Touch, Smell, Hear, See, Taste
A multisensory assembly
by Ronni Lamont
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To explore our senses in an outdoor assembly.
Preparation and materials
- Note that this assembly begins outside the classroom, ideally in a quiet area of your school playground or field. It requires a little bit of effort to prepare, but, once you have set up the stations, it would be easy to repeat.
- Set up the sensory stations as follows. Stations 1 to 4 need to be outside, but Station 5 is inside, in your ‘circle time’ area in the classroom.
– Station 1: touch A container (possibly a metal bowl or tray) with water, a pile of hand towels and a bin for disposal of used towels. A supply of water.
– Station 2: smell Some scented sticks, such as incense sticks, and something safe to place them in. They need to be lit before the assembly commences, then blown out so only the scent rises from them and there is no danger of burns.
– Station 3: hearing A small pile of pebbles, placed in a dish, and a (metal) jug to hold water, plus a supply of more water. Place the dish so that the water can overflow on to the ground.
– Station 4: taste Some small pieces of bread, ideally tiny ‘dough ball’-sized rolls, so each child can eat a separate roll, but check regarding allergies.
– Station 5: sight (in the classroom) Download the PowerPoint or gather your own images of nature and have the means to display them during the assembly. Light a large ‘church’-type candle, choose some quiet, soothing music and have the means available to play it during the assembly. A potted plant would be good here, but is not essential.
- You will also need a length of string or twine and strips of fabric, rectangular in shape, that can be tied around the twine or string to form a prayer or thought line.
- Ask some members of staff or other adults to be available to facilitate the assembly. Please brief them carefully to not tell the children what they are ‘meant to be experiencing’. It might be worth letting them try it out when the children are not there, so they understand what is required.
- Have available some tracks by Enya or other soothing, repetitive music and the means to play it during the assembly.
- Explain to the children that we are going outside for assembly today, coming back into the classroom for the last part.
- Next, they are to quietly put on their coats, then go out to the areas that have been prepared.
- Encourage each child to experience the first four stations, in any order – let the children choose where they go and when – and, preferably, in silence (if they can) or being very thoughtful.
– Station 1: touch Slowly pour water over one of your hands, then the other. What does this feel like?
– Station 2: smell Close your eyes and breathe in the scent of the incense stick. What images come to mind?
– Station 3: hearing Pour some water over the pebbles, at whatever rate you want. Listen. What does the sound make you think about?
– Station 4: taste Slowly eat one of the rolls, with your eyes closed, and think about the taste.
- Station 5: sight When the children have experienced all four outside stations, taking as long as they want, they come back into the classroom and sit in a circle (or however you want them). They can choose whether to look at the images, candle and plant or close their eyes and think about the assembly so far, listening to the music.
Time for reflection
Allow the children plenty of time to sit in quiet, with the images, candle and plant to look at and the music to listen to.
When they are ready to ‘come back’, show them the strips of cloth and explain that they are to help them think about the assembly. If they have a thought or feeling that they want to hold on to, then they can tie a strip of cloth around the string or twine to represent that thought or feeling. If they have a specific thought that is more like a prayer, then they can tie a strip of cloth in the same way to represent that thought or prayer.
When the children have each tied their strips (some may choose not to and that is fine), they may share what their cloth strip represents with the group.
When stillness returns, ask the children to close their eyes for a few more moments of silence.
To mark the close of the assembly, just say ‘thank you’.
Later in the day, hang the thought or prayer line in the room.
Tracks by Enya or other chosen music