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‘Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten’

by Rachael Crisp

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider the meaning of ‘ohana’ and the way in which it affects how we view family.

Preparation and materials

  • Note: this assembly considers the idea of families and could be a sensitive issue for some of the children.
  • Have available the YouTube video ‘Ohana’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 0.15 minutes long and is available at:

  • You will also need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Ohanaand the means to display them.

  • Optional: you may like to tie in this assembly with Adoption Sunday, which happens on 5 November 2017.
  • Optional: you may wish to light a candle for the ‘Time for reflection’ part of the assembly, in which case you will also need the means to do so.


  1. Show Slide 1.

    Ask the children if they are familiar with the film Lilo & Stitch. Explain that, in the film, there is a word that is based on Hawaiian culture. The word is ‘ohana’ and it means extended family, including blood relatives, adopted relatives and intentional family. Well talk more about what intentional family means later in the assembly.

  2. Show the YouTube video ‘Ohana’. (Warn the children that the word ‘ohana’ is right at the start of the video, so it is easy to miss. You may wish to show the video twice.)

  3. Ask the children what they understand by the word ‘family’.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  4. Show Slide 2.

    Read out the words on the slide: ‘Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.

    Ask the children what they think this line from Lilo & Stitch means.

    Explain that in Hawaii, the word ‘ohana’ has an even deeper meaning. Ohana means intentional family.

    Ask the children what they think ‘intentional’ means. Explain that it means something that is done deliberately and with purpose. Having an intentional family means that we choose who is in our family. It could be people who are related to us by bloodline or it could be those whom we intentionally choose.

  5. Ask the children to suggest different types of family.

    Listen to a range of responses.

    After each suggestion, say, ‘Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.’ This will reinforce that there are many different types of families, but they are all valid and every person in that family is important. (Make sure that various family types are discussed, including fostered, blended and adopted families.)

  6. Families are important and each person has a different experience of family life. The school is often spoken of as the ‘school family’. That is because we all belong and no one should ever feel left out or forgotten.

  7. Optional: Christians believe that they are adopted into God’s family. The Bible speaks about God being a ‘father’ and other people being brothers and sisters: being a family. This is another example of an ‘ohana’ family. It is an intentional kind of family because we choose to be part of it.

Time for reflection

There are many different types of family. Each family - small, large, adopted, fostered, blended (step- or half-brothers and sisters), friends and grandparents - is important and special and to be respected by everyone. Family can be chosen and intentional.

Optional: you may wish to light a candle as the children reflect upon the following words.

As we light this candle, let’s think about what we have heard and how it affects us.

‘Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.’ Let’s make sure that people in our own families are not left behind, left out or forgotten. Let’s make sure that everyone in our school family feels part of the family and is loved and cared for.

Dear God,
Thank you for family.
Thank you that there are lots of different types of families.

Thank you that you love each person in every family situation.
Help us to see each family as special and important, especially when it is different from our own.

Publication date: November 2017   (Vol.19 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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