To encourage children to see the value of working together
by Jan Edmunds
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To encourage children to see the value of working together.
Preparation and materials
- You will need an assortment of brushes, such as a nail-brush, toothbrush, scrubbing brush, clothes brush, nylon saucepan brush, painting brush, broom, besom, dustpan and brush.
- You could use some music such as 'Whistle while you work' from Disney's Snow White as the children enter the hall.
- Choose a few children to come to the front and let each one select a brush from the collection. Tell them that as you talk about their brush you would like them to mime how it is used.
- Introduce the brushes:
A scrubbing brush works hard to keep floors looking spick and span.
A clothes brush looks after people's clothes, making sure they look neat and tidy.
A nail-brush looks after people's hands and nails.
A toothbrush makes sure our teeth and gums stay healthy.
A painting brush helps to make beautiful pictures and to colour things brightly.
A saucepan brush has a very hard life. It does really difficult jobs, like cleaning dirty cooking pans, that many do not like to do.
A broom is one of the biggest brushes. It sweeps the floor and cleans the roads and paths.
A besom is used for clearing away leaves. Sometimes we see pictures in storybooks of witches riding on besoms.
A hand brush works in partnership with a dustpan, as it gathers up all the dirt and dust - together they clean up the mess.
They all belong to the Brush family.
- Explain that all the brushes do a similar job of work. They help to keep everywhere neat, clean and more attractive. They make the world a better place and each one of them is important. Say that we can compare people to these brushes.
- (Optional) Throughout history, there have been people who have been like brushes. Men like William Wilberforce, who 'swept' slavery from the empire. (You could develop this example by explaining in more detail about the dreadful suffering caused by slavery.) Another man, John Wesley, a famous preacher, helped to 'sweep' away some of the wickedness in England at the time. The suffragettes helped to sweep away the old idea that women shouldn't be allowed to vote. More examples of famous individuals can be given and linked to topics being currently studied in school.
- Most religions have great leaders who have tried to 'sweep' away the wickedness in the world. (Discussion can be made relevant to religions within the school.) Many people have joined together to form groups, societies and organizations that try to sweep away disease, cruelty and hardship, e.g. NSPCC, RSPCA, OXFAM, Greenpeace. Ask the children if they know what each of these organizations does. This assembly could be linked to collecting for one of them.
- When people start something new, like a new job, we sometimes hear the saying 'A new broom sweeps clean.' Moving into a new house often involves 'spring cleaning'. Clearing out the old and introducing the new. You may have heard of people joining together in a 'sweep'. It does not mean that they are going to use brushes, but are going to pool or sweep their money together for some purpose or other.
- We can learn another lesson from the Brush family (show the hand brush). Each brush has bristles, and each bristle is important. If some bristles fall out it spoils the way the brush can perform. They all need to be in place for the brush to work effectively. Think of other things that can only be achieved by working together. Football players need to work together as a team. Hospitals need teams of doctors and nurses. A school needs a team of teachers, office staff, kitchen staff and cleaners. Firemen, policemen, soldiers, factory workers, all need to work together in order to achieve results.
- Just like the brushes, we need to 'sweep' together. We are like the bristles in a brush, and whatever type of brush we see ourselves as, we can work together to make this world a better place.
Time for reflection
Thank you for this lovely world in which we live.
Help us to work together,
so that we can keep it clean and beautiful
by brushing away the bad things
to make way for the good.
'I belong to a family' (Come and Praise Beginning, 69)