My best assembly - Small object, big idea

Buttons, shells and beads can all be used to demonstrate faith to children, says Lucy Blackburn

Ilead a lovely assembly for key stage 1 that has a real impact on the children. I teach at a Catholic school and we always start our assemblies by coming together with the sign of the cross and lighting a candle with soft music in the background. Doing this sets the scene and lets the children know that it's time to think and be quiet. This particular assembly has the theme Do Not Be Afraid.

The children sit in a circle and I have two bags with a variety of buttons in. The children pass the bags around and pick one out. I tell them to hold it secretly until everyone has selected a button. When they have all chosen I ask them to look carefully at their button and notice its shape, colour and patterns. Get your teaching assistant, if you have one, to memorise what your more forgetful children's buttons look like.

I then pass two trays around the circle and the children put their button on one. The trays go around another time and the children have to pick the same button. When they pick it, encourage them to say the word "mine". Tell the children to hold on tight to their button while listening to the reading from the Bible, John 10:27-30. "Jesus said `you are mine. I know each and every one of you, I will never forget you or lose you . No one can ever take you away from us'."

I then tell the children to hold their button tight and keep it safe as it will remind them to not be afraid and that Jesus loves and knows them.

For a while after the assembly, children mention their buttons to me and talk of going to get them when they feel afraid.

To vary the assembly, you can use other objects, such as shells, beads, leaves or stones. With younger children and more adult help you may want to split the children into small groups and then come back together at the end.

I have never needed to do this with more than 60 children, but you might want to introduce more bags to speed up the time.

To make it last longer the children might like to compare what their buttons look like.

Scripture: John 10:27-30

Hymn: "Do Not Be Afraid" words by Gerald Markland

Useful book: Praying with Children: Some Ways and Means by Jenny Pate and Welcome! by Jenny Pate

Lucy Blackburn teaches at Holy Family Catholic Primary in Leeds.

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