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Be prepared

To show the importance of planning ahead.

by Jan Edmunds

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To show the importance of planning ahead.

Preparation and materials

  • No preparation is necessary but if used as a class presentation a group of children could mime the actions to the story. KS2 children could present the assembly for KS1.
  • The material could be expanded in several ways and even used in a harvest festival assembly. Visual aids could help to illustrate several points, e.g. a suitcase to pack for a holiday, pen and paper for a shopping list, a recipe book or items needed for cooking, etc.
  • An OHP/whiteboard would be useful so that the audience can join in the prayer; a whiteboard and pen if a list is to be made.


  1. Introduce the story of Sammy Squirrel.

    Sammy Squirrel loved to play. He enjoyed chasing leaves, catching falling cones and jumping from branch to branch high up in the trees. Food was plentiful and after a good meal he would laze in the summer sunshine listening to the running stream and the twittering of the birds. Sammy couldn’t understand why his friend Sidney was so busy all the time. He was always gathering moss and dried grass to repair his nest (drey) or collecting acorns for his winter store. Sidney warned Sammy that soon the weather would be getting colder and it would not be so easy to find food. Sammy didn’t care – he only thought about today, not tomorrow.

    Soon the days became shorter and the weather became colder. It was not so much fun playing any more. Sammy could not find enough food to eat. He was cold and hungry. His nest let in the rain and he began to feel very miserable. The other squirrels only laughed at him and told him it served him right for being so lazy. They refused to help him and turned him away. Sammy became thinner and thinner. The temperature was much colder. The ground was covered with frost. Sammy would never survive until the spring.

    Sidney could see how desperate Sammy had become. He knew that unless he came to the rescue Sammy would surely die. So he invited him into his warm drey and shared his winter store of food with him. Sammy was so grateful and realized how selfish and stupid he had been. He was so sorry for the way in which he had behaved and promised that in future he would prepare for the winter like all sensible animals should.

    Sammy had learned his lesson. He kept his word and although he still enjoyed playing he made sure that he left plenty of time to plan ahead.
  2. Suggested points for discussion:

    Sammy learned the hard way. We should all try to understand the importance of preparation and planning ahead.

    Some of the children may belong to the Brownies, Cubs or Scouts. In 2007, the Scouting movement celebrates its 100th anniversary. It teaches young people how to help others and to think ahead in a practical way in order to survive. The motto of the movement is ‘Be prepared’.

    We cannot plan or control the weather but we can think about the best type of clothes to wear and whether we should carry an umbrella or a waterproof with a hood.

    Teachers need to prepare their timetables and lessons; planning a shopping list is useful when going to the supermarket; people in government plan for what they think is best for our country. Many special occasions take a lot of planning, e.g. weddings, christenings. The children might like to help you make a list of some of these.

    Or invite children to think of ways in which preparation is needed for just one event, e.g. going on holiday, planning a party, etc. (Some visual aids could be used here.)

    If used at harvest time, remind the children that throughout history people in many different nations have prepared for winter by gathering in the crops, fruit and vegetables to provide food for themselves and their animals. Harvest festivals are a way of being thankful for the food we eat.

Time for reflection


Are you ready for the day ahead?

Do you have everything you need and are you ready to make the most of everything the day might bring?



Teach us to be prepared and to plan ahead for the things that we should do.

Let us hope that as we plan our daily lives

we can learn to give consideration and help to others.

We give thanks for our food

and for all the people involved in delivering it to our tables.



‘Who put the colours in the rainbow?’ (Come and Praise, 12)

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