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Making a Fresh Start

Everyone can start again

by Rebecca Parkinson (revised, originally published in 2010)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To encourage us to think about the importance of fresh starts.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available the following images and the means to display them during the assembly:

    - athletes on their starting blocks, available at: https://tinyurl.com/y9qjoamh
    - a plane taking off, available at: https://tinyurl.com/y798u6q9
    - a ‘first day of school’ sign, available at: https://tinyurl.com/y4fqm9eb
    - a bride and groom, available at: https://tinyurl.com/yalcdq76

    Optional: prior to the assembly, for the first image, you may wish to ask some children who are involved in an athletics club to prepare something to share during the assembly about how they feel at the start of a race.
  • Optional: you may wish to suggest that the children are given time in their classes after the assembly to think about a change that they want to make. Then, they could share it with someone they trust or write it on a piece of paper and seal it in an envelope so that they can revisit it later in the year.

Assembly

  1. Explain to the children that you are going to show them four pictures and you want them to try to spot the connection between them.

    Show the images one at a time, asking questions about what each picture shows or illustrates.

  2. The first picture is of athletes on their starting blocks. Discuss how the athletes would feel at the start of a race. If you have prearranged for some children belonging to athletics clubs to speak, ask them to come up and do so.

  3. The second picture shows a plane taking off. Ask children who have travelled by plane to describe how they felt.

  4. The third picture shows a ‘first day of school’ sign. Discuss how the children felt when they started school.

  5. The fourth picture shows a wedding. You may want to ask the children about their experiences of weddings.

  6. Ask the children whether they can spot the connection between all of the pictures. The answer is that each picture shows the start of something: the start of a race, the start of a journey, the start of school life and the start of married life.

  7. Explain that January marks the start of a new year. At this time, many people decide that they want to change something in their lives. These decisions are often called New Year’s resolutions. People decide that they are not happy about something in their lives, so they decide to start again.

  8. Explain that sometimes in school, things go wrong. Maybe we fall out with our friends; maybe we don’t try hard with our work; maybe we get into trouble for our behaviour. In each case, there would have been a moment when things started to go wrong. Maybe we were in a bad mood, so we were mean to a friend; maybe we wanted to make people laugh, so we did something that we knew was inappropriate. The good news is that all of us have the opportunity to start again.

  9. Point out that schools are great places to start again. The challenge is to ask ourselves, ‘Are there things that we would like to be different?’

    Explain that sometimes, it is good to tell someone our New Year’s resolution so that they can help us to keep it.

Time for reflection

We are at the start of a new year that is full of wonderful opportunities. Encourage the children to pause for a moment and think about whether there are any changes that they would like to make in their own lives during the coming year.

Ask the children to consider the following questions, pausing to allow time for reflection after each.

- Would you like to be a better friend?
- Would you like to work harder?
- Would you like to take more responsibility, join a sports team or change your behaviour?

Remind the children that no one can make these changes for them. However, there are always people who are there to help them. Emphasize to the children that if they are ever struggling with something, they can talk to one of the adults at school.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you that you care about every part of our lives.
Thank you that you know what we would like to change.
When things go wrong, please help us always to be brave enough to start again.
Thank you that you made us and that you are happy with what you made.
Amen.

Publication date: January 2020   (Vol.22 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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