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Silent Messages

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider how the unspoken messages that we give out can affect other people.

Preparation and materials

  • An envelope containing a list of people in the room who are celebrating a birthday today, or a list of people celebrating a birthday this week.
  • A volunteer to deliver the envelope at the start of the assembly.
  • Volunteers prepared to convey silent messages through non-verbal signs for point 3 below. These messages could include shrugging the shoulders, arms open to welcome, turning your back on someone, shaking hands, waving goodbye, head in hands, nose in the air.


1. As the assembly begins, a volunteer should enter the room and pass an envelope to the person leading the assembly. The leader should take the letter, open it and read out loud:

Dear . . . I thought you would like to know that the following people have a birthday today/this week . . .

Read the list.

2. Invite the people named on the list to the front and sing ‘Happy birthday’ to them. Explain that you are glad you received the message as it told you something important that you may never have known if the message had not been sent. Point out that there are many ways to send a message and ask for examples.

Listen to a range of responses.

Remind the children that messages do not always have to be written: sometimes they can be spoken, or sung, or recorded.

3. Ask the children if they think there can ever be such a thing as a silent message. Some may suggest sign language. Agree that this is one very special way of sending a silent message, but suggest that sometimes we can all send silent messages through our actions.
Invite the pre-arranged volunteers to come forward and carry out their actions one at a time. After each action, ask what message the action conveys. Are these good or bad messages?

Time for reflection

Ask the children to be quiet for a moment to consider what messages they may send out each day without thinking. Sometimes the messages we send can make people feel happy and cheerful but sometimes we can send messages that make people feel sad. Encourage the children to send out good messages that make other people feel happy.

Dear God,
When people come to our school, help us to send a message of welcome.
When we meet someone for the first time, help us to smile and be friendly.
When someone is sad and upset, help us to send a message of kindness and comfort.
Please help us in everything we say and everything we do to think about the kinds of messages that we want to send.

Follow up idea

1. Ask the children to paint images to match particular messages, for example, cheer up, take care, be kind to others, make someone happy, eat healthily.

Publication date: December 2015   (Vol.17 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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