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Winter, and caring for others

To think about the seasons and how we can help each other when things get difficult.

by S. Morton

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To think about the seasons and how we can help each other when things get difficult.

Preparation and materials

  • This assembly is best suited to a cold or damp wintry day.
  • Read through the story in advance.
  • Optional: Find some pictures of children having fun in snow and ice and/or prepare a couple of children to talk about playing in the snow. Also find a picture of an old lady.

Assembly

  1. Start the assembly, if the weather is appropriate, by being dressed up in your coat, hat, scarf and gloves, as though you have just come in from the cold and/or wet outside. Explain that we are just moving into the season of spring from the season of winter and you thought it would be a good time to have a last think about winter before we lose it for another year.

    Take off your outdoor clothes and tell the children that you are glad that you remembered to bring your winter woollies with you today. Say that you usually like winter when it is frosty, but you don’t like to drive when the roads are icy because it can be dangerous (or some other good/bad comment about winter).
  2. Suggest that to warm up you all sing the song: ‘Thank you Lord for this new day’.
  3. Show the pictures of children in the snow and on ice. They are having fun. They feel safe. Discuss safety when sledging, skating, skidding in the playground, etc. Ask the children you have prepared to tell their stories about being outside in winter weather.
  4. Then show the picture of the old lady, or simply point out that not everyone likes the weather to be cold and icy. Ask the children to think of what might make the old lady scared. Tell the children this story:

    Old Mrs Rogers sat in the X-ray department at the hospital feeling very upset. If only she had not gone outside this morning! It was Thursday today and she always went to the post office for her pension and to the bakery for her favourite cake – her Thursday treat. She had noticed that the pavements were icy but had decided that she would be safe enough if she walked slowly.

    Mrs Rogers’ arm hurt a lot as she sat in the queue, waiting for her turn to have the X-ray taken. The hospital was full of people hobbling or holding their arms and wrists. Mrs Rogers sniffed as she tried to stop herself crying. ‘Silly me,’ she choked as she thought about what had happened.

    That morning she left the house and walked along the frozen pavements, keeping near to walls and fences for support. But the ground was very slippery so she carefully made her way over to the kerb and then walked along on the road for a bit. She made good progress then until she got to the post office. She climbed back on the pavement and moved cautiously towards the post office entrance. But she wasn’t looking at the steps, and as she approached the first step, her foot slipped, and she fell forwards into the post office door.

    The door crashed open and Mrs Rogers couldn’t stop herself from falling forwards. She put out her hands to break her fall, but she banged her arm very badly and scraped her cheek on the door as she fell. Everyone in the post office saw what happened and came running to help. She knew immediately that her arm was badly hurt because she was in such a lot of pain. One of the postal workers rang for an ambulance while Mrs Rogers groaned and was helped to a seat away from the post office entrance.

    So, here she was, in pain, waiting to find out if her arm was broken. Mrs Rogers’ eyes filled with tears as she thought about what would happen if her arm had to be put in plaster. How would she manage to look after herself? She wished she could start the morning again and make different decisions, but now it was too late and the damage was done.
  5. Ask the children what would have helped to prevent the accident and how Mrs Rogers could have avoided injuring herself. Also point out that however careful we are, sometimes accidents can’t be avoided. Now that Mrs Rogers has been hurt, what could be done to help her?

Time for reflection

Reflection:
Make the point that help organized through adults is the best way forward – does your school have contact with older people in the area? What could you do as a school to make a difference?

Prayer:
Thank you, God, for all our seasons and the weather they bring.
Thank you for our winter-time, when the earth sleeps and gets ready for the spring.
Please help us to remember to take care of ourselves, and others,
when the weather leaves us cold and the earth icy and slippery.
Please remind us that old people need our support, and help us to help them.
Amen.

Song/music

‘Thank you Lord for this new day’ (Come and Praise, 32)

‘To everything there is a season’ (Come and Praise, 113)

Publication date: March 2005   (Vol.7 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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