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New Beginnings

An assembly in the 'Hello, Scruff!' series

by The Revd Sylvia Burgoyne

Suitable for Reception / Key Stage 1 - Church Schools


To encourage us to not be scared of new experiences.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a glove puppet or sock puppet of a donkey, called Scruff.
  • As the assembly begins, ensure that you already have Scruff the puppet on your hand.


  1. Scruff waves to the children. Encourage them to say, ‘Hello, Scruff!’

    If this is the first time the children have met Scruff, you will need to use the following introduction.

    Scruff lives on a farm with Lucy Jane, her mum, Mrs B, her dad, Farmer Brown, and her baby brother, Tom. Lucy Jane loves Scruff. She looks after him. She plays with him and she talks to him – when she’s happy and when she’s sad. Scruff is her best friend!

  2. Listen to Scruff: 'Hee-haw, hee-haw!' (loudly). Do you think he’s very happy?

    Yes, he’s had great fun during the long school holidays. He’s been on lots of adventures with Lucy Jane. They’ve had picnics by the river and on the beach. Her friends have come to the farm and Scruff has given them rides around the paddock.

    Ask the children, 'What have you been doing during the holidays?'

    Now, the school holidays are over. Lucy Jane came running into the stable.

    'Look at me, Scruff. I’ve grown a lot since last year, so Mum has bought me new school clothes. Don’t I look smart?' She gave a little twirl.

    Ask the children, 'Have you had to have new shoes or clothes because you’ve grown?

    Then Lucy Jane put her arm around Scruff’s neck and whispered, 'I’m a bit scared. I’m moving up into a new class. We’ll have a new teacher. What if I don’t like him?'

    Scruff said softly, 'Hee-haw, hee-haw!' to let her know he understood.

    Just then, Mrs B shouted from the kitchen door, 'Time for bed, Lucy Jane.'

    As Lucy Jane ran off, she called, 'I wish you could come to school too, Scruff. Then I wouldn’t be scared.'

    Scruff was looking out over the paddock gate when Lucy Jane came back from school in the afternoon. 'I’ve had a lovely day, Scruff. I’ve made some new friends and my new teacher laughs a lot! I’m not scared any more. Let’s go for a ride down to the river.'

    'Hee-haw, hee-haw!' agreed Scruff.

    Take off Scruff.
  1. Here’s an old story that comes from the Bible to help us think about new experiences.

    Samuel overcomes his fear

    Hannah was sad, because she had no children. She went to the temple and asked God to give her a son. Some time later, when God answered her prayers and Samuel was born, she believed he was special – a gift from God. She wanted to say 'Thank you', so she decided to take her son back to the temple so he could grow up working for God.

    Samuel, though, was frightened. He was only young – not much older than you – and he didn’t want to live far away from his mum and dad. Eli, the old priest, showed him where he would sleep and his mum promised that every year, as he grew taller, she would bring him a new set of clothes.

    Samuel lay down on his mat, feeling sad and lonely. In the darkness, he heard a voice calling his name: 'Samuel. Samuel.' He thought Eli must want him, so he quickly ran to his side, but Eli said, 'No, I didn’t call you. Go back and lie down.' The voice called again  . . .   and again Samuel went to Eli. When it happened the third time, Eli suddenly knew that God was calling the boy. So, he told Samuel, 'Go and lie down, and if you hear the voice again say, "Speak, Lord, I am listening."'

    From then on, God spoke to Samuel many times and, as he grew up, the boy knew he need never be frightened, because God was always with him.

Time for reflection

What new things are happening to you?

Do they sometimes make you feel frightened?

Dear God,
Thank you for exciting new adventures.
When we feel 
frightened, help us to know that you are with us.


'New day beginning' (Come and Praise: Beginning)

'Time to be still' (Come and Praise: Beginning)

Publication date: August 2015   (Vol.17 No.8)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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