by Alison Thurlow
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To encourage children to express their feelings and be positive about moving to a new school or class (SEAL theme 7: Changes).
Preparation and materials
- Create an image of the lists of questions given in the ‘Assembly’, Step 2, and have available the means to display it and the other images mentioned below during the assembly. You may also like to create an image of the suggestions as to what the children could learn from the stories given in Step 4.
- Also have available the following images:
– puzzle with one piece missing, available at: www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/photo/blank-jigsaw-puzzle-with-one-piece-missing-close-up-royalty-free-image/200535512-001
– patchwork quilt, available at: https://creativewritingibiza.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/patchwork-quilt.jpg
– modern tapestry, available at: www.moonrain.ca/images/Curtain_of_Light1_abComp482642.jpg
– informal photo of a group of schoolchildren.
- Finally, create an image, too, of the words of the Gaelic blessing given as the prayer in the ‘Time for reflection’ part of the assembly. Prepare actions or Makaton signs as well, if desired.
- Have available the song ‘I can do all things’ by Jim Bailey (on Spring Harvest’s Kids Praise 2005/06, ICC) and the means to play it at the end of the assembly.
1. Explain that, during this assembly, everyone will be thinking about the fact that the children will all soon be moving to a new school or a new class. Say that you will all be considering some of the changes facing them and thinking about how they are feeling about all these changes.
2. Ask the children to turn to the person sitting next to them and talk about the following questions. Explain that there will be one set of questions for those in Reception and Years 1 to 5 and a separate list of questions for those in Year 6.
Show the image of the lists of questions.
Reception and Years 1 to 5
What things will you most miss about your present class?
What things are you most looking forward to about your new class?
Is anything making you feel a bit nervous about your new class?
What things will you most miss about this school?
What things are you most looking forward to about your new school?
Which subject are you most looking forward to and why?
What things are you most concerned about or feeling a bit nervous about when you think about your new school?
Listen to some of the children’s responses, particularly those in Year 6.
3. Thank the children for being so honest, especially when talking about the things they are feeling a bit nervous about.
Say that it’s quite natural to feel a little anxious about change, but it’s good to talk about your feelings and realize that, in fact, lots of other people are feeling exactly the same as you are.
Continue by saying that you are going to tell them two short stories, both from the Old Testament part of the Bible. Both stories, you feel, could offer them some tips for coping with change.
4. Explain that the first story is about a young man called Daniel.
Daniel was taken to a foreign country as a young man and everything must have felt very strange and scary for him. The customs, traditions and beliefs there were different from his, the people spoke a different language and they even ate different sorts of food.
In this situation Daniel stayed calm, he made some wise choices and he trusted that God was with him. Things didn’t improve immediately, but, after a while, Daniel became a leader in this new country.
Ask the children, ‘What could we learn from this story?’ Suggest that they try to stay calm and allow themselves a little time to settle in and get used to all the new things.
5. Explain that the second story is about a time when God’s people were going to go and live in a new place called the Promised Land.
The Promised Land
The people had been travelling for many years to get to this place, so, once they arrived, twelve of them were sent on ahead to see what it all looked like. They found lots of good fruit growing there, but they also saw that the cities were huge and the people who lived there were enormous, too.
Ten of the twelve explorers became very scared, but two of them, Joshua and Caleb, were really excited about all the possibilities in this new land and they reminded the others to trust God and remember that they would be OK with God on their side.
Again, ask the children, ‘What could we learn from this story?’ Suggest that they try to look on the positive side of things, like Joshua and Caleb did, and not on the negative side, like the other ten explorers did. Encourage them to try and think of all new things as exciting possibilities.
Show the image of the suggestions, if using.
Time for reflection
Explain to the children that you are now going to show them four images that could represent trying to fit into a new situation.
Display the images of the puzzle, quilt, tapestry and group of schoolchildren.
Ask the children to look at the images and decide which one they would most like to remember to help them think about fitting in as they go to their new school or class in September.
After a short period of silence, ask them to each share their answer with the person next to them. Listen to a few of their answers.
Display the image of the Gaelic blessing.
Explain that the words for today’s prayer are from a traditional Gaelic blessing and you want for them to read them together, doing the actions or Makaton signs as well, if desired.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
‘I can do all things’ by Jim Bailey
‘One more step along the world I go’ (Come and Praise, 47)