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Jigsaw puzzles

To encourage the idea of trying to see the whole picture before making judgements.

by Gordon and Ronni Lamont

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To encourage the idea of trying to see the whole picture before making judgements.

Preparation and materials

  • A jigsaw puzzle on a table, part completed. This should be visible as children enter the assembly space. It is important that only areas such as sky, tree or grass are completed so that the subject of the picture cannot be seen.


  1. Have some pieces of the jigsaw puzzle in your hand. Greet the children in the usual way. Then pause and go over to the puzzle. Stare at it, before trying to fit a piece in place. Offer the following thoughts in a distracted way as you work on the puzzle.

    I love jigsaws. Do any of you like them?

    Does anyone know why they're called jigsaw puzzles? (Because they're a picture that's been cut out with a special saw called a jigsaw.)

    You can get some quite simple puzzles for very small children with just four pieces, and some massive ones for jigsaw fanatics with thousands and thousands of pieces.

    You can get 3D puzzles that are like models that you build up, and double-sided puzzles that are designed to drive you mad!

    Say that you've had enough puzzle for now and walk away from the table.

  2. Ask if anyone had a look at the jigsaw as they came in. What do they think the picture will be? Take all suggestions but point out that there are only two ways to find out - by looking at the picture on the box or completing the puzzle.

  3. Do the children think that having a look at the parts of the puzzle will help? When some children respond that it will, throw a handful of jigsaw pieces among the children. Can those who have a piece tell us about the whole picture from it?

    Make the point that as in jigsaw puzzles, so in life - we can't see the whole picture if all we have is little parts of it. Give some examples from school life, e.g. snippets of arguments ('he said, she said' etc.). Explain that too often we are ready to make judgements and accuse people without knowing all the facts.

  4. Finally, ask if they want to know what the jigsaw picture will be. If so, you'll leave all the pieces in a box and those who want to can ask to do some, until the picture is complete.

Time for reflection

Dear God,
Help me to see the whole picture and not just tiny parts.
Help me to listen carefully and not just hear part of the story.
Help me to speak the whole truth and not just parts of the truth.


'From the tiny ant' (Come and Praise, 79)

Publication date: June 2001   (Vol.3 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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