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Pause for Thought in the Classroom: In a Knot!

How do we approach problems?

by Revd Alan M. Barker (adapted)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To encourage a positive approach to problems.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a pair of trainers with the laces badly knotted together.
  • You may wish to use some quiet music for the ‘Time for reflection’ part of the assembly. An example is available at: (11.36 minutes long)


  1. Show the pair of trainers to the children.

    Ask the children whether they have ever had this problem, where their laces have got into a tangled mess.

  2. Explain that feeling tangled up in knots means feeling caught up in something that you are unsure how to escape from. Ask the children if they have ever felt tangled up in knots.

    - Maybe they’ve been stuck with a piece of work and couldn’t see how to make any progress.
    - Maybe something has worried them and they haven’t known how to put it into words.
    - Maybe they’ve become nervous about going to school and their tummy has felt like these laces, all knotted together.
    - Maybe they’ve fallen out with friends and not known how to sort out the problem.
    - Maybe the last few months have left them feeling knotted up and confused.

  3. Ask the children to try to help you unknot the laces. Explain that it takes time and care to undo knotted laces, and the same is true of some of our fears and worries. We may need to share the problem with someone else and ask for some help.

Time for reflection

Invite the children to relax while you play some quiet music and say the following.

Let’s remember that we are special . . .

Let’s loosen any knots of worry that might be bothering us today . . .

Let’s remember that it is always good to talk to someone about how were feeling . . .

You may wish to use the following prayer.

Dear God,
Please help us to be positive in life.
Help us to concentrate on the good.
Help us to try hard in all situations.
Help us to see good things in other people.
Help us to live lives that encourage others.


‘Give it all you’ve got’, available at: (2.10 minutes long)
'We're All in this Together', available at: 

Extension activities

  1. If you want to practise some knots, try this video: ‘How to tie 5 different knots’, available at: (3.25 minutes long)
Publication date: September 2020   (Vol.22 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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