Behind the Scenes
by Janice Ross
Suitable for Whole School (Pri) - Church Schools
To consider the important development of positive attitudes throughout time at school (SEAL theme 7: Changes).
Preparation and materials
- If at all possible, arrange for a simple questionnaire to be carried out by the headteacher before the assembly. Here are some examples of possible questions to include in it.
– What has been your greatest achievement this year?
– What do you think has been your most important learning experience this year?
– Where do you think you have improved in this year?
- You will also need a large, freestanding screen or display board, plus some large labels with words on them such as truth, kindness, patience, endurance, perseverance, thoughtfulness, love. Attach these large labels to strings and pin each of them to the top of the screen or board by the strings, hanging the labels behind the screen or board so they are hidden from sight. Each label can then be brought over the top from behind the screen or board when required.
- Prepare three of the older pupils to read the verses from 1 Corinthians 13 (NIV) given in the ‘Assembly’, Step 8.
1. The children may be aware that you have been going around the school this week asking students some questions. Explain this and that you are now going to share these questions and the answers today. Suggest that you think both staff and fellow pupils will find the answers very encouraging.
2. Read out the question/questions and share some responses as time permits. For example, ‘Jamie in P2 said . . .’, ‘Nadira in P6 said . . .’.
Alternatively, if the questionnaire has not been carried out, simply ask for a show of hands in response to the questions. For example, ‘Who passed a maths test this year? A music exam? Competitions? Football?’
Talk about how these are great successes and show us that we have much to celebrate today as school comes to an end for another year.
3. Explain that you want to consider what has been going on ‘behind the scenes’ this year.
The phrase ‘behind the scenes’ usually refers to those people who work away behind the curtains during a play while others perform on stage. It means away from public view. It means quietly, in a way that does not attract attention.
Ask the children to share from their own experience of a school production what these ‘behind the scenes’ tasks are.
Recognize them as being essential ingredients of the production.
4. Suggest that, in the school this year, there have been a lot of learning experiences going on ‘behind the scenes’. They have been happening so quietly that we haven’t even noticed them.
From the back of the screen or board bring the label ‘kindness’ to the front. Ask the children, ‘Hands up if anyone has shown you kindness this year?’ Then, ‘Now, hands up if you have shown anyone kindness this year?’
5. Continue in the same vein with the next label, asking, ‘What about patience? Hands up if anyone has been patient with you this year? Now, hands up if you have learned to be more patient this year?’
6. Do the same with all the other labels.
7. Celebrate the wonderful development of character and good attitudes that have been going on ‘behind the scenes’ this year.
8. Refer to those children who are moving on after the summer to junior or secondary school. When they came into school at five years old, they were very much younger than they are now, but not just in years. The Bible puts it this way.
When I was a child I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
1 Corinthians 13.11
Leader: We all remember being a lot younger and how different we were in all kinds of ways.
Then, all through primary school and, of course, also at home and in groups to which we belong, we learn the following by being with others.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13.4–8
Leader: This learning process goes on right through the whole of our lives, until we can say . . .
When I became an adult, I put the ways of childhood behind
1 Corinthians 13.11
Leader: Say how much of this learning will go on ‘behind the scenes’, in the everyday nitty-gritty of life. Share how proud the school is of how far your senior pupils have come on this journey and wish them well for the future.
Time for reflection
Choose one of the ‘behind the scenes’ labels from the screen to think about.
Celebrate how this is developing in your life.
Thank you that you journey with us through life.
You know that the way to happiness lies in learning to love you and other people.
We pray especially for those who are leaving our school to continue their journeys elsewhere.
Be with them, help, encourage and bless them as they go from childhood to adulthood.
‘Make me a channel of your peace’ (Come and Praise, 147)