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by Jan Edmunds

Suitable for Key Stage 1


To show that rules are a necessary part of our lives.

Preparation and materials

  • Select six children and rehearse them to call out lines such as:
  • 'Keep out of there!'
  • 'Foul!'
  • 'Ouch, that hurt!'
  • 'That's mine, leave it alone!'
  • 'That's not fair!'
  • 'Stop it, you can't do that!'
    Each suggests some sort of scenario where rules need to be made.
  • An OHP would be useful so that the children can read the poem with you. Alternatively it could be copied and used for individuals or for choral speaking. The following ideas are suggestions of how the theme might be delivered as a class assembly.


  1. Begin by saying: Have you ever wondered when someone tells you not to do something just why they seem to want to interfere? Listen to these children. (Ask your speakers to stand up and deliver their lines.) As each one speaks, ask the audience to put up their hands and guess what might have happened.

    It may be interesting to comment on their ideas concerning moral standards regarding trespass, fairness in sport, assault and bullying, theft, equality, rules of behaviour, etc. Take care not to lose your audience by an overzealous development of each item!

    Ask your speakers to sit down.

  2. Point out that rules are made to ensure that situations like these do not get out of hand and become harmful. This poem might help you to understand the importance of rules.

    We may not always like them
    They're meant to make us share.
    At times we try to break them
    Though they're meant to make things fair.
    They stop the cheat, they beat the thief,
    They keep us safe and free from grief.
    You can't do this, you can't do that,
    Is what they seem to say.
    They're made for you, they're made for me,
    It's best we should obey!

  3. Further discussion could be developed around the poem - what do the children think it is saying to them?

  4. Say that every day in the newspapers, or on the radio or television, sadly we hear about people who have broken the rules in one way or another.

  5. The most famous rules of all are the Ten Commandments, given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus19-20). Moses was the first great leader of Israel, who led his people, the Israelites, out of the land of Egypt where they had been made to work as slaves. (More details can be given depending upon the audience and time allowed.)

  6. A simple explanation of the Ten Commandments could follow. This is the list of rules that tells us how God wants us to behave.

    1. God wants us to worship no other god but him.
    2. He does not want us to make statues or images of other gods and worship them.
    3. We should not swear or use bad language.
    4. We should remember that when God made the world he rested on the Sabbath, the seventh day. He wants us to rest one day a week.
    5. We should show respect and obey our parents.
    6. We must not kill other people.
    7. We should be fair in our relationships and remember the promises we make to each other.
    8. We must not take things that do not belong to us.
    9. We must not tell lies.
    10. We should not be jealous of what others have.

    Although these rules were made so long ago they still affect our lives today.

Time for reflection

Think back over the Ten Commandments. Are there any that you have broken recently?

Dear God,
Help us to realize that rules are made to keep us safe and to make things fair.
Help us to obey them so that we can try to make our world a better place in which to live.



'Heavenly Father, may thy blessing' (Come and Praise, 62)

Publication date: February 2005   (Vol.7 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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