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Starting School: Part 2

. . . at 90!

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To inspire an appreciation of school and education.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a sponge and a little water in a clear container on a table. Keep the sponge dry so when you put it in to the water, it visibly absorbs a lot of the water.
  • Familiarize yourself with the story of a Kenyan pupil, Priscilla, aged 90, and have available the BBC News video about it, 'Kenyan grandmother at school with her great-great-grandchildren' (at:, and the means to show it during the assembly. The video is 02.34 minutes long.
  • Write out the following quote on a whiteboard: 'I want to say to the children of the world, especially girls, that education will be your wealth. Don’t look back and run to your father! With education you can be whatever you want.'


  1. Remind the children that, in the UK, we start school at the age of four or five. That is because, when you are young, you learn very quickly.

    Show the sponge soaking up the water.

    Young brains are a bit like a sponge. They soak up information and learn to do things very quickly. It is easy to learn when you are young.

  2. We are very fortunate that, in the UK, all children are able go to school, it is free and we all have the same opportunities to learn, whether we are boys or girls, rich or poor.

    If we work hard and make the most of our education, then we can be whatever we want to be when we grow up.

  3. This is not true for all children everywhere. In many poor countries of our world, there is no education for children, especially if they are poor. Many young children have to work to help provide for their families.

    Education is not free and there is no money for school fees, especially if you are a girl. This often means that when these children grow up, they are poor, too.

    Reference might be made at this point to the previous assembly – Starting School: Part 1 – and what life was like for working children in Victorian times.

  4. We are going to watch a short video in a moment about a great great grandma ('Gogo' in Kenyan), who is very keen to learn, even though she is old. Her name is Priscilla and she is 90 years old.

    Show the BBC News video (at:

    Ask the following questions about the video. 

    Why does Priscilla want to go to school?

    In what way is Priscilla’s school the same as ours?

    How is it different from ours?

    What subjects does Priscilla study?

    How do her classmates feel about her?

    How is Priscilla able to help in school?

    What does the headteacher say about her?

    Would you like to be in a class with Priscilla? Why?

  5. The message that Priscilla wants to send us is that it is never too late to learn.

Time for reflection

Let’s spend a few moments reflecting on Priscilla’s words.

Show the quote from Priscilla on the whiteboard and read it out for the younger children.

Dear God, 
Thank you for Priscilla and all that she teaches us.
Thank you for her longing to learn, her desire to inspire children and her great wisdom and experience of life that she can pass on to others.
Please bless her today as she learns.
Please help us to have that same determination to learn and so be all that we can be.

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