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Are we there yet?

To help the children understand that what we learn on the way is as important as the end of a journey.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To help the children understand that what we learn on the way is as important as the end of a journey.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a few pieces of recent work from the new reception class, such as a drawing, some letter writing or pre-writing practice, a child's name.
  • If possible, some pieces of work from P7/Year 6 children who have just left the school: a mixture of writing, drawings, maths. Alternatively work from the oldest class still in school.


  1. Ask the children to all remember and think about a journey they have been on, perhaps a holiday or special trip, travelling by car or public transport. They had looked forward to this trip for a long time. They probably all helped to pack the suitcases, maybe to load the car, to check round the house for anything they might have left behind. They would probably set off in high spirits, maybe sing some songs, maybe lots of laughter. Keep checking with the children that you are getting this right.
  2. Ask for some suggestions of what the children do on long journeys.
  3. Tell the children that there is a sentence of four words that has been said in every vehicle carrying children on long journeys since the beginning of time. These words are usually said in a very moany voice, are guaranteed to make parents sigh, and often come out when everyone is feeling a bit tired and stressed. Any idea what they could be? (Ask any children who think they know them to keep very quiet.) Here are the clues.

    Word 1: This word is made up of 3 letters. This word sounds like a letter of the alphabet. This word is 'Are'.

    Word 2: This word is made up of 2 letters. We call this word a plural form. A different spelling of this word can mean 'small' in Scotland and it also sounds like a game console. This word is 'We'.

    Word 3: This word has the meaning ‘in that place’. If you leave out the first letter you can make a word meaning ‘in this place’. This word is 'There'.

    Word 4: This word rhymes with ‘net’. This word is 'Yet'.
  4. There is a saying that goes: 'Don't forget to enjoy the view along the way.' Ask the children if they can suggest what this means. Any cyclists and walkers among them will identify with the statement.
  5. Explain to the children that school is like a long journey. For most of us it will last X years here (the number of years children spend at your school), with a few breaks for holidays in between. Some of us have just started this long school journey and are just beginning to learn all the things to help us on our way.

    Display some of the reception/P1 work and praise it.

    Remind the children of those who left in the summer to go on to secondary education. They had reached the ‘there’ stage of 'Are we there yet?' Display some of the work they had learned to do by the time they had left.

    They were 'there'. They had everything they needed to move on to secondary school. They were equipped. They would have wonderful new experiences. It might not be a holiday but it would be fun. Tell the children that one day they will reach that stage too, even those who have newly joined the school family.
  6. Explain that it is not only the beginning and the end of a journey that is important. Every day can bring something new. Every day your teachers will be noticing that you can do something new. You might be improving in your reading skills or your writing skills, you might be working better with others, you might be sharing more happily, you might be noticing what is going on around you more.

    We might not be there yet, but let's enjoy the good things that are happening along the way.

Time for reflection


What can I do today that I couldn't do this time last year?
In what ways do I expect to improve this year?
What is going to be my target for improvement today?



Dear God,

Just as you made me tiny as a baby,

but with the potential to grow into someone big and strong,

so you have made me with a great potential to learn many amazing things.
Help me to learn wisdom and understanding.

Help me to learn skills.
Help me to learn to love and to have a thankful heart.

Help me to enjoy today and every day as part of the journey of life.



‘One more step along the world I go’ (Come and Praise, 47)

Publication date: October 2007   (Vol.9 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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