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Our ears

To appreciate and show the importance of our hearing.

by Jan Edmunds

Suitable for Key Stage 1

Aims

To appreciate and show the importance of our hearing.

Preparation and materials

  • Very little preparation is needed. Perhaps you have a listening tape/CD in school or you could record some everyday sounds for a guessing game to introduce the assembly.

Assembly

  1. Sounds are all around us every day. Often we don’t even notice some of them. (The CD/tape game could be used here.)

    Let’s see if we can sit very quietly for one minute. Put your hands over your ears. (Time the session: some children find it quite hard!)

  2. Can you imagine what it would be like living in a world of silence, never being able to hear the birds singing or the voices of our friends and family? There are people who live in a silent world. They learn to talk to one another by using their hands to make sign language. There is a special alphabet of signs that they use.

    We are also able to make people understand what we mean by using our hands, even if we do not speak the same language.

    Demonstrate, ‘Come here’, by beckoning to a child in the audience; ask the child ‘Are you hungry?’ and ‘Are you tired?’ by using your hands and gestures. (You might think of some other questions.) Eventually thank your helper and ask him/her by sign language to go back and sit down.

  3. Deaf people also learn to communicate by lip-reading. Mouth something and see who can guess what you have just said, e.g. ‘What time is it?’ or ‘How are you?’

  4. Sound can affect us in different ways. Some sounds warn us of danger. Can you think of some? Allow time for response, e.g. police sirens, fire engines, smoke alarms.

    There are some sounds that we like to hear. Can you think of some? Allow time for response, e.g. music, birdsong, laughter, human voices.

    Some sounds frighten us. Can you tell me some of these? e.g. thunder, bumps in the night, screams, the wind howling in the trees. The children will be keen to tell you about them.

  5. Suggest that some teachers might like to take their class on a ‘listening walk’ where all the different sounds you can hear can be recorded. Say you would be interested to see some of the lists.

  6. How fortunate we are that we have the gift of hearing. Today’s story is about a little girl called Maggie.

    Maggie
    by Jan Edmunds

    When she first started school Maggie wouldn’t talk to anyone and she didn’t seem to want to play with the other children. Her classmates made fun of her and called her names.

    Maggie was very lonely. She spent time looking very sad, huddled in a corner all by herself. Even the teacher was impatient with her because Maggie refused to join in and didn’t seem to know what to do even when she was told.

    Twins Ben and Lucy, at home one night getting ready for bed, told their mother about the unfriendly little girl in their class. ‘We don’t like her and no one wants to play with her,’ they said. 

    Their mother listened carefully and asked them how they would feel if no one wanted to play with them. ‘How do you think Maggie feels?‘ she said.

    This made them think about it more deeply. Perhaps their mother was right. They suddenly felt sorry for the little girl and decided that the next day they would try very hard to be kind to her.

    When they arrived in the playground they looked for Maggie. There she was, huddled by the wall as usual. ‘Maggie, would you like to play with us?’ they said.

    The little girl just stared at them and didn’t say anything. Lucy thought Maggie was being very rude, not answering her. It was Ben who said, ‘I don’t think Maggie can hear you, Lucy.’

    This time Lucy touched Maggie gently on the shoulder. She tried to make her understand by using her hands and speaking very slowly. Now Maggie seemed to understand. Her face lit up as she realized what Lucy meant.

    When the other children saw Maggie playing with Lucy and Ben they were very surprised. Maggie was actually smiling! When they too realized that Maggie was hard of hearing they tried harder to communicate with her so that she could join in their games.

    The teacher was watching what was happening in the playground. She immediately placed Maggie at the front of the class so that she could make sure the little girl understood the lessons. Maggie even began to speak and although she was sometimes hard to understand the children understood her.

    Soon she became one of the happiest and brightest children in the school. Everyone made a special effort to include her in whatever they did. As she grew older her hearing sadly became worse and she had to wear a special hearing aid.

    Maggie is a grown-up now. She has a family of her own and a special little dog called a ‘hearing dog’ to help her. Jessie, a little spaniel, runs to Maggie and taps her with her paw if the doorbell rings. If the phone rings she knocks the receiver off the phone and carries it to Maggie, who has a special attachment so that she can hear the voice on the other end. Jessie is trained to act as Maggie’s ears.

    There are many people like Maggie who have difficulty hearing but thankfully today there is more help available for them. Special schools, teachers and modern technology like digital hearing aids mean that deaf children can be take part in every aspect of life.

  7. It could be interesting to discuss the story with your audience.

    If time allows, tell the story of Jesus healing the deaf mute (Mark 7.31–37).

Time for reflection

Prayer

Dear God,

We give you give thanks for the wonderful gift of hearing.

Help us to use our ears wisely.

Let us be aware of the sound of danger and keep us safe.

Help us to listen carefully to our lessons so that we can learn new things.

Help us to appreciate the beautiful sounds of nature that surround us.

We thank you for enabling us to hear music, laughter and the voices of our family and friends.

We thank you for our ears and the wonderful messages we hear.

Amen.

Song/music

‘A still small voice in the heart of the city’ (Come and Praise, 96)

‘I listen and I listen’ (Come and Praise, 60)

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