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Pause for Thought: Back to Normal?

A reflection on our journey out of lockdown

by Becky May

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To reflect upon what we want normal life to look like.

Preparation and materials

  • None required.


  1. Welcome the children to the assembly and begin by asking how they are feeling today. What have they enjoyed doing recently? What are they looking forward to doing soon?

  2. Explain to the children that this month, the next set of lockdown restrictions are due to be lifted, so things should start to feel a bit more like normal.

    Ask the children to share some of the things that their family may be looking forward to doing.

  3. Observe that there has been lots of talk over recent weeks and months about things getting back to normal. What elements of life before lockdown have the children missed? What is it that makes life feel normal?

  4. Explain to the children that the last year or so has been difficult. We have had to stop doing lots of things that we were used to doing and learn to find new ways of doing other things. Some of us may have experienced illness or loss in our family and there will be some things that everyone has missed out on. (You may wish to ask the children to name some of these things.)

  5. Now remind the children that there has been lots to be thankful for in the past year too. It has given us the opportunity to reflect on some of the things that we may want to change in our world; we may not simply want to go back to things exactly as they were.

    We have seen people change in their awareness about environmental issues and racial injustice. Some families have spent more time together. Some of us have enjoyed studying at home! As we think about the future, perhaps we don’t want to go back to normal, but forward to a better normal.

  6. Ask the children to think about some of the things that they would like to take forward with them. Perhaps they would like to spend more time with their family or outdoors. Ask the children to share some of their hopes for the future.

Time for reflection

Encourage the children to make themselves really still and to think quietly for themselves as you talk.

Explain that, in the Bible, there are several stories that can help us at this time. When Moses led the Israelites out of slavery towards the Promised Land, there was a time when they were very unhappy in the desert. They moaned and groaned and wanted to be taken back to Egypt, even to the life they had as slaves! However, God didn’t want them to go back to that; he had a far better future planned for them in the Promised Land.

- As we think about our future, what are the things that we want to take with us?
- What are our hopes for the next stage of our life?

Dear God,
Thank you that you are with us in every stage of life.
You have been with us in lockdown, and you are with us as we go into the future.
Please help us to shape the world to be the place that it should be.
Please help us to fill it with love, hope and peace.


‘Every step’ by Nick and Becky Drake, available at: (4.05 minutes long)

‘I don’t know what the future holds’ by Jim Bailey, available at: (3.09 minutes long)

Extension activities

  1. Consider creating a display board of hopes and dreams for the future. Invite members of the school community and beyond to write some speech or thought bubbles to add to the display.

  2. Carry out some circle-time discussions where children can share some of the positive things that they have discovered over the last year or so and talk about the difference that each of us can make as we move into the future.
Publication date: June 2021   (Vol.23 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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