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Squirt flies solo

To show the value of learning something for yourself.

by The Revd Guy Donegan-Cross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To show the value of learning something for yourself.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need to know the film Finding Nemo. You may choose to play an extract if you have a copy and the correct permission.
  • You will also need a maths textbook.


  1. Recap the story of Finding Nemo, referring to the previous assembly, ‘I will never leave you’, if appropriate. Talk about the characters: Marlin, Nemo’s father, who hates Nemo doing anything dangerous; Crush, the laidback turtle; Squirt, his son. You may choose to do this in a question-and-answer format asking children who know the film well to establish the characters.
  2. Talk about and/or show the scene in which Crush allows Squirt to ride the current for himself (DVD scene 16: 51:30 to 52:15).
  3. Ask the children what the difference is between Marlin and Crush. One answer is: one’s a fish and one’s a turtle! The real answer is: Crush lets Squirt learn things by trying them out for himself. Marlin is overprotective.
  4. Say that it’s a lot better to learn things for yourself. Hold up the maths book. This maths book has lots of tough questions. But imagine if all the answers were written in the back. You might be tempted, if you were doing homework, to cheat and look up all the answers. But the problem with that would be that you would never actually learn maths. The only way to become good at maths is to struggle to find the answers yourself, not just to use someone else’s answers, even if they are right.
  5. Sometimes in life we have problems. Christians believe that God doesn’t always give us quick answers – God wants us to grow and try things out for ourselves. Like Crush, he would never leave us, but sometimes he knows it will be better for us if we have to try.

Time for reflection


What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to learn? A school subject like literacy or numeracy work; a skill like dribbling at football or learning to dance; a quality like patience or kindness?

It takes time to learn some things and we have to learn them for ourselves – no one else can save a goal when we’re the keeper; no one else can take our SATS for us; and no one else can be patient for us.




Sometimes I need to try things solo.

Help me not to take short cuts

or to blame other people because I find it hard work.

Because it’s then that I can grow and learn.



‘Thank you, Lord’ (Come and Praise, 32)

Publication date: September 2006   (Vol.8 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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