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Building Firm Foundations

An assembly for the start of the academic year

by Alexandra Palmer

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider the meaning of Jesus’ parable of the two builders.

Preparation and materials


  1. Introduce the word ‘foundation’. Ask the children whether they know what foundations are.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  2. Show the ‘Building Firm Foundations’ picture sheet.

    Ask the children, ‘What do you need to use to build a house?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Answers may include bricks, roof tiles, wood, walls, windows, doors, foundations, builders and cement.

  3. If the children haven’t said the word ‘foundations’, explain what they are and why they are important for building a house.

  4. Introduce Jesus’ parable of the two builders. Explain that Jesus told parables to help explain a simple lesson. One of the parables that he told was about two builders.

    Show the YouTube video ‘The parable of the two builders’ from 0.35 minutes.

  5. Ask the children to discuss the following questions with a partner or in a small group. After each question, listen to several answers before moving on to the next question.

    - Which builder was wise? (Answer: the builder who built his house upon the rock.)
    - Why did Jesus describe the other builder as foolish? (Answer: the other builder built his house on sand, which meant that the house didn’t have strong foundations.)
    - Why do you think the other builder built his house on the sand? (Answers may include: he didn’t have to work as hard to build his house; he thought that it would be quicker; he was lazy; and it gave him more time to relax after building his home.)
    - Why did the house that was built on the rock survive the storms? (Answer: the house was well-built and had strong foundations, which meant that it couldn’t get washed away in the storms.)
    - Why did the house that was built on the sand not survive the storms? (Answer: the house was not well-built and was built on weak foundations of sand, which caused it to be washed away when the storms hit.)
    - What do you think the storms represent in the story? (Answer: the storms represent life’s problems, which can shake us like a house being buffeted during a severe storm. The problems can be small, but build up over time, or they can be big problems.)

  6. Ask the children, ‘What sort of problems can we experience?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Answers may include falling out with friends; losing our favourite toy; not understanding our schoolwork; worrying about learning a new skill like swimming or riding a bike; being bullied at school or online; and being ill.

  7. Next, ask the children, ‘What foundations do you think we need to help us get through any of life’s storms?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Answers may include asking for help from our friends; talking to and getting help from our teachers; talking to and getting help from our family; and having a faith and talking to God.

Time for reflection

Ask the children, ‘When it comes to learning a new skill or activity, can we become a combination of both builders: a bit of wanting to rush ahead like the foolish builder and a bit of wanting to take our time like the wise builder?’

Have a class vote.

Explain that it can take a while to build firm foundations. Encourage the children to think quietly about an activity that took them a long time to learn. For example, riding a bike, swimming, football or netball, knitting, baking a cake, a new type of dance or song and plaiting their hair.

Point out that if we rush ahead when doing any of these activities, it means that we may not learn to do the activity properly.

Dear God,
Thank you for Jesus’ parable of the two builders.
Thank you that we can take our time to learn new things.
Thank you for all the people who help us when we encounter problems.
Please help us always to try to do our best to build firm foundations.


‘Our God is a great big God’, available at: (3 minutes long)

Extension activities

  1. At the start of an academic year, children can sometimes worry about moving up a year group because they feel that they won’t be able to do the work.

    Give each child a copy of the sheet that accompanies this assembly (Building Firm Foundations - Extension Activity) and ask them to fill it in. The activity helps the children to reflect on any skills or activities that they developed in their previous year group that will help them now. The skills and activities are written onto a brick wall that forms their firm foundations for learning during the new academic year.
Publication date: August 2021   (Vol.23 No.8)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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