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Feeling Needed

Everyone likes to feel valued

by Jan Edmunds (revised, originally published in 2007)

Suitable for Key Stage 1


To show that we can all be useful and everyone likes to feel valued.

Preparation and materials

  • Familiarize yourself with the story 'Sydney spider' in the 'Assembly', Step 2, by Jan Edmunds. You may personalize it to fit your own storytelling style if you wish.
  • You may wish to gather some images of spiders and have the means available to display them during the assembly or have some toy spiders available, but this is optional.


  1. The majority of us enjoy being with other people, so it can be very upsetting when we argue or fall out with our friends. We like the feeling of belonging to a group and being needed.

  2. Today’s story is about a poor creature who didn’t think anyone wanted him. Listen carefully and see what you think.

    Display the images of spiders and/or show the children the toy spiders, if using.

    Sidney Spider

    Sidney Spider made the most beautiful web in the corner of Mrs Smith’s living room. He was so proud of it. Soon it was trapping many of the big flies that flew in through the open window.

    Sidney thought his web was splendid, but when Mrs Smith saw it, she immediately fetched her broom and pulled it down. She gently lifted Sidney up in her yellow duster and put him outside, but it was cold and wet, so Sidney crawled back in through an open door into the conservatory. 

    It was nice and warm in the conservatory, so he set about weaving another web. When it was finished, Sidney settled himself down, waiting for flies to land and be caught in the sticky threads. Unfortunately for him, Mrs Smith caught sight of the web and, once again, quickly brushed it away, flicking poor Sidney outside on the bristles of her broom.

    Sidney tried several more times to get back into the house, but without success. He felt very miserable. All he wanted was a peaceful life. He felt that nobody liked or needed him. He dared not go back into the house. 

    One day, he was crawling along the path outside the house. He noticed Dillon the pony tossing his head over the stable door, because there were lots of flies buzzing around him. Dillon was stamping his feet and swishing his tail as the flies settled on his neck and along his back – those annoying flies would not give up and fly away!

    Sidney crawled up the stable door. ‘Don’t worry, Dillon,’ he said. ‘I can help you’.

    So Sidney set about spinning a new web, just inside the stable door. It was a big web that stretched right up into the roof. Soon the menacing flies became caught in it. Dillon was so grateful because the flies no longer bothered him. 

    When Mrs Smith saw the web - and how many flies had been trapped in it and how much more settled Dillon was - she realized that it was important to leave Sidney’s web in the stable alone. Now Sidney could live in peace, while making life more comfortable for his friend Dillon. At last he felt happy because someone needed him.

  3. Spend some time discussing the story, asking some questions such as the following.

    Do you think Mrs Smith was cruel to the spider? Why do you think she didn’t want him in her house? How did Sidney help Dillon? Why didn’t Mrs Smith knock down the web in the stable?

  4. Point out that some people may not like spiders, but, like all living creatures, they are an important part of nature. Just like us, Sidney wanted to be useful and enjoy the company of others.

  5. You may like to share the following optional spider facts.

    Sometimes you hear people call spiders' webs 'cobwebs'. This comes from an old word for spider, ‘coppe’.

    Some spiders' webs have two types of silk: a ‘sticky’ silk to capture insects and a non-sticky silk so the spiders can move quickly around the web. Spiders with this type of web have to make sure that they tread on the right bits of it!

    Scientists are looking at the design and threads of spiders' webs as they respond incredibly well to strain, stretching and stiffening as required, so can even survive hurricanes!

Time for reflection

Think back over the story  . . . 

What does it teach us about friendship and belonging?

What does it teach us about being useful and helpful?

Dear God,
Thank you for spiders and their amazing skills.
Thank you for everyone here and their amazing skills.
Please help us to use our skills to help other people.


‘From the tiny ant’ (Come and Praise, 79)

Publication date: April 2016   (Vol.18 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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