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Facing Fears

by Vicki Johnson

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To help children deal with their anxieties.

Preparation and materials

  • Note: This assembly is linked to A Worry Shared which uses a 'worry box' (see the assembly for details). You might like to consider doing that assembly a week after this one, introducing the worry box at the end of this assembly.
  • You will need: a recording of Prokofiev's Dance of the Knights from Romeo and Juliet (or other dramatic and chilling music).
  • A recording of the Shepherds’ Song from Berlioz's Enfance du Christ, or any soothing music for the reflection.
  • A large candle.
  • A piece of material with a jolly pattern big enough to half cover your face and body.
  • A mask (optional) or a big hat.
  • The hall should be dark apart from the lit candle as the children come in.


  1. When all the children are still and absolutely quiet, play the ballet music which is dramatic and chilling. Fling the material over your body and peer menacingly at the children. Other variations could be to use a mask or a wide hat or anything that is a mild disguise. Build up the tension and then at a given signal get an adult to put the lights on and turn off the music.
  2. Ask the children what they were feeling or imagining when the music was playing and how they felt when the hall was gloomy and shadowy. Talk about atmosphere and mood and how these can make us feel. Even though many of the children recognized the make-believe nature of what you were doing, did they also feel affected (perhaps just a little bit) by the mood you were trying to create?
  3. Show them that all they were worrying about or were affected by was a certain track on a CD (show them one) and this piece of material which looks bright and cheerful in the light.

  4. Go on to explain that everything they were concerned about was in their imagination. Most of their worries are in their imagination and once confronted they can be dealt with. Often being frightened of something is much more frightening than the thing itself!

  5. Older children may be able to contribute well-known phrases that use light and dark as metaphors: throw some light on the subject, kept in the dark.

  6. Introduce the 'worry box' if you plan to use A Worry Shared [insert link] in a week's time.

Time for reflection

Our imaginations are often bigger than our worries.
Take those worries into the light and examine them. They may well disappear.
Close your eyes and listen to the soothing music.
Practise visualizing a safe, warm place with gentle breezes
and clear your head of any worries.

God of the light,
Thank you that light banishes darkness,
and that joy, hope and trust banish fear.


‘Little star’ (Come and Praise, 126)

Publication date: October 2004   (Vol.6 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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