Written by Rob Steward, SU schools development worker for NW
What is an assembly?
- Hundreds of children squeezed tightly into a hall, with food remains from lunch time stuck to their feet being talked at for 30 minutes.
- A small group of children listening to a song, or a story maybe whilst sitting comfortably on the carpet in the classroom.
- A PowerPoint presentation uploaded on the shared school server for teachers to use in their own classrooms.
In a busy school day it is often difficult to ensure that the legal requirement for a daily act of worship can be fitted in especially if the logistics of getting pupils to and from the hall take as much time as the assembly itself.
As a Christian with experience of teaching myself, I see the validity and opportunities made available through what is called daily collective worship with large sections of the school meeting together. In the increasing secularisation of the ‘school experience’, assemblies are one of the largest windows of opportunity for churches to make links with the school community. Furthermore, an awareness of identity and community is established when large groups worship together, and these experiences in early childhood serve to underpin their growing understanding of church community, worship and the role of music in our interaction with God.
However it is also possible to create an environment for collective worship in the classroom. There are obvious benefits in this model as it takes up less time but can still involve listening to a song, times of reflection, a story or other elements of collective worship. Pupils are stopping to worship in a smaller, more intimate setting and led by their own classroom teacher. But what happens if the classroom teacher feels unable or inadequate to develop effective times of collective worship?
Recently I have heard from a school in which many of their acts of collective worship are now done in classrooms with the use of a classroom computer. The head teacher pre prepares a PowerPoint presentation and uploads it on the shared school server for teachers to use in their own classrooms. Suddenly even reluctant teachers, unsure of what collective worship is, have the capacity to adapt, facilitate and take a lead. The scope for this is huge. Videos, songs, quotes and photos can all be used in smaller environments for the children to reflect on and use.
To think about !
Are you able to provide a service for your local school by creating similar presentations for schools to use in the classroom? if you would like to explore this opportunity more why not email Rob on RobS@scriptureunion.org.uk for more information on how to begin.