This is the assembly I did today in one of our local Infant’s School’s on the theme of safety as part of their OFSTED inspection:
Preparation and materials
- Draw a comic face with a black marker pen onto a fresh egg. (This is Egg Bert!)
- You will need a clear bowl or beaker (so as not to waste the egg!). You will need two Egg Berts if you plan to repeat his performance at the end.
- A Bob the Builder hat borrowed from one of the children, or any hard hat will do.
- Write the word DANGER onto a large sheet of paper, or project.
Draw the children’s attention to the word DANGER. Stress that it is a very important word that they should all be able to read and recognise. Remind them that they should always take care if they come across this word.
Hold up the hard hat. Tap it to show that it is hard and ask the children why it is so important. Choose a younger child to come out and wear it. Stress that this hat protects the brain, the most wonderful ‘computer’ in the world that we all have inside our skull. But sometimes people take risks and decide not to wear their hard hat.
Introduce Egg Bert. Tell them that he is one of those characters who thinks he knows best and that rules don’t apply to him. Let the child helping drop the egg into the bowl/beaker. Oh dear! Poor Egg Bert! His head is smashed and like Humpty Dumpty we cannot put him together again! Ask your helper to sit down.
Explain that keeping safe is very important. Many people have dangerous jobs and need to wear protective clothing, and even sports men and women have protective clothing for when they play their favourite games (mention hard hats, shin pads, body protectors, fire-proof suits, etc.). Further discussion could be developed here if time allows.
Many nasty accidents can occur if we do not think before we act: a stone that is thrown in anger or a stick brandished without thought can do a lot of damage and result in someone getting hurt. Remember this when you are playing in the playground.
Remind the children that when they were very small their parents would tell them off if they went to touch a hot pan, radiator or fire. This was because the grown-ups did not want to see them get hurt.
All toddlers and small children are inquisitive. They need to explore the world around them but they do not see the dangers. If, for example, they try to reach something like the overhanging handle of a pan of boiling water they could be badly scalded or burnt. Talk about how when Daniel was young he touched one of the coals in our hot fire and still has the burn mark to show it – not good!
Knives and scissors can cause damage and should be used sensibly.
Plants and berries in the garden can be poisonous. Remember: never eat or drink anything if you do not know what it is.
As we grow older we learn to recognise danger. We know that we should not play near busy roads, that we should always tell our parents where we are going.
Move the discussion on to other ways in which the children can stay safe during the holidays. You might mention the following: don’t talk to strangers; make sure someone knows where you are if you go out; don’t swim in rivers or lakes; don’t play on building sites, and in other dangerous places; don’t wander off; don’t use computer chat-rooms; and so on.
Go on to suggest that the children should ask an adult they know and trust if they are worried or uncertain about anything.
But there is no need to be afraid. Just be sensible and realise that these dangers do exist. When a responsible and trusted grown-up like a parent or teacher tells you not to do something, it is not because they want to spoil your fun, it is because they can see the dangers that exist. Rules are made to keep us safe.
There are times when we all worry about our safety. If time allows, you could use the story of Jesus stilling the storm (I used Bob Hartman’s version from The Lion Storyteller Bible), when the disciples were afraid they were going to drown (Matthew 8.23-27).
If appropriate, say that in the Bible God has promised to keep all his people safe in his hands for ever (John 10.27-30). Of course, we still need to take great care when we’re out and about, and to use all those things we have that keep us safe. But however bad a situation gets, Christians believe that God will be with us and won’t let us go (Romans 8.38-39). If we find ourselves in a dangerous or frightening situation we should call for help, and we can pray too that God will be there for us.
You could end with a repeat of the Egg Bert performance to really make the point – and because it’s fun!
Time for reflection
The world can seem a scary place,
so much to think about if I want to stay safe.
But it’s not really scary when you know
when to stop and when to go,
when to move and when to stay still,
what’s good to eat and what will make you ill.
We learn to be safe as we grow,
and the longer we live the more we know.
So the world isn’t such a scary place.
Just stop and think – make sure you’re safe.