Starting a new term with new teachers, new classrooms and new subjects is hard work for everybody. This primary assembly considers what it’s like to settle down in a new classroom as everyone looks forward to the half-term break

Resources
If you can, show some pictures of Autumn. Some can be found on the BBC website.

Introduction
Has anyone noticed a change in the weather over the last few weeks? [Take comments] Yes, we didn’t have the warmest summer this year, but it’s definitely been a bit cooler the last couple of weeks.

Has anyone noticed any other changes? [Take suggestions] Yes, it’s also getting darker earlier on in the evenings. During the summer, the sun set at about 9pm; now it’s more like 7pm. And as the autumn goes on, the days will get shorter and the nights longer.

Other autumnal changes mean that the leaves on the trees are turning from summer green to different shades of red and orange and brown, and animals like hedgehogs and tortoises are beginning to think about hibernating, which means sleeping through the winter.

Here’s a challenge for everyone. Who can spell ‘autumn’ – it’s a bit tricky, so have a think first. [Take suggestions] Yes, that’s right A U T U M N – that final ‘n’ is silent so it’s easy to forget. It’s a bit easier to remember if you think of the adjective that means ‘like autumn’, which is ‘autumnal’ – you can hear the ‘n’ now.

Autumn can be a very enjoyable time of year with so many changes to look out for. But another reason that we can look forward to the next couple of weeks is because half-term is coming up.

Some people will be going to visit relatives or going on holiday, and others will be going on fun day trips or simply spending time with friends and family. And, best of all, we can have a jolly good rest!

We’re all looking forward to half-term for that reason – teachers, too! It’s hard work starting a new year at school. There are new classes, new people, new lessons – it’s a lot for our brains to take in, and we all get tired. That’s why we look forward to having a break. People talk about recharging their batteries; of course, people don’t have batteries, but it does us good to have a rest.

Here’s a story from Wisley Beech Primary School – and the things they’re looking forward to during their half-term break.

Story
Mr Johnson stretched and yawned. “I’m looking forward to half-term,” he said. Mrs Smith smiled and nodded. “Me, too. I get so tired at this time of year. It’s always hard work starting in September and getting used to a new class. Especially with Barry in my class!”

Mr Johnson laughed. “Oh, he’s a smashing kid, but he is hard work. He really comes up with some interesting questions.”

“Oh, there’s no doubt about that,” said Mrs Smith. “He certainly keeps me on my toes, but it’s hard to try and spend equal time with all the children with such a live wire around. I worry that some of the quieter ones get left out a bit. Still, they’re a good class and they’re all settling down well.”

“And how are you settling in?” said Mr Johnson.

“Oh everyone has been very kind,” said Mrs Smith. “But you know what it’s like starting a new job in a new school. I’m still finding my feet and trying to remember where everything is kept. Luckily Robbie is very good at telling me how things work round the school – he’s almost a teaching assistant! Still, I must say I can’t wait for half-term.”

At that moment Miss Bocelli crashed through the staffroom door.

“Oh, so sorry!” she said. “I always forget the door is on a spring. Are you talking about half-term? Thank goodness it’s only a week away. All my children are looking forward to going trick-or-treating at Hallowe’en. We’ve been making Hallowe’en masks – some of them are really scary. And we’ve making cards for All Saints Day – the day after Hallowe’en. And then I’m looking forward to putting my feet up and having a rest.”

“That sounds great,” said Mrs Smith. “But my two daughters at home will keep me busy, I’m sure. And I’m looking forward to getting lots of dog walks in, too. We’ll go to some different places that everyone will enjoy. You know that old castle a few miles away? Well, Bertie, my Springer Spaniel can have a good run around, and the girls love climbing around on the battlements. How they don’t get dizzy I can’t think. What are you doing, Charlie?” She looked at Mr Johnson.

“You mean apart from getting all my lesson plans ready for the next half-term?”

They all laughed. “Yes! Apart from work. What are you doing at half-term?”

“Actually, I’m doing something quite different. I’m going on a cookery course at a local hotel. I love messing about in the kitchen but I want to get better at it. My speciality is Green Thai Curry. I always try and have a couple of days where I do something completely different at half-term holiday. I find that I come back to school feeling refreshed and ready for the next half-term.”

“I know what you mean,” said Miss Bocelli. “I really notice a difference in my teaching if I have proper break and do something different. I think that’s true for the children, too. We all need a rest and a chance to do other things to recharge our batteries. And then it’s nice to come back to the familiar routine of school. By the second half-term everyone feels a bit more settled in, have you noticed that?”

Mr Johnson nodded. “Definitely. I always think the Reception children seem so much more grown up. They all know where the toilets are by then and what to do at lunchtime. My Year 6’s also seem much different and I can see that soon they’ll be ready for secondary school.”

Just then the bell rang and the teachers rushed out of the staffroom chatting happily, ready for their next lessons.

Conclusion
It’s not just children in school who have to get used to the new school year – teachers do, too. We all work very hard at school so it’s important for all of us to have a half-term break and do the things we enjoy doing, whether that’s going to a cookery school like Mr Johnson, or reading a favourite book again.

Prayer Dear Father, We pray today for everyone in our school. May they all enjoy half-term and come refreshed and looking forward to being at school and learning new things.

Amen.

Reflection
Have you ever heard the expression ‘a change is as good as a rest’? It means that doing something different is as refreshing as having a rest and not doing much at all. Think about that as you go through school today.

This e-bulletin issue was first published in October 2008

About the author: Jane West

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