Enjoy the Autumn Days
by Alan M. Barker (adapted)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To reflect positively on the experience of change.
Preparation and materials
- Have available the YouTube video ‘Autumn Days’ and the means to show it during the assembly. An instrumental version with lyrics is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9mvrkQbzgc (2.13 minutes long)
- Have available the lyrics for the song ‘Autumn days’ and the means to display them. They are available at: https://tinyurl.com/yx9epvyx
- Optional: you may wish to create a focus table using some of the items described in the song, such as chestnut shells and their conkers, battered shoes, a frying pan and a football scarf, and surround them with autumn leaves.
- Show the YouTube video ‘Autumn Days’.
Encourage the children to join in with singing the song.
- Point out that autumn is a season of change. Invite the children to consider the changes that can be seen, felt and even smelt in gardens, parks and the countryside. Leaves are changing colour, fields lie empty after the harvest, the newly dug earth has a distinctive fragrance and days are becoming shorter and cooler.
- Show the lyrics of the song.
Focus on the seasonal changes described in the first two lines: heavy autumn dews and the discovery of conkers in their shells. Invite the children to spot other seasonal changes that are described, such as departing swallows, harvested apples and the appearance of the moon on a cold evening.
- Observe that many other changes have taken place since the song was first written in 1969. Some of the children’s grandparents may well remember the song from their school days! (You could also comment that many of the teachers may have sung ‘Autumn days’ when they were at school and how they have changed!)
- Challenge the children to spot ways in which everyday activities described in the song have changed.
For example, looking at the second verse, not as many people have bacon for breakfast nowadays. Also, children’s shoes more often have Velcro fastenings than shoelaces and most people buy their milk from a local shop or the supermarket. In the fourth verse, cars are more reliable these days – and is the home team winning or struggling?
- Allow the children to reflect on some of the changes that have taken place in school since the summer holidays, such as changes to classes, the arrival of new staff members and children, new exercise books, measures due to the coronavirus pandemic and so on.
Identify the range of emotions experienced at times of change. Observe, too, that although some changes can be challenging, we can also welcome the changes that each year brings. Encourage everyone to say a great big ‘thank you’ for the new experiences of autumn days!
Time for reflection
A verse from the Bible (Psalm 107.1) says, ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His love endures forever!’
Pause to allow time for thought.
Ask the children to think of something that they can say ‘thank you’ for today.
Then, encourage them to think of someone different to whom they can say ‘thank you’ every day this week.
Thank you for the beauty of the different seasons.
Thank you for the colours of autumn and the world in which we live.
As we think about the changes that are going on around us, please help us always to find reasons to be grateful.
‘Autumn days’. An instrumental version with lyrics is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9mvrkQbzgc (2.13 minutes long)
- To remind you of autumn, you could try making a seed picture. Some ideas are available at: https://www.firstpalette.com/craft/seed-mosaic.html
- If you would like to make a card to say ‘thank you’, some great crafting ideas are available at: https://tinyurl.com/y56kz45m