The Story of St George
St George’s Day is on 23 April
by Ronni Lamont (revised, originally published in 2002)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To tell the story of St George and encourage us to think about our own ‘dragons’.
Preparation and materials
- In the ‘Assembly’, Step 5, there is an interactive drama. You may wish to arrange for a staff member to take on the role of the dragon.
- Optional: you may wish to show some images of dragons, in which case you will also need the means to do so. Examples are available at:
https://tinyurl.com/y9tesham, https://tinyurl.com/yb466gly and https://tinyurl.com/y82uzppl
- Optional: you may wish to show some images of lizards that have dragon-like features, in which case you will also need the means to do so. Examples are available at:
- bearded dragon, available at: https://tinyurl.com/yc7jm2nc
- Komodo dragon, available at: https://tinyurl.com/nxrsn73
- armadillo lizard, available at: https://tinyurl.com/yc57dqs6
- dragon lizard, available at: https://tinyurl.com/yaoq4yam
- Ask the children if they know who the patron saints of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales are.
Explain that St George is the patron saint of England, St Patrick for Ireland, St Andrew for Scotland and St David is the patron saint of Wales. A patron saint is defined as being the protecting or guiding saint for a particular person or place.
- Ask the children what they associate with St George. Some might mention St George’s flag, a red cross on a white background, which football supporters sometimes paint on their faces. Others might mention the dragon.
- Point out that the story that we tell of St George and the dragon seems like a fairy tale. We don’t know much about the real St George, but his story is fun and has a serious message for us all.
- St George was a soldier. He lived in Palestine at the beginning of the fourth century, which was the end of the Roman era, so he wouldn’t have worn the kind of armour that we often see him pictured in.
- Explain that you will need some children to help act out the story of St George as it goes along.
Select a child to be George.
Ask George to come to the front and go walking around the hall with you. George was a knight, so traditionally he would have travelled around; knights went round helping people they encountered who needed their assistance.
In one corner of the hall, you will need to position a princess who is tied to a tree. Select your princess, and then pretend to tie up him/her.
Her mother and father (more volunteers from the children) are saying goodbye to her, and they’re very upset.
Get George to ask what’s going on. Prompt the family to reply that they are leaving the princess to be eaten by a dragon for his breakfast! Explain that this is the pay-off for the town, which is being terrorized by the dragon. Each day, a new victim is left, and in return, the dragon leaves the town alone. The princess is the victim for today.
Ask the children what they would do if they were George. Hopefully, they would fight the dragon!
Ask the dragon (preferably a staff member, but if not, an older child) to appear. The dragon flies in to eat the princess, but George fights the dragon and kills it. If you need to control the ‘fight’, ask the actors to do it in slow motion with you directing the moves.
The dragon dies (hopefully, you will get a good, dramatic death from your dragon). George marries the princess and the town celebrates his bravery.
- Explain that on 23 April each year, we celebrate St George and his bravery.
Ask if any children have ever seen a dragon. They may mention Komodo dragons, large lizards and special-effects creatures that they’ve seen in films, but have any of them ever seen real, flying, fire-breathing dragons?
Optional: you may wish to show some images of dragons and lizards that have dragon-like features.
Time for reflection
Of course, we don’t really have dragons, but we still have things that frighten us, just like the dragon in St George’s time terrified the villagers.
Ask the children to sit quietly and think about the things that they are scared of. You could name a few to help the children in their thinking. Examples might include the dark, fierce dogs and monsters.
Explain that St George can’t come and help us to overcome our fears, but we can overcome them ourselves with a bit of careful thought and help from other people. We might need to be brave and ask for help.
Christians believe that we can always ask God to help us to be brave, and to face the things that are really scary.
Help me to face my dragons, the things that I find really scary.
You are bigger than all those scary things
And you’re not scary at all.
‘When a knight won his spurs’ (Come and Praise, 50)