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Signs of autumn

To think about autumn and harvest time.

by Jan Edmunds

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To think about autumn and harvest time.

Preparation and materials

  • This assembly can be teacher led, in which case no preparation is required. However, the material could be divided up into sections and presented by the children – it is split between 12 readers at present but can easily be adapted.
  • An OHP or board would be helpful, on which to record the signs of autumn.
  • Note: Some of the language in the poem may be difficult for KS1 children but it could make a good assembly for KS2 children to present to the younger ones, with extra explanation where needed.
  • There are also many opportunities for expanding the assembly with children showing leaf rubbings, fallen leaf pictures and other signs of autumn they have collected.


  1. Ask the children to listen carefully to the poem they are about to hear. Suggest they might like to see how many signs they can remember.
  2. Signs of autumn
    by Jan Edmunds

      1  There’s a chill feel to the morning air.
      2  The shadows longer grow.
      3  The ripened fruits hang on the tree, they make the branches low.
      4  Speckled sunlight shimmers through ever-thinning leaves, its rays dispersed and scattered by the silver shimmering trees.
      5  The tubs and hanging baskets, which once were fresh and bright, look tired and brown and lanky, a wistful withering sight.
      6  Excited birdsong signals change. Some gather for their flight. They know that autumn’s on the way, for longer grows the night.
      7  The leaves will shortly start to fall when once their glory’s o’er.
      8  The hay is safely gathered in, in barn and shed and store.
      9  The hedgehog eats its winter fill before it hides away.
    10  All creatures don their winter coats to keep the cold at bay.
    11  We thank God for the harvest and all the food that’s grown. For farmers taking special care of every seed they’ve sown.
    12  These signs and more are very clear in the message they convey. That summertime is almost past and autumn’s on its way.
  3. Invite the children to see if they can remember the signs of autumn mentioned in the poem. Some explanation and discussion might be helpful here.

    Record the answers simply, e.g. cooler weather, leaves changing colour, some birds flying away. It is quicker and easier if the teacher records this.

Time for reflection


Autumn is a beautiful time of year when the leaves change to orange, yellow and red.

Scarlet berries appear in the hedgerows.

Shiny brown chestnuts drop from the horse chestnut trees.

Farmers are busy gathering in the harvest in orchard and field.

What signs of autumn will you see today, and will you make a special effort to enjoy the season?



Dear God,

We give thanks for the harvest of the fields,

of the hedgerow and of the sea.

We give thanks for all those who work so hard to gather this food for us.

We think of those who are less fortunate than us, whose food is not bountiful,

and who sometimes have no water to drink.

Be with us all this day and always and keep us in your loving care.



‘Lord of the harvest’ (Come and Praise, 133)

Publication date: October 2006   (Vol.8 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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