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New things: an assembly for the new year

To consider how we care for and look after other people and pets.

by Jan Edmunds

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider how we care for and look after other people and pets.

Preparation and materials

  • No preparation is needed if delivered by the teacher. An OHP or whiteboard would be helpful for reading the poem. This could be read by individuals or used for choral speaking; in either case rehearsals would be advisable.


  1. Remind the children that we are entering a new year. Many people make new year resolutions to try to improve themselves and get rid of bad habits. A short time could be spent in inviting the children to discuss their own good intentions. Introduce the story of Dylan.

    by Jan Edmunds

    Dylan the dog was curled up in his bed. No one seemed to bother with him any more. Gone were the days when his master took him out for a daily walk, when the children wanted to play with him and when they had such fun in the park or garden. Dylan was old, he was stiff in the joints and he slept most of the day. He felt lonely and unloved. The family scolded him because he seemed to get in the way. He so wished for the occasional pat on the head or a kind word. He was fed regularly and he had a warm bed but he longed for some show of affection.

    One night as he lay sleeping he became aware of an unusual sound. He sensed something was wrong. Someone was in the house! Dylan crept out of his bed into the kitchen. The door was slightly ajar and he could see the beam from a torch circling around the lounge. Cupboards and drawers were being opened. Someone was taking things from them and stuffing them into a bag.

    Dylan knew he must do something. He barked loudly and flung himself at the burglar, pinning him to the ground. A mighty blow sent him reeling backwards and he lay motionless on the floor. Fortunately his actions alerted the family, the police were called and the burglar was soon caught. But poor Dylan did not move. The police feared that the blow from the torch might have killed him.

    The family realized how brave the dog had been and immediately called the vet. They felt very guilty that in spite of the fact that they had shown him little affection he had remained loyal and had tried to protect them all. Fortunately, after several days of intensive care, Dylan recovered. He was a hero. He was no longer neglected and he lived out the rest of his life with lots of love and affection.
  2. If time allows, discuss the story. Talk about the feelings associated with the story. How did Dylan feel at the beginning, and how did he feel at the end? What changed in between? How did the family’s attitude to Dylan change?

    Invite the children to read or listen to the poem.

    New things
    by Jan Edmunds

    It’s really nice to have something new, some clothes, a game or a toy.
    It might be a car or a book or a game, new things we can all enjoy.
    New things are perfect, fresh and clean, no one’s owned them before.
    It’s really exciting to have a present or buy something new from the store.
    A cuddly puppy is full of fun, a kitten loves to play,
    New pets are special, like all new things, but they will be old one day.
    What happens when we tire of them, when we no longer want to play?
    Do we bother to look after them or simply throw them away?
    As the new year begins we can start again, let’s remember when pets are new
    That they’ll always need our loving care, for we know that’s the right thing to do.

Time for reflection


Listen to the poem again and think about the words.



As we begin our journey into the new year,

help us to be kind and considerate to other people.

We think about all the people we love, our friends and our family,

and say thank you for them.



‘It’s a new day’ (Come and Praise, 106)

Publication date: January 2008   (Vol.10 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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