Children will spend more time with parents and siblings in the summer holiday, so talk about family life to help them make sense of any friction
The summer holiday generally means that you spend more time with your family and as temperatures soar, so too can tempers as relationships come under strain.
This assembly looks at developing good relationships and respecting the differences between people, how relationships change and how conflict may arise.
It uses poetry to open up discussion about different people's experiences of family life. It is suitable for pupils from Year 7 upwards and aims to help them understand that there are various types of families, to know that conflict within families is natural to a certain extent and to appreciate their families while acknowledging that relationships within families are subject to all kinds of changes.
You will need to be sensitive towards pupils who have recently experienced turmoil in their families and might want to discuss the theme of the assembly with them beforehand.
Ask pupils to think about who are the most important people in their lives? Who helps you when you have problems? Who comforts you when you are down? Who taught you to feed, dress and take care of yourself? For most of us the answer to that question would be our family. But what is a family, essentially?
One definition is "a group of people living together and functioning as a single household, usually consisting of parents and their children". Ask pupils why they think the dictionary uses the word `usually'? Allow them to respond.
Get them to think about who makes up their family. Our family can make us happy, sad, frustrated, even angry. We can find them restrictive, crazy, loving or comfortable. They form part of the first community we function in.
Read Me by Kit Wright, a poem that gives one person's perception of their family. Ask pupils what they would write about their families.
Now ask pupils to listen to others briefly describing their families. You can pre-record some quotes or read them aloud, for example:
"My dad takes care of us but so does my brother, we chat about all sorts of things and share most of the time. Sometimes we fight."
"I have lived with my foster mum and dad and foster brothers and sisters for two years now. I am really happy here."
"My mum and step dad have been married for three months, I don't really get on with my step sister. My sister lives with my real dad, sometimes I really miss them."
"My mum and dad are married. I have a younger brother who drives me mad sometimes."
Ask pupils what their experience is of a family. Is it close to any of these examples or is it different? Tell pupils sometimes things can go wrong in a family, and relationships change.
Ask if they can think of any changes that might have affected the families below. Invite comments after each image is shown:
- The Beckhams
- The Royal family
- A family from EastEnders
- A silhouette of a family
- A group of soldiers.
Ask pupils to think about what changes have happened in their families or the families of their friends recently. Remind them that organisations such as ChildLine, as well as the people you feel they can talk to in school, can offer support when things get difficult.
Sometimes relationships within the family are difficult. Our close relationships are not always perfect but tell pupils it is important to appreciate them.
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