A presentation for the beginning of the school year
by Jan Edmunds
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider change. To welcome everyone back after the summer holiday and to provide a ready-made presentation for the beginning of the school year.
Preparation and materials
- This assembly can be used in several ways. If used as a class presentation to the rest of the school some rehearsals will be necessary and it would be advisable to learn the song. As there are a number of points made around the theme of change, you might choose to select just a few or split this across two assemblies.
- You will need a baby doll.
- Try to find a photograph of yourself as a child, one that is large enough to be seen. This could extend to other members of staff or children in your class.
- An OHP would be useful for the poem or prayer.
- Find two see-through containers, one holding some blue liquid poster paint, the other with yellow paint, and a paintbrush for stirring.
- Find a suitable piece of music such as 'It's a new day' (Come and Praise, 106). This could be pre-recorded and played as the children enter the room. There is scope for further development.
- Welcome everyone as we begin a new term. Ask: Who can tell me what will happen if I pour some of this yellow paint into the blue? (Most of them will know but let them see!) Choose a child to help you. Let him/her stir the paint. Point out that the colour has changed to green. Explain that this is a 'change' - when things change they become different.
Say that many changes will take place for all of us throughout the coming year. Thank the child and ask him/her to return to their place.
- Hold up the baby doll and say: Just think, we were once all as small as this - we have all certainly changed. We had very little hair, no teeth and we couldn't walk. Mind you, we could make a noise, especially when we were hungry!
Introduce the photograph(s) and say that this person has changed. Can they guess who it is? Hold a short guessing game with other pictures if time allows.
Say that during the first few years of our lives we change a great deal. We learn to walk and talk. We become bigger and stronger.
- Starting school is one of the first big changes in our lives. (If preparation time allows some children could be encouraged to write about their feelings as they experienced such changes.) It is exciting to have a new start and a new beginning but it can sometimes be rather scary.
Once in school we learn how to read, write, do maths and other things. Each day we learn new skills. Every day we meet new challenges.
- The world is changing around us. Day changes into night, then night changes into day. Days change into weeks, then weeks into months. The weather changes as the seasons of the year pass by. One year changes into the next, and so time goes on and we change with it, in the way we look, the things we wear, how we think about things, the food we like, and all sorts of other things.
- In nature, changes are taking place all the time. For example, the long-legged, awkward foal will grow into a fine horse. The mischievous puppy becomes a faithful dog. The drab cygnet becomes a beautiful swan. We learn about tadpoles changing into frogs, we see caterpillars change into moths or butterflies. Flowers, trees and plants change their appearance as the seasons change.
People also change the way they look, as they grow older. Your grandparents were once young like you. Now, perhaps their skin has become more lined and their hair is turning grey. (If further development is required some children could perhaps be encouraged to write poems about their grandparents, which could be read out.)
- Many of us have experienced change by moving to a new house. This is a big step in our lives, especially if we have moved to another town, a long way away from familiar people and places.
And each year when we enter a new class we probably change rooms and teachers. Throughout each term we change the displays on our walls to make our classrooms and school look more attractive and colourful.
- Sum up with the following:
As we grow we change.
When we are one we have just begun.
When we are two we are nearly new.
When we are three there are new things to see.
When we are four we can do even more.
When we are five we feel so alive.
When we are six we can do lots of tricks.
When we are seven life can be heaven.
When we are eight our lives are just great.
When we are nine we're getting on fine.
By ten and in teens we change even more
Learning more clearly what life has in store.
- You could add that Christians believe the coming of Jesus changed the whole world. There are many stories about the things he did. They show how he changed people's lives by healing them and making them well again. He even changed water into wine at a wedding in Cana (John 2.1-11). And many famous men and women throughout history have brought about changes of one sort or another.
- Optional, to the tune of 'Island in the sun':
This is our school where we learn and play,
We shall all be here for many a day.
Though things are changing and they all seem new,
We hope to be happy here in all we do.
Cos it's great to say we're on our way,
Friends we'll be for many a day,
A new beginning and a new school year,
So we'll all join together and we'll raise a cheer!
[1-2-3, altogether, shout and wave]
Hooray for the new school year!
Time for reflection
Think about all the changes in our lives;
let's try to be better people as a result of them.
We grow and change today and every day;
let's try to make the changes good ones.
Our school is changing all the time;
let's help to make the changes for the better.
We thank you, God, for all the changes in our lives.
May we become better people as a result of them.
Be with us as we grow and change, today and every day.
We thank you for our school,
for the lessons we will learn,
for the interesting stories we will read,
for the songs we will sing and the music we will make.
We thank you for our new friends.
Please be with us and help to make our school a happy place.
Bless us all as we begin a new term and a new school year.
'This is our school where we learn and play' (above)
'One more step along the world I go' (Come and Praise, 47).