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New and Old

Friends matter

by Revd Oliver Harrison (revised, originally published in 2007)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To explore the value of making new friends and looking after old ones.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need two pairs of shoes: one old pair and one new pair.


  1. Ask the children, ‘Does anyone have anything new with them today?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Next, ask the children, Does anyone have anything old?

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Finally, ask the children, ‘Which are better: old things or new things?

    Listen to a range of responses.

  2. Point out that old can be good: we love things that weve had for a long time.

    Ask the children whether their parents have anything old that is precious or valuable. Perhaps some old photographs or things that their parents or elderly relatives had.

    Some things get handed down from one generation to the next, from grandparents to parents to children to grandchildren. Ask the children whether they know what things like that are called. The answer that you are looking for is ‘heirlooms’.

  3. Show the two pairs of shoes.

    Explain that one pair of shoes is old, battered and scruffy, but really comfy. The other pair is shiny and new, but a bit stiff and uncomfortable. Take a vote to see who prefers new, smart shoes and who prefers old, comfy ones.

    Explain that the old pair is wearing out and wont last forever. Soon, theyll have to go! You’ll miss them, but perhaps the new ones will have become softer and more comfortable by then.

  4. Move on with this idea to talk about friends. Which is better: old or new? Point out that every old friend was once a new friend. We have to keep on making new friends if we want to have old ones. Maybe there are new people in our class, maybe we are new to the school or maybe there are just people we’ve never spoken to before.

  5. Challenge the children to talk to someone new today. Point out that one day, they might just realize that, before long, they have become an old friend!

Time for reflection

Read the following poem. You might wish to discuss the poem with the children.

Every old friend was once a new friend.
My old friends mean a lot to me.
I want to stay friends with them and be a good friend to them.

Every old friend was once a new friend.
I want to make new friends, too,
Because without new friends, there can never be old friends.

Dear God,
Thank you for the gift of friendship,
And for all my friends – those I know and those I have yet to meet.
Please help us all to be good friends, whether we have known people for a short time or for many years.


‘Friends’ (Come and Praise: Beginning, 19)

Publication date: July 2019   (Vol.21 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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