New Year’s resolutions
by Kate Fleming (revised, originally published in 2002)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider newness, and the opportunities to start again.
Preparation and materials
- None required.
- Ask the children if any of them are wearing something new. What is it that makes it feel new?
Maybe it’s a special feel, smell or look. With new clothes, we often feel like we want to take special care of them so that they feel new for longer.
- Ask the children if they enjoy getting a new exercise book to write in. What is it that makes it feel new?
Maybe it’s the clean pages, or the smell or the fact that there are no messy mistakes in it.
- Ask the children if any of them have a new baby in their home. What is it about the baby that shows us that he or she is new?
Babies are very small, sometimes wrinkled, they often cry at night and they are floppy, so we must hold them very carefully.
- Ask the children if any of them did anything special at New Year. Remind them about the celebrations that have just happened.
Remind the children that many people think of New Year as a special time when people can start afresh and make resolutions. What resolutions have they made? How long do they think they will keep them?
- Ask for suggestions for a resolution that the whole school could make and agree to keep. For example, keeping the school tidy, making sure that everyone has a job in school, making the best displays ever and so on. It might be possible to reach an agreement in the assembly, but if not, ask for suggestions during the coming week and perhaps hold a vote at a later date. Equally important is to agree how everyone could celebrate at the end of the year if the resolution has been kept!
Challenge the children to keep the school’s New Year’s resolution throughout the year.
- Read the following poem.
The Excitement of Something New
New potatoes and new-laid eggs,
Smell of fresh tomatoes, newly baked bread.
New clothes with that special feel and look,
A clean page to write on in your brand-new book.
Newborn babies, all wrinkled and small.
So helpless, so innocent - can’t talk, walk or crawl.
The crescent-shaped moon in the dark night sky,
A new planet discovered circling nearby.
The new year has started, resolutions begun
And kept the whole year, we hope, every one.
Time for reflection
Point out that most New Year’s resolutions don’t last for long. This isn’t something to worry about – often the intentions are good. Even if we don’t keep our resolutions for long, it is still good to stop and think about what we hope to achieve in the coming year. Maybe we want to work harder, try a new sport or make new friends. It is always good to have an aim and if we break a resolution, we can always start again!
As we welcome in the new year, help us to keep the feeling of a brand-new beginning throughout the year.
Help us to understand that we can always start again.
Help us to take time to think about what we hope to achieve in the year ahead.
Help us to encourage each other as we move through the year.
Help us to bring peace and happiness to those around us.
Help us to think about the needs of others.
Think of the new year - you were new once.
Think of a tiny baby - you were a baby once.
Think of a new day - you’re living in it.
Think of a new start - this is it.
‘It’s a new day’ (Come and Praise, 106)