Some things must never be forgotten
by Becky May
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider the importance of remembering.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a poppy.
- Welcome the children to the assembly and ask them whether they can think of anything special that happens in November. This could be birthdays, or other events such as Bonfire Night, Diwali and Advent.
Listen to a range of responses.
- Explain that we remember many important things such as facts that we learn or skills that we have practised hard. We remember things that we have experienced too, such as a special day out with our family or something funny that happened to us. And sometimes, we remember things that we may not remember happening at all! These could be special events in history that happened before we were born, but we still take the time to stop and remember, and sometimes to celebrate.
- Point out that our birthdays fall into this last category. None of us can remember being born, but it was such a significant event that we choose to celebrate it every year.
- Ask the children whether they know the rhyme, ‘Remember, remember’. Can they finish it?
Read out the whole verse to the children.
The fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
Explain that we remember Bonfire Night every year because it was such a significant moment in UK history.
- Explain that we remember some events for different, bigger reasons.
Show the poppy to the children.
Ask the children whether they can remember why we wear a poppy every November. Explain that we do so to remember all those who have served, been injured or died in wars around the world since the First World War.
The poppy is meant to remind us to be thankful for those who have made these sacrifices, but also to serve as a warning, in the hope that we will do all that we can to avoid division, battles and wars.
Ask the children whether they think that we do a good enough job of remembering this.
Listen to a range of responses.
- If appropriate, share the quotation, ‘History repeats itself. It has to: no one listens.’
Explain that this is a warning that we should remember past events and learn from them so that we don’t keep making the same mistakes in future. The poppy that we wear may be small, but what it symbolizes is important.
Time for reflection
Invite the children to make themselves really quiet and take some time to think about what we have discussed.
Ask them to reflect upon why it is so important that we remember both the good and the bad, and that we honour things that have happened in the past.
Explain to the children that in the Bible, in the Old Testament, when something significant happened, people would build a small mound of stones at the point they were at, as a sign. Then, in the future, when they passed the mound of stones, they would remember what had happened. God told the people to explain to their children what the stones were for, so that they could pass on the stories to the next generation. The mound was there as a way of remembering what was important, just as we do today.
Today, we have been thinking about what it means for us to remember things in the past.
Thank you that you have been with us in every season and situation.
Help us to learn from the things that have happened in the past so that we don’t make the same mistakes again.
Please help us always to be willing to learn.
‘Poppies animation’ by CBeebies, available at: https://youtu.be/pv_ub7Be7oA (1.59 minutes long)
‘This Remembrance Day’ by Out of the Ark Music, available at: https://tinyurl.com/yper88pk
‘Don’t forget to remember’ by Ellie Holcomb, available at: https://youtu.be/fNsoXsyeUE0 (3.38 minutes long)
- Spend some time preparing to mark Remembrance Day appropriately, perhaps by sharing poetry, researching the First and Second World Wars or watching the ‘Poppies’ animation by CBeebies.
- Provide some pebbles for the children to use to create their own place to remember something significant, perhaps in a reflective space within the school grounds.