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Joy Is Strong!

All emotions have their strength

by Alexandra Palmer

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To consider that joy is a strength that can help us through good and bad times.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Joy is Strong!) and the means to display them.
  • Have available the YouTube video ‘Inside Out - new UK trailer’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 2.31 minutes long and is available at: 
  • Optional: you may also wish to use the extension activity (Joy Is Strong! - Extension Activity) that accompanies this assembly.


  1. Show Slide 1.

    Ask the children if they have ever seen a film called Inside Out.

    Ask some children who have watched the film to tell you a bit about it.

    Ask the children, ‘What are the names of the five emotions in the film?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

  2. Show Slide 2.

    Explain that the five emotions in the film are Anger, Fear, Disgust, Sadness and Joy.

  3. Introduce the trailer for Inside Out. Before you show it, recap the plot of the film. A young girl called Riley has five emotions who live inside her mind. She has a happy life until she moves to a new city where she struggles to adjust to her new life and her emotions take over.

    Show the YouTube video ‘Inside Out - new UK trailer’ (2.31 minutes long).

  4. Show Slide 3.

    Ask the children, ‘Why is joy a strong emotion?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Point out that in the film, Joy stays strong no matter what is thrown at her. She is a natural leader of the other four emotions.

    In real life, the emotion of joy can affect our bodies in a positive way. Joyful people tend to be healthier, exercise more, feel less stressed and appreciate everything around them, such as family and pets.

  5. Show Slide 4.

    Ask the children, ‘Do the other emotions have their strengths?’

    Ask them to show their answer by giving a thumbs-up for yes and a thumbs-down for no.

    Explain that the other emotions do have their strengths. This is something that Joy discovers during the film as she learns to appreciate the other emotions.

  6. Show Slide 5.

    Ask the children, ‘What are the strengths of anger?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Tell the children that there are two types of anger. One type is righteous anger, where it’s OK to be angry about something that’s morally wrong, such as people not having access to clean drinking water. It’s good to be angry about this because everyone should be able to drink clean, healthy water. Our anger might lead us to do something about the situation, such as fundraising to help provide clean water for all. So, righteous anger is a strength because it can cause us to help others.

    The other type of anger, where we fall out with friends or our teacher is cross with us, is not so good. With this type of anger, it’s best to resolve the situation, forgive and then let go of our anger. That way, we don’t dwell on whatever made us feel angry. If we hold on to this type of anger, it will upset us even further.

  7. Show Slide 6.

    Ask the children, ‘What are the strengths of fear?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Explain that fear is a strength because it can protect us from dangerous situations. Being fearful makes us stop and think about our actions, so it acts like a warning. It might stop us from doing something dangerous like running across a busy road, jumping into deep water or touching something hot.

  8. Show Slide 7.

    Ask the children, ‘What are the strengths of disgust?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Tell the children that we might find ourselves feeling disgusted at school when people haven’t washed their hands after going to the toilet, haven’t blown their nose when they should or have left their lunch box in school over the weekend, only to open it on Monday to find that it smells of mouldy food. Disgust teaches us to avoid things that can make us feel poorly.

  9. Show Slide 8.

    Ask the children, ‘What are the strengths of sadness?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Explain that sadness has many strengths. It helps us to understand ourselves and others, and it can make us kinder. When we are going through a tough time and feeling sad, it can make us feel more resilient the next time we go through a rough patch. It’s also a way of telling our friends and family when we need help.

  10. The main lesson that Joy learns in the film is that Sadness is an important part of Riley’s well-being, and helps her to connect with her parents during a tough time. Sadness teaches the characters about empathy (understanding others) and sympathy. Joy realizes that to be happy, all of the emotions are equally important because they make us emotionally whole and balanced.

Time for reflection

Show Slide 9.

Ask the children, ‘What is the difference between joy and happiness?’

Listen to a range of responses.

Tell the children that happiness is a temporary feeling that we show on the outside through smiling or laughing. It is usually based on our circumstances such as what we are doing or wearing, who we are playing with or what we are eating.

In contrast, joy is a long-lasting feeling that we have on the inside. It’s connected to feeling peaceful and content, knowing that we have everything that we need right then. We can be going through a tough time, but still feel joyful.

Show Slide 10.

Read the Bible verse on the slide: ‘The joy of the Lord is my strength.’

Ask the children, ‘What does this verse mean?’

Listen to a range of responses.

Explain that the word ‘joy’ appears in the Bible over 200 times. Christians believe that they can feel joy through knowing God, praying and reading the Bible. Joyfulness involves being thankful to God through the good and bad times, which is an important part of having a Christian faith.

Dear God,
Thank you for our emotions.
Thank you that our emotions have different strengths that work together to make us emotionally whole.
Please help us to be sensitive to other people’s emotions.
Please help us to notice when others are sad and struggling.
Please help us all to be there to support and care for one another.


‘The peace song’ by the Cheeky Pandas, available at: (3.10 minutes long)

Extension activity

Give each child a copy of the sheet that accompanies this assembly (Joy Is Strong! - Extension Activity). Ask them to reflect on the five emotions from the film Inside Out by designing their own version and writing down the positive qualities for each emotion.

Publication date: June 2024   (Vol.26 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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