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The frog that fell into the cream

To demonstrate the importance of perseverance (SEAL theme 3: Keep on learning).

by Alan M. Barker

Suitable for Key Stage 3

Aims

To demonstrate the importance of perseverance (SEAL theme 3: Keep on learning).

Preparation and materials

 

  • You will need a transparent plastic beaker/container with a secure clip-on lid, a tub of double cream (at room temperature) and a block of butter.
  • www.cookuk.co.uk/children/butter.htm offers guidance for butter-making.

Assembly

  1. Talk about the cream and butter. Explain that butter is made by ‘churning’ (or steadily shaking) cream. Nowadays this is a factory process, but traditionally butter was made by hand in the cool surroundings of a farm dairy. Churning the butter could take a long time and required much perseverance.
  2. Pour the cream to quarter-fill the container, and put the lid on. Invite a couple of children to shake it steadily in an attempt to make butter. Will they succeed? Ask them to move to the side of the room and continue shaking the cream, while everyone listens to a story.
  3. Tell the traditional story of ‘The Frog that Fell into the Cream’.

    A young frog lived in a muddy pond together with his frog sisters, his frog brothers and his frog parents. He liked his home and loved his family. He’d learned to swim in that small muddy pond. ‘Keep trying,’ his family had croaked. ‘Kick hard!’ Frog kicked his legs. He didn’t give in. But often when he was swimming, he longed to explore the world beyond his pond.

    So one day, he hopped out of the water and headed towards a nearby farm.

    Frog hopped past the sheep pens and the new-born lambs,
    past the stables watched by the patient horse,
    quickly past the yard where the hens clucked and scratched,
    past the shed where the cows were milked,
    and into the cool, damp, shade of the dairy.

    All frogs like cool, damp places and the young frog stayed in the dairy until he decided that it was time to head back to his muddy pond. So he kicked his legs, and with a large leap, fell straight into a jug of cream! He kicked his legs again, but the sides of the jug were slippery. Frog kicked his legs, and kicked again (and again) but there was no escape. He began to grow tired and feared that he would sink to the bottom of the jug and drown.

    He thought of his family, safe at home in the muddy pond. He remembered how they had told him to ‘Keep trying’. ‘I will keep trying,’ the frog said to himself as he kicked his legs, again and again. But what was the use? He grew more and more tired. He thought he would drown. But still he kicked hard and kept afloat, until something odd happened.

    Suddenly he felt some lumps between his toes. Frog kept on kicking his legs and eventually found that he was sitting on something that looked like yellow mud. The cream had turned to butter! He gave one last tremendous leap, and was free!

    Back at the muddy pond, the young frog was welcomed by his worried family. ‘I almost drowned,’ he said, ‘but I kicked hard. I kept trying!’
  4. Refer back to the children who have been set the challenge of butter-making. Have they succeeded? If not, how much longer will they need to persevere? Eventually the cream will separate into butter and buttermilk.
  5. Conclude by inviting the assembly to consider the significance of the story. Observe that it illustrates the need to persevere or ‘keep trying’. Reflect that there will be moments at school when ‘the frog that fell into the cream’ might be remembered. Sometimes problem-solving is difficult. However, if we keep trying, solutions will often emerge. Perseverance helps us to move on at the times when we say: ‘Help! I’m stuck.’
  6. Especially for Church schools: During Lent, Christians remember the importance of perseverance. When he was tempted in the wilderness, Jesus remembered good advice and didn’t give in.

Time for reflection

Think of a time when you faced a difficult situation or challenge . . .

a moment when you felt stuck. 

What advice did you remember?

Prayer

Lord God,

Whatever challenges lie ahead today

help us to be strong

and not to give in.

Amen.

Music

‘Give it all you’ve got’ (Songs for Every Assembly).

Publication date: January 2013   (Vol.15 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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