St George’s Day
Why should I?
by Philippa Rae
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To celebrate the story of St George, the patron saint of England.
Preparation and materials
- You will need six children to perform the short play in the ‘Assembly’, Step 6. The parts are King; Townsperson 1, 2, 3 and 4; and George. You will also need some extra children to make a small crowd of townspeople. The children will need time to rehearse prior to the assembly.
- Optional: you may wish to use some pictures to illustrate the story.
- St George’s Day is on 23 April. St George is the patron saint of England, but he is also celebrated in other countries.
- A patron saint is the protecting or guiding saint for a particular person or place. St George is the patron saint of England, St Andrew is Scotland’s, St Patrick is Ireland’s and St David is the patron saint of Wales.
- Many myths surround St George, but the essence of his story remains the same. He was a brave knight who lived many centuries ago. His most documented achievement is that he fought a fierce dragon to save a princess. In doing so, he set the people free from future misery by ridding them of the terrifying creature.
- It is this bravery that most people associate with St George, whether it’s fighting unpleasant external forces such as the dragon in his story or symbolically overcoming our own dragons or fears.
- Explain that some children are now going to perform a short play and you would like the audience to watch carefully and see what they can learn from it.
- Invite the children in the play to come to the front of the room.
King: Help, please, can anybody help me? My darling daughter has been picked out to be sacrificed to that terrible dragon. Can you try to stop this from happening?
Townsperson 1: Sorry, I can’t help. You’ll have to ask someone else.
Townsperson 2: I can’t help either, I’m afraid.
Townsperson 3: Nor me. Someone else can do it – why me?
Townsperson 4: No can do, I’m going out today.
King: But it might be your turn next.
Townsperson 1: Then again, it might not be.
Townsperson 2: Who could kill that dragon anyway?
Townsperson 3: Yes, there’s nothing anyone can do.
Townsperson 4: This way, we get longer before he attacks again.
More townspeople huddle together, whispering things like, ‘What a cheek!’ and ‘There’s no way anyone would help if it was one of us!’
Townspeople all together to the audience: Why should we?!
The knight, George, trots up on his horse.
King: Oh, thank goodness, I think I see a knight coming this way. Perhaps he can help. Knight, what is your name?
George: My name is George.
King: George, you look very brave.
George: Do I?
King: Yes. Do you think you could . . .
George: Nope. Don’t even think about asking. If the others won’t help, why should I? I don’t even live here.
- Of course, in the real story of St George, we know that George didn’t say that! Instead, he stepped in, put himself on the line by fighting the dragon and expected nothing in return.
Invite the children in the play to return to their seats.
- We may not be physically brave like St George, but we can be brave by not following the crowd when we know that something is wrong or by doing things that make the world a better place. Even if our deeds are not seen, we can know in our hearts that it was the right thing to do. For example, we could:
- pick up someone’s litter and put it in the bin
- hand something in if we find something that doesn’t belong to us, rather than keeping it
- refuse to join in with others if they are being unkind about someone else, whether they’re doing it in front of them or behind their back
- be fair and have integrity, even if it goes against our own interests or opinions
- put some money in the collection box for charity
- give up our seat for someone on the bus or train
- Challenge the children to stop and think next time they find themselves wanting to say, ‘Why should I?’ Challenge them to ask themselves, ‘Why shouldn’t I?’ instead!
Time for reflection
Let’s think about St George’s qualities.
- He was brave in standing up to something that was bigger than he was, and putting himself on the line.
- He was selflessly prepared to fight to save something precious and graciously did not expect any reward in return.
- He wanted justice to be done by getting rid of something harmful, seeking to stop the wicked dragon at what could have been great cost to himself.
- He had resilience to fight the dragon despite the fact that everyone else was too frightened to do so.
- He wasn’t scared to have a go, even though he faced an enormous challenge that could have gone very wrong!
Ask the children to think about something that they find difficult or a challenge that they are facing at the present time. Examples could include the following.
- They find maths difficult and it’s really hard to keep trying.
- They have had a fall-out with their friends and they don’t know how to sort it out.
- They have done something wrong and they don’t know what to do about it.
Remind the children that it often helps to talk with others about challenges and problems. Encourage them to speak to a teacher or a friend.
Please help us to learn from the example of St George by helping others to make the world a better place.
Help us to realize that helping others is its own reward.
Help us to find the courage within ourselves to do the right thing, even if it means going against the crowd.
Please give us the strength always to try to follow the truth and to do what is helpful for others.
‘I believe I can fly’ by R. Kelly, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIQn8pab8Vc (5.25 minutes long)