I Want to Stay Here!
New experiences are good
by Becky May
Suitable for Reception / Key Stage 1
To encourage us to make the most of all the opportunities that lie ahead of us during the new school year.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a soft toy owl or puppet, ideally an owlet or a barn owl.
- Greet the children brightly and describe how lovely it is to see so many new faces among them.
If this is one of the first assemblies of the new school year, take the opportunity to settle the children in and introduce what assemblies are all about.
- Explain that you are going to tell a story about Willow, a baby owl.
Show the soft toy owl or puppet.
Willow, the Baby Owl
As Willow shuffled around her cosy, warm home, she felt something crack.
‘Oh no!’ she thought to herself, wondering what she might have broken.
Crack! There it was again, but this time she realized that it was her foot bursting through the sturdy wall of the snuggly egg that she had known as home for her whole life. She knew what was happening, but she wanted it to stop.
‘I don’t want to hatch from my egg,’ Willow thought to herself. ‘I want to stay here!’
She tried to curl up small and stay in the nice, warm egg, but she found it hard to get comfortable; it was a bit cramped in there now. Willow twisted around in a circle and as she did, there was an almighty crack!
Suddenly, there was a bright light. The top of Willow’s egg had come away completely.
‘Hello,’ said a warm, smiley voice. ‘Welcome, little one!’
Willow looked up and saw the eyes of the voice that she’d been listening to while she was snuggled in her egg.
‘Mummy?’ asked Willow, and the smiley voice nodded.
As the days went by, Willow and her brothers and sisters grew together in the warm nest in the nesting box, looked after by their parents. Every day, they would bring the owlets things to eat: yummy worms and tasty mice! Every day, Willow and her brothers and sisters grew bigger and bigger, their wings growing big-owl feathers.
One day, Mummy Owl said, ‘Come, my babies, it’s time to explore the barn.’
One by one, Mummy Owl and Willow’s brothers and sisters perched in the doorway of the nesting box before setting off into the barn. Willow cautiously peered through the hole, looking from the safety of the nesting box into the great, big barn.
‘I want to stay here!’ she murmured.
She watched as her brothers and sisters took their first flights through the barn, their wings outstretched. Sometimes, they wobbled, but mostly she thought that they looked beautiful.
Willow gently stretched out her wings. As she did, they nudged the edge of the nesting box.
‘Hmm,’ she thought, ‘maybe it is getting a bit squishy in here!’
Willow perched in the doorway of the nesting box.
‘Hello,’ said Mummy’s warm, smiley voice. ‘You can do it!’
Mummy watched as Willow stretched out her wings and took off into the air. She flapped her wings clumsily at first, but soon found a rhythm and set off for her first flight into the barn.
The little owlets practised flying around the barn every night until one day, Mummy Owl said, ‘Come, my babies, it’s time to explore the night sky.’
One by one, Mummy Owl and Willow’s brothers and sisters perched in the doorway of the barn before setting off into the night sky. Willow cautiously peered out of the safety of the barn into the night sky. She watched as her brothers and sisters took their first flights through the night sky, their wings outstretched. They flew to this tree and that, enjoying the feeling of the air beneath their wings.
‘Hmm,’ Willow thought, ‘maybe it would be fun to have a go . . .’
‘Hello,’ said Mummy’s warm, smiley voice. ‘You can do it!’
Willow really wasn’t sure this time; it looked so far and so big!
‘Willow,’ whispered Mummy, ‘do you remember how you felt when you first left your egg? And how you felt when you first left the nesting box? You’re getting bigger and braver all the time. This is what you were made for; you were made to fly!’
Willow listened carefully to what Mummy said. Then, she perched in the doorway, stretched out her wings and set off on her first flight into the night sky.
- Ask the children whether they can think of any special lessons that this story can teach us.
Listen to a range of responses.
Time for reflection
I wonder whether any of us have ever felt like Willow. Perhaps some of us have felt like we would prefer to stay in a safe, warm place where we are comfortable. I wonder whether any of us have ever been afraid to try new things.
As we grow older, we face new opportunities, new challenges and new experiences. Like Willow, we might feel frightened to try new things, but we won’t grow to be all that we can be if we never try anything new.
When Willow began to fly, she had to face the new opportunity that she had. She had to stretch her wings and fly. We can’t fly in the same way as Willow, but we can try new things, even when we feel a bit nervous. Often, when we have a go at something new, we find that we really enjoy it!
As we start this new school year, we may feel like we’d rather crawl back to our comfortable nests of preschool, or the class we were in last year. However, we, too, need to stretch our wings and face new challenges. The whole year is ahead of us. That’s really exciting! Let’s have a go at anything new. Let’s try hard even when we find something difficult.
Now let’s make ourselves really quiet inside for a few moments and think about how we feel at the start of this new school year.
Let’s think about the new opportunities ahead of us.
Let’s remember that if we are brave, as Willow was, we will fly into the year ahead and have many exciting new learning adventures!
Thank you for the start of this new school year.
Thank you for all the exciting opportunities that lie ahead of us.
Please help us to be brave.
Please help us to step into our new classes with enthusiasm,
To try hard in all our lessons,
To take every new opportunity,
To make new friends and to care for other people.
‘Stretch and grow’ (Songs for Every Growing School, Out of the Ark Music)
‘Living and learning’ (Songs for Every Assembly, Out of the Ark Music)