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New school year

To welcome the children back after the summer holiday and to introduce them to the new school year

by Jan Edmunds

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To welcome the children back after the summer holiday and to introduce them to the new school year.

Preparation and materials

  • No preparation is necessary if teacher-led, but an OHP would be useful for the prayer if used. If used as a class presentation, some rehearsals would be necessary.


  1. Good morning, everyone. The long summer holiday is over and some of us will have been to the seaside, to the countryside or even across the sea by plane or boat to another land. Others will have enjoyed being at home in the nice sunny weather.

  2. We have such fun in the holidays that sometimes we don’t want them to end and it is hard to get back into the routine of coming to school every day.

  3. I’m sure we’ve all had a good rest and many have come back to find that they are in a new classroom with a different teacher. It may seem strange at first but we know that after a few days we shall soon feel quite at home again as we get used to new places and new ways of doing things.

  4. Some of our children have left and moved on to other schools. No doubt they are enjoying what must seem like a new adventure.

  5. We have new children with us who have started school for the first time and are perhaps feeling very unsure of their new surroundings. It is up to all of us to try to help them settle in so that they will learn to enjoy school and think of it as a happy place. (The new children could be introduced.)

  6. I feel sure that some of you would have preferred to stay at home today and found it hard to get ready for school again. Perhaps this story might make you think differently about coming to school. It is called Paper magic.

    There was once a little boy who did not want to go to school. He just did not want to learn. One day his mother asked him to take a basket of apples to his grandma. The shiny red apples looked delicious, so he could not resist eating one of them. When he arrived at his grandma’s house she took a piece of paper out of the basket and looked at the strange markings. Then she said, ‘There should be ten apples here. Why is there one missing?’

    How on earth did she know? thought the boy. Magic! He reluctantly confessed that he had eaten it.

    The next week his mother sent the boy to grandma again with a basket of cakes. They were freshly baked, still warm and smelled truly scrumptious, so he could not resist eating two of them! Once again there was a piece of paper in the basket. Grandma looked at it and said, ‘Where are the two missing cakes?’ Magic! How could she know? This time she was cross with him.

    The following week the boy was asked to take some jam tarts to grandma. This time he took the magic paper out of the basket so that it could not tell grandma what he had done. He put it in his pocket. Once again he was tempted, and he ate three of the sweet strawberry jam tarts.

    When he arrived, wise old grandma knew that there should have been the usual piece of paper in the basket and asked the boy what he had done with it. His red face soon told her that he knew where it was, and he eventually confessed and handed her the paper. ‘Where are the three missing tarts?’ she said.

    Magic! How could she know? Once again the paper seemed to tell her how many tarts were missing! Grandma told him that if he went to school he too could learn paper magic. He could be wise and learn how to find things out – just like she did.

    The boy did as she asked and soon found out that there were many exciting uses for paper magic. He enjoyed school, loved books and grew up to be very wise.

  7. Discuss the story to make sure the children understand it:
    Why did the boy think the paper was magic?
    Was it really magic?
    What were the strange marks on the paper?
    How did grandma know how many things were in the basket?

    At school we learn the magic of words and numbers and the meanings they convey. There are lots of exciting things for us to learn and lots of them start with that magic paper magic.

Time for reflection

(You may wish to replace ‘love of God’ with ‘respect for each other’s beliefs’.)

May we all live happily together
May our school be full of joy
May love dwell here among us every day
Love of one another, love of all people everywhere
Love of life itself and love of God.
Let us remember that as many hands build a house
So every child can make this school a lovely place.
(Paraphrased from ‘The School Creed’ of a school in Canada)


‘It’s a new day’ (Come and Praise, 106)

Publication date: September 2005   (Vol.7 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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