First Time Ever!
A celebration of new opportunities
by Becky May
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To encourage us to see the school year ahead as an amazing opportunity.
Preparation and materials
- Have available the following images of trying new things and the means to display them during the assembly:
- a baby tasting new food, available at: https://tinyurl.com/y6pncc5m
- a group of young people running into the sea, available at: https://tinyurl.com/yyzbyas4
- a child tackling a new subject, available at: https://tinyurl.com/yyznsdk2
- a child learning to ride a bike, available at: https://tinyurl.com/y63peodk
- Greet the children warmly and adapt your words of welcome according to whether this is the first assembly back after the summer holidays or a little later in the new term.
I hope that you’ve had a wonderful summer holiday. It’s lovely to see you all back here. I wonder whether any of you have done anything for the first time ever this summer.
Show the images of trying new things.
Have any of you been anywhere new for the first time ever? Or perhaps tried some new food?
(If possible, share a story of something that you did for the first time during the summer holiday.)
- I wonder what your ‘first time ever’ story might be?
Invite the children to share some of their own ‘first time ever’ stories.
Listen to a range of responses.
To encourage everyone to participate, you could ask the children to chat with the person next to them about their stories.
- New opportunities can be very exciting, but they can also be a bit scary. Sometimes, when we know that we’re going to do something for the first time ever, we may feel a little nervous. I wonder whether any of you have ever felt like this.
Listen to a range of responses.
- Sometimes, we know that we’re going to have to do something for the first time, but we’re not really sure what it will entail, or how we will feel. Perhaps we worry that we won’t be able to do it properly, so we build it up in our heads to be something negative. For example, when I was a child and I was learning to ride my bike, I remember feeling scared about taking the stabilizers off. I kept thinking, ‘What if I fall off?’ ‘What if the bike topples over?’ ‘What if I can’t pedal quickly enough?’
All those things made me worry that I wouldn’t be able to do it. I shouldn’t have worried though; it took practice and a bit of help, but I soon learnt to ride my bike and when I could do it, it was brilliant! I could ride my bike to the park, to the shops, to school – all over the place! I had learnt a new skill that helped me to do more, achieve more and enjoy more.
(Note: you may prefer to give a different real-life example here.)
- As we start this new school year, there will be lots of ‘first time ever’ moments ahead of us. Some of us are here at school for the first time ever, some of us are in a new class for the first time ever and some of us will go on a residential trip for the first time ever.
Ask the children, ‘What other ‘first time ever’ moments are ahead of you this year?’
Invite the children to share some of the things that they are looking forward to in the year ahead.
Time for reflection
I wonder what feelings we have when we think about these things. Perhaps we’re excited, or proud that we’ve reached this stage. Perhaps we’re a bit nervous, too, like I was when I learnt to ride my bike. It’s fine to have these feelings, as long as we don’t let them get in the way of us trying new things and enjoying them. Looking ahead to doing something for the first time may be a little scary, but when we’ve done it, we’ll feel like we’ve really achieved something.
It’s natural to be a bit worried when we’re facing new challenges. There are several places in the Bible where God reminds us not to worry because he is always with us. In the Book of Joshua, God’s messenger told the people, ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’ It’s a promise that God repeats several times in the Bible. Perhaps, next time we are facing something for the first time ever, we can remember what we’ve talked about today and remind ourselves of the exciting opportunity that it presents. We might also find it helpful to pray, and to ask God to be with us, too.
Thank you that you have brought us back here for the start of a brand new year.
Thank you for all the opportunities that lie ahead of us.
For new friendships,
New things to learn,
New places to go,
Things to try for the first time ever.
Please help us not to be afraid or nervous, but to remember that you are always with us.
Help us to celebrate these new experiences this year.
‘Three little birds’ by Bob Marley and the Wailers, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYi5aW1GdUU (3.01 minutes long)
‘Back in school again’ (Songs for Every Occasion, Out of the Ark Music)