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What a Mother ! What a Sister! - The Story of Moses, part 2

To introduce the story of Moses in the bulrushes. To help children to reflect on the courage and imagination of Moses' mother and sister.

by Jill Fuller

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To introduce the story of Moses in the bulrushes. To help pupils to reflect on the courage and imagination of Moses' mother and sister.

Note: With some adaptation and simpler questions this assembly would also be suitable for KS1.


Preparation and materials

  • Familiarize yourself with the story in Exodus 2.1-10 so that you are able to retell it in your own words. Remember in the telling that until Pharaoh's daughter names the child 'Moses' he is still just 'the baby boy'.

  • If possible, find some bulrushes and a 'Moses' basket.


  1. Remind children about the background and the actions of Pharaoh, covered in the previous Moses assembly.

  2. Recall their ideas of what they would have done as Israelites if a baby boy had been born into their family.

  3. Describe how the mother made a plan to hide the baby. Show the bulrushes and basket. Introduce Miriam, the baby's sister, who helped her mother.

  4. Discuss how the mother and sister might have felt as they made the basket and hid it. What did they fear? What did they hope for? How might Miriam have felt as she watched and waited by the riverside?

  5. Talk about Miriam's response when she saw Pharaoh's daughter, the princess, finding the baby. Would she have felt like running away? Do you think she was brave to step out and speak to an Egyptian princess? Do you think she was imaginative to think of suggesting her mother as a nursemaid?

    Would Miriam have gone to live in the palace as well as Moses and her mother? Ask the children to imagine the different lifestyle Miriam and her mother would have lived at the palace. How would they keep Moses' true identity a secret? What would have happened to the rest of the family?

Time for reflection

Ask the children to think of a time when they have had to be brave or courageous. Remind them of the important part Moses went on to play, leading the Israelites out of slavery, across the Red Sea and into freedom.

Ask the children to think of what might have happened if Moses' mother and sister had not been brave and imaginative, and Moses had been killed, the same as all the other baby boys. Ask them to reflect on how every act of courage, however small, can affect the future.

Dear God,
Thank you for the life of Moses,
a brave leader who led his people from slavery to freedom.
Thank you that his story starts with equally brave people
who risked everything to save him.
Help us to learn from the story of Moses' mother and his sister Miriam.


'Morning sun' (Come and Praise, 93). Explain that this song has a theme of new beginnings and is also appropriate because of the Egyptians' worship of the sun.

Curriculum links

Literacy: Ask the children to retell the story in their own words. Develop a simple mime to the story with the characters of Moses' mother, Miriam and the princess.

Art: Divide the story into different sections and illustrate the story as a frieze.

RE: Find out what Moses did and his significance as a leader.

Publication date: May 2001   (Vol.3 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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