The importance of rest
by Claire Law
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To explore the lessons that animals can teach us about the importance of rest.
Preparation and materials
- You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Hibernating) and the means to display them.
- Have available the YouTube video ‘Winter Hibernation Winter’s Tale’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 2.21 minutes long and is available at: https://youtu.be/3hSGuYMOe3E
- Ask the children whether they are feeling wide awake this morning!
Listen to a range of responses.
- Ask the children whether they know the name for the special rest that some animals have during the winter months.
- Show Slide 1.
Explain that the word that you were looking for was ‘hibernation’, which resembles a deep sleep. In hibernation, the animal’s body temperature lowers, and its breathing and heart rate slow down.
Explain that hibernation protects the animal from cold and reduces the need for food during the season when food is scarce.
This slide shows a bear, one of the many animals across the world who go into hibernation.
- Tell the children that, in the UK, there are just three types of animal that hibernate.
Ask the children, ‘Does anyone know which three animals we’re talking about?’
Listen to a range of responses.
- Show Slide 2.
Dormice hibernate from about October to April. They hibernate on the ground, rolled tightly into a ball in a nest of leaves and grass. During hibernation, they will lose 50 per cent of their body weight, so to survive it, they spend the last weeks of the summer eating enough to double their weight.
- Show Slide 3.
Another UK animal who hibernates is the hedgehog. Like dormice, hedgehogs eat plenty before entering hibernation. When they are in hibernation, their breathing rate slows to conserve energy. A non-hibernating hedgehog takes about 25 breaths a minute. However, when a hedgehog is in the deepest stages of hibernation, it can go two hours without a single breath.
- Show Slide 4.
There is one more animal that hibernates in the UK: the bat. There are various types of bat in the UK, and all of them hibernate. As the only flying mammals, bats need to use a lot of energy, so to survive a winter where food is scarce, bats hibernate. They often pick hibernation roosts in old buildings or the eaves of houses.
- Perhaps you think that some UK animals are missing from this hibernation list? Well, some animals enter a deep rest stage that involves reduced activity, but is not scientifically classified as hibernation.
Show the YouTube video ‘Winter Hibernation Winter’s Tale’ (2.21 minutes long).
Time for reflection
Our distant ancestors, who lived in tropical parts of the world, had no need to hibernate to survive a cold winter. This is why humans did not evolve to hibernate. As humans migrated to colder regions of the world, we discovered fire, clothes, shelter and other ways of surviving the cold.
However, we all need time to rest, build up our energy levels and recover from difficult conditions around us. Although we might not hibernate, we do need time to rest.
Show Slide 5.
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus says, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’ (Matthew 11.28)
There are times when we can all feel too busy: we feel tired, tense or in need of a pause. Sometimes, we may feel physically tired, but there are also times when we will feel mentally tired and drained.
We all need to rest. Getting enough sleep is important, especially when we are growing quickly. As humans, we don’t hibernate, but we do need to relax and enjoy a break. Sometimes, this can be difficult, and we may need to ask for help from friends, family and people at school, who can help us to find ways to rest and recharge.
Thank you for the wonders of the world.
Thank you for the animal world and the lessons that we can learn from it.
Please help us to recognize when we need to rest and recharge, both physically and mentally.
Please help us to find moments of peace in our busy lives.
Please help us to be sensitive to the needs of others.