I’ve had quite a few hits on this blog with people looking for ‘its good to be me’ assemblies, and I thought what a splendid idea. And it follows the assemblies where the disciples and we are asking who is Jesus really well: calming the storm and the paralysed man in Caperneum.
This assembly will probably need adapting for some schools which are larger, or where it’s not suitable for children to stand up and walk around. This would work really well as a class worship/assembly time. It would even work with a little change here and there for secondary schools and youth groups.
I have included an idea or two for how a worship table could be set up. One of the suggestions for church schools is that they set up an easily accessible area such as a worship table where children can interact with materials which help them to reflect on the theme for the week in a spiritual way. It struck me today that that would be a great way for a church to get involved: they could set up and maintain the worship table for the school, changing it each week, perhaps changing the colours to reflect the liturgical season colours.
Look out for a blog in the future about the different ways you could facilitate your school spirituality.
Psalm 139 vs 13,14
“I am fearfully and wonderfully made!”
You will need:
- Flip chart paper (for the first artwork step)
- Marker Pens (for the first step of artwork)
- Wallpaper or lots of flipchart paper spread out on the floor around the children
- Crayons on each of the floor pieces of paper
You will also need to write on the floor flipchart papers headings such as:
- Things I like to eat or do
- What makes me sad
- Anything else you want to say about yourself
- What I look like
I give people a choice as to whether they want to write or draw on these pages, which makes it more accessible for those who find writing hard. I also pair up or group older children with the younger ones so that they can help the younger ones.
Begin by having people look at each other and notice any differences between them. Then choose 3 or 4 children – if you are drawing – or 8 children if the kids are drawing (see the next bit). Either: in pairs, get one of the pair to draw the other OR you draw caricatures (they don’t have to be brilliant!) of each of the children on the flip chart paper. Don’t let any of the other children see the art work yet. Keep talking otherwise the natives get restless!
When you have finished, or the children have finished their art, get the children to guess who each picture is of. If you chose girls and boys with glasses and without it’s fairly easy.
Ask if the pictures are the living, real people. Point out that we often look at one another in school but rarely think of anyone beyond what they look like – not much different than treating someone like a piece of paper really! But God says that we are amazingly made, and today we are going to think about that.
Explain the pieces of paper around the room that have the words ‘things I like to eat or do..’ etc. on them, and that the children should in small groups of 2,3,4 walk around and write or draw things about themselves. Give them a few minutes to do this, and encourage them to move on every couple of minutes or so.
Note how the children help one another at the end if appropriate.
At the end of the time, have the children sit back a little from the papers, and go round and read extracts from each piece of wallpaper. Leave the children where they are, but come back to the front and remark how each one of us is specially made by God, one of a kind, individual, and special. Read the verse from the Bible if you like. Then encourage the children to find out one thing from someone else in the class that they didn’t know already, or perhaps ask one another what they wrote on the piece of paper.
And notice that everyone is more than just the person you see on a school day.
Finish with a suitable prayer.
You will probably have realised by now that this works well for a small school up to about 100 children with enough space in the hall to do this. It also helps if they are quite self controlled, but I find that careful supervision is enough for even the rowdiest schools.
Still, it might be that the school hall is packed out. In which case you could get the children to bring a pencil into assembly, and provide them with post it notes on the door on the way in. Or perhaps just get the children talking in two’s or threes about each theme idea, and then ask for thoughts that you can write up on flipchart or OHP. If using the post it notes you could have them passed to the end and collected. You can stick them up on the wall behind you (ask permission)
Often the teachers like to keep this kind of work to remember the assembly by and for ofsted, encourage them to do so.
Your school might also have reception children in assembly, in which case if you can’t match younger and older children up you will have to encourage them to chat. The teachers will help you.
Taking it further: the worship table.
Many schools have a worship table. I will go into details at a future date, but what you could do with this is to provide an are for the children where they can write out more thoughts about what makes them special at a time they want to. Perhaps (I have seen in school) on hand shapes that can then be attached to a notice board behind the worship area. Provide a mirror where they can see themselves – one at a low height and one at a higher point so that small and tall children can see themselves easily. Create a poster to frame the pictures which says ‘I am amazingly made!’. Have the page of the bible opened at the Psalm, and mark it so that it can be seen. DON’T ACTUALLY MARK THE BIBLE PHYSICALLY! I know that some Christians put marks in their bible to remember texts, but other religions find that this is a mark of deep dis-respect to our scripture. Find another way: perhaps a post it note carefully placed? Or a paper clip with an arrow sellotaped to it?
You could also provide some dressing up clothes, a wig, false noses, glasses… and have a card lying around which says ‘it’s good to pretend to be someone else, it’s really great to be me!’