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Date to celebrate - March 9, Commonwealth Day

What's it all about?

Commonwealth Day is the annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations, and is always held on the second Monday in March. It is marked by a multifaith service at Westminster Abbey, usually attended by the Queen. The theme this year is the Commonwealth's 60th birthday.

Assembly ideas

Commonwealth Day is a little-known annual event, and yet it is commemorated in some way by more than 50 nations around the world, many of which have a national holiday.

Your assembly can begin by explaining to children what the Commonwealth is, how it evolved from Britain's imperial past into today's modern "family of nations", following the London Declaration of 1949.

It is an opportunity to discuss some of the modern activities of the organisation, such as the advancement of democracy and human rights, as well as sustainable economic and social development.

With both primary and secondary pupils, you can celebrate Commonwealth Day as a multicultural and multifaith event, focusing on the rich and diverse cultures of its member countries.

Older pupils might want to explore the relevance and place of the Commonwealth in the modern world. Use it to examine themes such as national sovereignty, independence, as well as the co-dependence of nations globally.

Your assembly can be the start of a week of cross-curricular events and lessons, for example in English, citizenship, history and geography.

Help, I've got no time to prepare

Go to: www.royal.gov.ukOutPutPage2191.asp for an outline of Commonwealth Day written specifically for children. It also suggests activities for the day.

Where do I get more information?

www.rcsint.orgday and www.thecommonwealth.org have a range of information that can give you plenty of ideas for an assembly and other related activities.

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