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Saying Goodbye at the End of Term

What does it mean to say ‘goodbye’?

by Manon Ceridwen Parry (revised, originally published in 2010)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To reflect on endings and what it means to say goodbye.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a list of words for goodbye in different languages (see the Assembly, Step 3) and the means to display these.

  • Optional: you may wish to have available the song ‘See you later, alligator’ by Bill Haley and the Comets (available at:, and the means to play it during the assembly.


  1. Explain that, because it is nearly the end of term, it is almost time to say goodbye to some of the children.

  2. Explain that you were wondering if anyone knew how to say ‘goodbye’ in any other language. Ask the children to tell you words for goodbye in other languages. Repeat each word and invite everyone to say it with you. (This is an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of cultures and languages in the school.)

  3. Explore the fact that different words for goodbye have slightly different meanings. Show the following list of words and explain their derivations. These words all mean’ goodbye’, but each has a different slant.

    –  hwyl fawr              Welsh        big fun
    –  adios                    Spanish      you’re going to God
    –  au revoir               French       until we meet again
    –  Auf Wiedersehen   German     until we see again
    –  aloha                    Hawaiian    love and peace (to say hello and goodbye)
    –  ciao                      Italian         I am your slave (to say hello and goodbye)
    –  shalom                 Hebrew       peace

    Comment on how lovely it is to wish each other peace’ and fun’ and love’ as we say ‘goodbye’.

  4. Point out that there are times when saying goodbye can be difficult. Sometimes, we try to get over this by making jokes. We say things like, ‘See you later,’ . . . ‘Not if I see you first!’
    Explain to the children that you are going to say a phrase that is sometimes used to say goodbye. Ask the children to say the possible reply out loud!

    Say, ‘See you later, alligator’ and then wait for the children’s reply!

    The reply, ‘In a while, crocodile’ comes from a 1955 song by Bill Haley and the Comets, written by Bobby Charles. However, it is now a well-known saying.

  5. All of us will have preferred ways to say goodbye. However, the actual word ‘goodbye’ means, God be with you.’ Christians believe that God is always with us. It is good to remember that when people leave us, they are not left on their own. Whether it is just over the holidays, or as some of you move to a new school, we all wish you the very best and, as we say goodbye, we pray that God will be with you wherever you go.

Time for reflection

We thank you, God, for all the languages we can speak and have learned about today. 
Help us to show peace and love towards one another.
We pray that we will have lots of fun over the holidays
And that we will remember that wherever we are, you are there, too.
We pray for those who are leaving us today to move to different schools.
Please be close to them and look after them wherever they go.
Thank you for their lives and their friendship.


‘Shalom’ (Come and Praise, 141)

Optional: you may wish to play ‘See you later, alligator’ by Bill Haley and the Comets as the children leave.

Publication date: July 2016   (Vol.18 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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