Learn All You Can!
by Alison Thurlow
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To encourage a positive approach to learning (SEAL theme: Going for goals).
Preparation and materials
- Familiarize yourself with Ishmael’s song, ‘When Jesus was a little child (250 Songs for Children’s Praise & Worship, Kingsway, 2006).
- You may wish to have available the verse from Proverbs 19 and/or the concluding thought, both given in the ‘Time for reflection’ section, to display, but this is optional.
- Introduce the assembly by saying, ‘We are going to be thinking about learning and making the most of our time at school.’
- Ask the children if they have noticed how some adults, when they are trying to encourage them to work hard, start by telling them about some of their regrets. They say things such as, ‘I wish I had worked a bit harder when I was at school!’
Ask the children if they can think of any regrets that their parents, grandparents or other carers have told them about – times when they have said, ‘I wish I had . . .’ or ‘I wish I hadn’t . . . when I was younger.’ (Have a couple of your own regrets up your sleeve to get the ball rolling, if necessary.)
- Comment that, although some of these regrets can seem a bit boring, they are usually said with the best of intentions – parents and teachers just want to encourage children to get the most out of their time at school.
- Explain that you are now going to tell a story from the Bible about where Jesus went to learn when he was a boy.
Jesus at the temple
Jesus grew up in the home of Mary and Joseph. Joseph was a carpenter and it is likely that Jesus would have helped him sometimes, so he would have learned how to use different tools and how to make things out of wood.
Jesus also spent some time at school. The sort of school he would have gone to would have been run in the local temple or synagogue, which is a Jewish church building, and the teachers would have explained about reading, writing and God to the children who were there. Jesus would have gone to this sort of school, like many other children, and made the most of his chance to learn.
Once a year, all the people in Jesus’ village went to Jerusalem for a few days for a special celebration. Mary and Joseph took Jesus and they all had a good time. As they were on their way home, however, Mary suddenly realized that Jesus was not with her, so she asked Joseph if he had seen the boy. Joseph couldn’t see him anywhere and suggested that they should go back to Jerusalem to find him.
Mary and Joseph worried about Jesus as they rushed back to the city. Where could he be? They started to search the rooms where they had stayed and the roads nearby.
Eventually, they decided to have a rest in the temple, the huge synagogue at the heart of the city. As they entered the building, they spotted Jesus there, sitting on the floor talking to the priests!
As they went closer, they heard him asking questions, finding out as much as he could, listening and learning all the time. The priests were really impressed with all that Jesus knew and his eagerness to learn more.
As Mary and Joseph set off back home with Jesus, they asked him why he had been there. ‘Didn’t you realize that I would be there, in God’s house, learning more about God?’, he said.
Time for reflection
Ask the children what they think or suggest that there are at least two important things we could learn from the story:
– Jesus worked hard and was keen to learn.
- Jesus thought it was important to learn about God as well as reading, writing and other subjects.
Explain that, in another part of the Bible, you can find a collection of wise sayings called ‘proverbs’ and one of them says this:
Do yourself a favour and learn all you can (Proverbs 19.8, GNB).
Say that you think this is good advice and, if appropriate, conclude by saying you would like to leave them with this thought today:
Learn all you can while you are at this school. Learn about reading and writing, about maths and science, about history and geography about art and music, about PE and about lots of other things, but don’t neglect looking at the Bible and learning something about God, too, because this will help you to know how to treat people, how to behave and how to live a more fulfilled life.
Thank you for my school and all the people who work here.
Thank you for all the children who learn here, too.
Please help us to think more, listen more and learn more this year.
‘When Jesus was a little child’ (Ishmael, 250 Songs for Children’s Praise and Worship)