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The New Year

To think about the beginning of the new year and to consider the changes that it could bring.

by Jan Edmunds

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To think about the beginning of the new year and to consider the changes that it could bring.

Preparation and materials

  • Find a large empty cardboard box; if time allows it could be covered. Label it on one side ‘Our New Year Resolutions’. Place the box where the children can see it but not the label.
  • Have a pad of paper and a black felt pen handy. An OHP would be useful for the poem.


  1. Good morning, everyone. Now that Christmas is over, we can look forward to a new year and a new term, a fresh start.

    I’m sure you’ve all had a wonderful time over the holiday with lots of presents and lots of good things to eat.

    This is the time of the year when many of us make New Year Resolutions. We decide that we would like to change things or do something to make ourselves better people. (You might like to give an example of something you’ve decided to do; ask other members of staff to join in by revealing their good intentions, but warn them first!)

  2. Here is an empty box (point to it and turn it so that the children can now read the label).

    Ask the children to think for a few moments of any resolution they might have already planned for this new year. Let the suggestions come from them, but if prompting is needed you could suggest some of the following: try harder at school, be more helpful at home, save some pocket money instead of spending it all every week, try not to use bad language, eat less junk food, be more considerate.

    Say that you’d like to fill the box with their suggestions and ideas on how they could make changes for the better at the beginning of this new year. Encourage the children to put up their hands and discuss.
  3. Depending on the response, select, with a show of hands, the most popular good intentions. Write them down simply on separate pieces of paper, and ask children to put them into the box.
  4. Now we have put some of our new year resolutions into the box let’s hope that we shall be able to keep them.
  5. The new year is like an adventure into the unknown. We just don’t know what will happen or where we might be going. It’s like driving along a road not knowing what‘s round the corner, climbing a hill not being able to see what’s on the other side, or going into a long tunnel wondering what it will be like when we come out. We will meet new friends, learn new things, we will all get another year older. There are so many things over which we have no control.

    We can, however, control our own behaviour and how we treat other people. Let’s enter this new year full of hope that each of us in some way can help to make this world a better place by what we say and do.
  6. Tell the children that they can go on adding to the box of resolutions, which will be placed somewhere in the school where they can write down any further resolutions when they have had longer to think about them. Say that you will look forward to reading what they plan to do. (Some teachers might like to use this as a class exercise; the results can be very interesting and you will probably find some material for future assemblies from their submissions.)

Time for reflection


Another year is dawning, we’ll have adventures new.

Who knows what will happen? Who knows what we’ll do?

We’re full of good intentions as we try to mend our ways

By making resolutions – some get broken within days!

Let’s hope this year is peaceful. Let’s hope that all is calm.

That we can work together to keep us free from harm.

Whatever our religion, whatever faith or creed,

We can all do our bit to help people in need.

(If time allows, you could ask the children to re-read the poem with you.)


In a moment of quiet, let’s ask God to help us to keep our resolutions for this year.



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

Publication date: January 2006   (Vol.8 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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