By Gordon and Ronni Lamont
for Whole School
To help the children understand the importance of remembering, and of how our memories shape us as individuals.
- Bring with you a variety of things that carry personal memories for you, such as photos of your children if you have them, parents, family and friends, and of you as a child. Also objects, such as programmes from events, tickets, mementoes of friends, etc..
- You will also need a poppy.
- Before the assembly, you could ask classes to learn one or two wartime songs, such as 'We'll Meet Again'. You could obtain a CD or cassette of 'Nimrod' from Elgar's Enigma Variations to play in the Time for reflection or as the children leave. These are not essential.
- Introduce the theme of remembering. Ask the children to close their eyes and remember something that happened yesterday. Ask them to open their eyes, and ask a few to share their simple memories.
- Do the same exercise but ask them to think right back, as far as they can, to a memory from when they were much younger.
- After hearing the children's early memories, explain that objects can often help us to remember times, places and people and that sometimes we call these objects mementoes. Place your mementoes on a table so that the children can see them. Talk them through as you lay them out.
- Pick up the mementoes one by one, and tell a brief story about the person or event that they remind you of - a little tale that the children can relate to, or understand why it is important to you.
- Ask the children why we take the sort of photos that you have here - so that we can look back and remember, and be thankful for those events and people that have shaped our lives.
- Ask them if they know why we have a poppy here today. Explain that a poppy helps us to remember important things that have happened to other people, those who have served and died in wars. If you have stories to tell of members of your family that relate to the World Wars, or to the Falklands, the Gulf, or other recent conflicts, so much the better.
Ask the children to spend a moment in silence, thinking about those who are important to us. Play Elgar's 'Nimrod' if you are using it. Then use the following meditation to encourage remembrance of those who have died in conflict.
We remember people who have helped us in the past, those we knew and those we didn't know.
Today we think especially of people who have died in wars and fighting.
We take a moment to think of some special people: soldiers, sailors, pilots, the police, fire-fighters and ambulance drivers - and all who risk their lives today for our safety.
Together we say thank you.
If the children have learnt songs from the wars such as 'We'll Meet Again', sing one of these.
History: Britain since the 1930s and the Second World War.