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Having a Fresh Start

Clean outside and inside

by the Revd Catherine Williams (revised, originally published in 2012)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To encourage us to think about a fresh start at the beginning of a new year.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need five substances that we use to make things clean, some that we use on our bodies and others that we use around the home. The ones mentioned in the assembly are handwash, shampoo, washing powder, washing-up liquid and sugar soap.


  1. Ask the children to put up their hands if they have washed their hands recently. Ask them to keep their hands up if they used handwash.

    Show the bottle of handwash.

    Emphasize the importance of washing our hands thoroughly.

  2. Show the shampoo.

    Ask the children the same questions in relation to shampoo. Ask the children to explain why it’s important that we keep our hair and bodies clean.

    Develop the importance of not getting diseases and of smelling fresh.

  3. Move on to talk about the need to keep the layer on top of our bodies clean, i.e. our clothes.

    Show the box of washing powder.

    Explain how having clean clothes also helps our health, makes us look presentable and helps us to smell good.

  4. Show the bottle of washing-up liquid.

    Talk about the importance of keeping clean the things that we use to eat or drink too.

  5. Show the sugar soap.

    Ask the children whether any of them know what sugar soap is used for. This is a more difficult one!

    Explain that we use sugar soap to clean walls before we paint them. The sugar soap removes grease and dirt and makes the surface easier to paint.

  6. Explain that at the beginning of a new year, lots of people think about having a fresh, clean start.

    Encourage the children to share about any new things that they received at Christmas. Point out that as well as having new clothes to wear on the outside, it is a useful time to think about being clean and fresh on the inside too. This will help the new things that we are going to learn this year to stick.

  7. In the Bible, God promises that he can make us clean deep down inside. He promises that he can make all things new, including when we feel upset about things that we’ve said and done, or things that have happened to us. All we need to do is to say sorry for the times when we haven’t behaved very well and ask God for a fresh start.

Time for reflection

Ask the children whether they can think of any new year’s resolutions that people might make.

Ask them to consider whether there are decisions and resolutions that they might like to make. Maybe they would like to work harder, play more or relax more. Maybe they need to think about their friendships and the way they behave.

Encourage the children to think about how they might need a fresh start.

Dear God,
We all make mistakes.
Please help us to identify these mistakes and seek to put them right.
Thank you that there is always the chance of a fresh start.
Please help us to grow and move forward this year.


‘A whole new world’ from the film Aladdin, available at: (3.09 minutes long)

Publication date: January 2021   (Vol.23 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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