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Taking the First Step

Moving to secondary school

by Alexandra Palmer

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To celebrate Year 6 children’s time at primary school before they move onto secondary school.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Taking the First Step) and the means to display them.

  • You will also need to arrange for some Year 6 children to share some of the things that they are looking forward to as they move to a new school.

  • Have available the YouTube video ‘The Israelites cross the Jordan (Joshua 3-4)’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 2.32 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVDU4XnbolI

Assembly

  1. Explain that the Year 6 children will soon be leaving school and moving on to secondary school. This can seem to be a daunting prospect, but it is also exciting, with lots of new things to experience ahead.

    Ask the pre-arranged Year 6 children to come to the front to share what they are looking forward to as they make the transition to secondary school.

  2. Show Slide 1.

    Explain that this assembly is all about taking the first step. There are many ways in which we can take the first step in something.

    Point out that the children have taken first steps in many areas over the years.

    Discuss each picture on the slide, going along the top row from left to right and then the bottom row. Ask the children to share their experiences or comments.

    - It is when we are toddlers that we literally take the first step and learn how to walk.
    - Knowing how to brush our own teeth so that we can keep them clean and healthy is an important life skill.
    - When we first start school, we take our first steps in reading by learning all of our different sounds. After that, we read short stories. Eventually, we can read books written by authors such as J. K. Rowling and Michael Morpurgo.
    - We also learn to count at school. Just like reading, we begin with the first steps of learning how to count up to 10, but, by the time we get to Year 6, we can use our mathematical knowledge to work out fractions, percentages and decimals.
    - Learning to ride a bike can be quite tricky, but when we get the hang of it, it’s a great skill to have because it helps us to keep fit and healthy.
    - When we first start school, we wear shoes that have Velcro straps to keep them on our feet. However, as we get older, we learn how to tie our laces.
    - Taking the first steps in how to do something doesn’t stop when we leave school. Most of the adults in school didn’t learn how to use an iPad as children because iPads weren’t invented then! We’ve had to take the first steps in learning about iPads as adults rather than children.

  3. Explain that you are going to show the children a video about a man in the Bible called Joshua.

    Explain that the story takes place just after the death of Moses, who had brought the Israelites out of slavery from Egypt. Unfortunately, the Israelites had disobeyed God, so rather than entering the Promised Land, they had to wander around in the desert for 40 years. At the end of the 40 years, Moses died and Joshua replaced him as leader of the Israelites.

    To cross into the Promised Land, the Israelites had to cross the Jordan River while it was in full flood.

    Show the YouTube video ‘The Israelites cross the Jordan (Joshua 3-4)’.



  4. Show Slide 2.

    Explain that the video started with Joshua planning to cross the Jordan River. Point out that over the last year or two, the Year 6 children have done a lot of preparation and planning to make the move to secondary school smooth and successful. They have been thinking about which secondary school they would like to go to, visiting different schools and filling out forms to apply to go to that particular school.

  5. Show Slide 3.

    Before the Israelites crossed over to the Promised Land, they spent three days getting ready next to the Jordan River.

    Point out that over the last few weeks, the Year 6 children have been getting ready to go to their new school. Recently, they’ve spent transition days at their new school. They’ve met new friends and new teachers, and started to discover what their new school day will look like. They may have already begun to buy their new uniform, plus a new school bag and all the other things that they will need to start a new school.

  6. Show Slide 4.

    Joshua trusted God, but some of the Israelites might have thought that Joshua was crazy when he said that the river would stop flowing after the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant had stepped into it.

    The Ark of the Covenant was a box that was very precious to the Israelites because it contained the Ten Commandments, which were given to Moses by God just after the Israelites left Egypt. Some of the Israelites might have panicked when they saw the priests enter the water with the Ark because they were carrying something so precious.

    Point out that the Year 6 children are very precious to the people in school because we have seen them grow up from children in Reception to who they are today.

    Point out that as they leave, they will continue to grow and develop, making their own choices and decisions. We trust them to make good ones!

  7. Show Slide 5.

    Before the Jordan River started to flow again, 12 people from the 12 tribes of Israel took a stone from the riverbed to help them remember how they crossed into the Promised Land.

    Point out that as the Year 6 children leave, they will be taking with them all sorts of memories, from friendships, funny moments in their classes, school plays, trips and camps. Explain that it is important to hold onto these precious moments because they become our memory stones as we grow up.

Time for reflection

Show Slide 6.

When the Israelites went to cross the Jordan River, it was in full flood, making it impossible to get to the other side. The river didn’t stop flowing until the priests took their first step into the water. As the Israelites got ready to cross, some of them were probably excited, whereas others might have been nervous or scared because they were about to do something that they had waited years to do.

Crossing the Jordan River can be a metaphor for when we take our first steps towards something new, whether its starting our new secondary school, trying out a new sport, learning a new language, going on holiday, meeting new friends or wearing a new school uniform. The list goes on and on, but we’re never going to achieve what we want to do until we take our first steps towards it.

Joshua became leader of the Israelites after Moses died. Telling the Israelites how they were going to cross the Jordan River could have been a terrifying experience for him. However, he was a leader who trusted God. He wasn’t scared because he knew that God would be with him wherever he went.

Explain that as the Year 6 children leave school, it is a first step towards their new school. They might be feeling nervous, happy, excited, sad or a mixture of all four. It’s fine to feel like that, but as in the story of Joshua, we can be confident that God is with us wherever we go.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you that we can come together in our school today and celebrate the time that our Year 6 children have spent at this school.
Thank you for all the people who’ve helped us to take our first steps in so many areas.
Thank you for the opportunity to meet new friends and learn new skills.
Please help us all to be confident when we take our first steps towards something new.
Amen.

Song/music

‘One more step’ (Come and Praise, 47)

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