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A Precious Gift

An assembly in the ‘Hello, Scruff!’ series

by the Revd Sylvia Burgoyne

Suitable for Reception / Key Stage 1


To consider the special things in our lives.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a glove puppet or sock puppet of a donkey, called Scruff.
  • As the assembly begins, ensure that you already have Scruff the puppet on your hand.
  • You will also need a pearl and other gemstones or precious things. If a pearl is not available, an image of one is available at:


  1. Scruff waves to the children. Encourage them to say, ‘Hello, Scruff!’

    If this is the first time the children have met Scruff, you will need to use the following introduction.

    Scruff lives on a farm with Lucy Jane, her mum, Mrs B, her dad, Farmer Brown and her baby brother, Tom. Lucy Jane loves Scruff. She looks after him. She plays with him and she talks to him – when she’s happy and when she’s sad. Scruff is her best friend!

  2. Lucy Jane’s mum was going to be 40 years old in June. Farmer Brown wanted her to have a party, and to give her a special present. He asked Lucy Jane what she thought her mum would like. Lucy Jane went to the stable to discuss it with Scruff.
    ‘What do you think Mum would like, Scruff?’ she asked. ‘What about a big box of chocolates, or a lovely bouquet of flowers, or a bottle of perfume? Or maybe she’d prefer some new wellies, or a new bike. What do you think?’
    Scruff listened, but didn’t make a sound.
    ‘I know, perhaps she’d like something to keep to remember her special day,’ suggested Lucy Jane.
    ‘Hee-haw, hee-haw!’ nodded Scruff.
    ‘But what?’ asked Lucy Jane. ‘I’ve been saving up my pocket money since Christmas, but what can I buy with it?’

  3. Pause to ask the following questions.

    - What do you think Lucy Jane’s mum would like?
    - What special present would your mum like to have?

    Listen to a range of responses.

  4. Continue with the story.

    The next afternoon, Lucy Jane came running into the stable after school. She was so excited.
    ‘We had a lovely story today, all about oysters at the bottom of the sea. Scruff, did you know that if a grain of sand gets between the two shells of the oyster, it can make its soft insides very sore? So, the clever oyster covers it with layer after layer of a sticky fluid, which hardens and becomes a pearl. It can take as long as four years to make a big pearl. Isn’t that amazing, Scruff?’
    ‘Hee-haw, hee-haw!’ Scruff agreed.
    ‘I can’t wait to tell Mum and Dad the story of the pearl,’ Lucy Jane said, as she quickly gave Scruff his tea.
    Later, when Lucy Jane came to wish Scruff good night, she was even more excited.
    ‘When I told Mum and Dad about the pearl, Scruff, you’ll never guess what Mum said. She told me that because she was born in June, her birthstone is a pearl. That gave me a great idea.’

  5. Pause to ask the children, ‘Can you guess what Lucy Jane’s idea was?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

  6. Continue with the story.

    ‘Well,’ Lucy continued, ‘when Dad and I took the dishes into the kitchen, I whispered to him that we should buy Mum some pearls for her birthday. He said that a string of pearls would cost a lot of money, but that we might be able to buy a single pearl on a silver chain. So, tomorrow we’re going to the jeweller’s to buy one. I just know Mum is going to love her special present.’
    ‘Hee-haw, hee-haw!’ agreed Scruff.

    Take off Scruff.

  7. Ask the children, ‘Do you think Lucy Jane’s mum is going to be pleased with her present?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

  8. Explain that one of the shortest stories that Jesus told was about a pearl.

    A merchant was looking for fine pearls to buy. He searched and searched until he found the most beautiful pearl he had ever seen. However, it was very expensive and he had to work out whether he had enough money to buy it. He wanted it more than anything else, so there was only one thing that he could do. He sold all the other things that he owned and bought the precious pearl.

  9. In the Bible, it tells us that when Jesus met some fishermen, he asked them to leave their jobs and their homes to go with him and tell people about God. Ever since then, Christians have believed that nothing in the world is as important as having Jesus as their special friend. This is why Jesus is sometimes referred to as ‘the pearl of great price’.

Time for reflection

Show the children the precious things that you have brought to the assembly.

Encourage the children to think about the following questions. You may like them to discuss the questions with a partner or in small groups.

- Which of the precious things that you’ve shown them do they like the most?
- What is their most precious possession?
- Are there things that are more precious to them than these possessions?

Dear God,
We thank you for all the lovely things that belong to us.
Please help us to understand which things in life are the most important.
Thank you for your most precious gift of Jesus.


‘Jesus’ love is very wonderful’, available at: (2.07 minutes long)

Publication date: June 2021   (Vol.23 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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