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Clocks and Time

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider the importance of quietness and stillness.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a selection of clocks, a vase of flowers and a clock face of the type used when teaching pupils to tell the time.

  • You will also need the poem Leisure by W.H. Davies, and the means to display it during the assembly. It is available at: (You may wish to leave out the two verses starting No time to turn at Beautys glance . . .)


  1. Show the selection of clocks to the children and talk about them, pointing out any that are particularly unusual, old or interesting.
    Ask the question, Why do we need clocks?

  2. Having established that we need clocks to tell the time, set the clock face to a particular time and invite a child to come to the front to tell the time. Ask the children if they can think of something that usually happens at this time.

  3. Repeat the process, using different children to tell the time and selecting key times that relate to their experience, such as playtime, lunchtime, home time, bedtime and so on.

  4. Ask the children to listen while you read the poem Leisure by W.H. Davies, available at:
    The poem begins, What is this life if, full of care, / We have no time to stand and stare? (You may wish to leave out the two verses starting No time to turn at Beautys glance . . .)
    Ask the question, What time is it in the poem?

  5. Establish that the poem is not about any particular time. It is trying to remind us that, if we are not careful, we can be so busy doing things throughout the day that we forget to look at the beautiful things around us. Remind the children that, no matter how busy we are, it is important to make time to be quiet and to think.

Time for reflection

Show the children the vase of flowers. Ask them to focus on the flowers while the poem is read again. Ask them to be still and think about their own special place where they can go to be quiet and to think.

Dear God,
In the busyness of our lives, help us to stop and take the time to be quiet.
Help us to look around us and see the beauty of the world.
Help us to see the flowers, the trees, the sky and the whole of nature.
Help us to be grateful and to be glad.


Lord of all hopefulness (Come and Praise, 52)

Follow-up ideas

Mathematics. Carry out some activities related to telling the time.

Design and technology. Design a clock, possibly to mark a special occasion.

Music. Compose some music to reflect different types of time, such as a busy day, a peaceful day, waking up and going to sleep.

Publication date: January 2020   (Vol.22 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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