bob Hartman’s The Lion Storyteller Bible (Lion, 2013).
  • Also familiarize yourself with Ishmael’s song, ‘When Jesus was a little child’ (250 Songs for Children’s Praise & Worship’,Kingsway, 2002).


  1. In this assembly we’re going to be thinking about the theme of change and we’ll start things off with a little quiz.

    I’ve got some pictures for you to look at of things that change. Can you tell me what is in each picture, then what each thing changes into? 

    The children should note that the caterpillar changes into a butterfly, the tadpole into a frog, the cygnet into a swan, the foal into a horse, the seed into a plant and the baby into a child and then into an adult.

  2. If you think about it, you have all taken part in the last change. A few years ago you were all tiny babies and now you are all quite big children! 

    We’re going to think a little bit now about how you have all changed since you started at this school. 

    Ask the children to turn to the person next to them and quietly tell each other about how they have changed since they started in Reception. Ask a few of the children to share their answers.

  3. We’re going to hear a story from the Bible about a man called Zacchaeus. Listen carefully and see if you can hear how Zacchaeus changed during this story. 

    Tell the story of Zacchaeus in an interactive way that requires the children to join in – maybe bending over a little, as if shrinking, every time you say the word ‘small’, pulling a mean face when you mention Zacchaeus’ name, pulling a sad face when you mention the people he cheated and so on.

  4. Can you tell me how Zacchaeus changed during the story, from how he was at the beginning to how he was at the end? How do you think he was able to make such a big change?

  5. Point out that this is a good story because it shows everyone can change for the better, if they want to.

Time for reflection

We’ve talked about two sorts of change today: the kind that just happens to you as you grow up and the sort that needs to happen if you have done something that wasn’t so good and you would like to behave in a better way in the future.

Now, let’s just sit quietly and think about two more kinds of changes and how we can handle them in the same way.

– Try to enjoy the changes in your new class in September and have a go at lots of new things!
– Is there anything in the way you behave or treat other people that really needs to change for the better when you come back in September?

Dear Lord,
Thank you that you helped Zacchaeus to become a nicer person.
Thank you that you will help us to change, too, if we ask you.
Please help me to enjoy my new class in September.



‘When Jesus was a little child’ (Ishmael’s song, 250 Songs for Children’s Praise and Worship, Kingsway, 2002)

Publication date: July 2014   (Vol.16 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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