Birds Are Singing
Starting to understand one another
by Janice Ross (revised, originally published in 2009)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To learn that we can appreciate one another without fully understanding our different lifestyles or cultures.
Preparation and materials
Have available some recordings of birdsong and the means to play them during the assembly. Various recordings of birdsong are available at: http://sounds.bl.uk/environment/british-wildlife-recordings
You will also need some appropriate images to accompany the birdsong.
As you yawn and rub your eyes, explain to the children that you were woken very early this morning. Ask for suggestions about what might have woken you.
Listen to a range of answers.
Listen to a number of birdsong recordings or, if you are in an appropriate area and the weather is suitable, open the windows and listen to the birds. (If you are really lucky, you could hold the assembly outside in a location with plenty of real birds to listen to!)
Explain that, although you would have enjoyed more sleep, birdsong is actually a pleasant way to be woken.
Ask if anyone can guess what the birds were singing about.
Listen to a range of suggestions.
Pretend that you think you understood what the birds were singing about! Suggest that they were saying the following things.
I have just eaten a squishy, squashy, juicy worm,
Yes I have, yes I have.
This is the best lamp post in town.
Well, what will it be, what will it be,
What will it be today?
Rise and shine, you lazy people,
Listen to me sing from the top of the steeple.
The early bird always catches the worm,
Fat and juicy, I can still feel it squirm!
Point out that you don’t really know what the birds were singing about, because you are not a bird. Scientists tell us that birds use song to send messages about danger (such as a cat), to mark territory or to attract a mate.
Explain that, although we don't understand 'bird language', we can appreciate what it adds to our day. Birdsong is one of the first signs of spring and we miss it in the cold winter months. It is a happy sound.
Point out that we often meet people from different countries and cultures. Some have lived in this country for only a short time and others have been born here. We may not always understand one another because we have different languages, customs and backgrounds. However, we don't need to know everything about a person to appreciate having them as our friend. Like the birdsong, which we don't understand, we can all add variety and joy to one another's lives.
Time for reflection
Birdsong always sounds so cheerful, as if the birds are happy to be alive on this new day.
What are you happy and thankful for today?
Thank you that you made us all different.
Thank you that you placed us in different families and groups.
Thank you for the many different people from all over the world who live in this country of Britain.
Thank you that we are all special and that we can all enrich one another's lives.
‘For the beauty of the earth’ (Come and Praise, 11)