Summer in the Garden
Finding peace in the garden
by Janice Ross (revised, originally published in 2009)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To identify the garden as a place where our senses can be restored.
Preparation and materials
- You will need an item that requires some restoration or repair.
- You will also need the following quotation by Hanna Rion and the means to display it during the assembly: ‘The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.’
- Have available the YouTube video ‘Peaceful sounds from the garden’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is over an hour long, but you will only need to play a few minutes of it. It is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NN6OU3Z8o2c
- Optional: you may wish to have available the YouTube video ‘Amazing natural bird sounds’, in which case you will also need the means to show it. It is 3.55 minutes long, but you can fast-forward through some of the video to increase the variety of sounds. It is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQk4a5fJrBc
- Show the item that requires some restoration or repair.
Explain to the children what the word ‘restoring’ means. Explain how much you like, use and appreciate the item, even though you know that it’s not at its best.
- Ask the children, ‘Are there any parts of us that need to be restored today?’
Ask the children what they think that question might mean.
Listen to a range of responses.
Talk about how, hopefully, all of the children will have been restored after a good night’s sleep. Hopefully, they will have the energy for another day by having had a good breakfast; perhaps some of them will have walked to school and had some exercise. Explain that we all need to be restored in some way regularly.
- The summer break that is approaching will hopefully be a time of restoration for children and staff alike. We can all leave behind the stuffiness of classrooms, get outside and enjoy long days of warm summer weather with a bit of rain for the garden maybe.
- Show the quotation by Hanna Rion.
Ask the children to shut their eyes for a few moments and think of a garden. This could be their own garden, a park, the school garden, the garden of a house they have visited or even a garden centre.
Ask a few children to complete the sentence, ‘When I think of a garden, I think of . . .’
Identify things that relate to all five senses in the children’s suggestions. Some staff members could be primed beforehand to add in any of the senses that the children don’t mention. For example, they could mention a scent that they like or something that they heard in a garden. A garden is a place where we see, hear, smell, taste and touch beauty.
- Show the YouTube video ‘Peaceful sounds from the garden’.
Ask the children to close their eyes as they listen to the sounds.
Ask the children how the sounds made them feel.
Listen to a range of responses.
- Ask if anyone has come away from time in a garden feeling tense or irritable.
Discuss how a garden and the sounds that we hear there can often have a restful effect on us. It is a gift, somewhere we can be restored. Suggest that we all need to spend time in a garden this summer. It is helpful to be still, close our eyes and take in everything that our senses are stimulated by.
Time for reflection
Point out that we shouldn’t be surprised about the positive effects that a garden can have on us. After all, the Bible tells us that when God made people in his image, he placed them in a beautiful garden. It was there, every evening, when it became a little cooler, that God would come to sit and talk with his friends.
End by encouraging the children to find a garden to enjoy this summer.
Show a few minutes of the YouTube video ‘Peaceful sounds from the garden’ again, or show the YouTube video ‘Amazing natural bird sounds’.
If appropriate, lead into the prayer.
Thank you, God, for eyes to see, for ears to hear and for our senses of smell, taste and touch.
Thank you for your beautiful creation.
Help us to take time to enjoy it this summer,
To be refreshed and restored as you intended us to be.
‘All things bright and beautiful’ (Come and Praise, 3)