The Assembly

A story about putting on a children’s assembly. Hopefully it contains some characters that teachers and children will recognise!

Miss Jennings looked at her reception class and sighed. It was their assembly for parents this afternoon and they were nowhere near ready. Mind you, she thought, they could practice for another week and they still wouldn’t be ready. She just hoped the mums and dads would be too busy oohing and aahing over their little ones to notice any mistakes and that the children remembered to go to the toilet before the performance. Last year’s assembly on underwater animals had got a little too wet and she didn’t want a repeat of that.

Along the benches, sat twenty eight 4 and 5-year-olds with shining, innocent faces. Or at least they would have looked innocent if Miss Jennings hadn’t known them as well as she did. Take, for example, Katy who was sitting at one end of the benches looking like an angel. Yesterday she had found her sticking gold stars to Rosie the class rabbit. Miss Jennings shook her head as she remembered the little girl’s explanation. “I’m making her look pretty Miss; she’s going to a party.”

Three down from Katy were Jamie and George who were identical in every way, including the mud they had smeared on their faces at breaktime. They seemed to be having a competition to see who could hold his breath the longest and under the brown crust they had started to turn a strange shade of purple. 

“Jamie, George, breathe!” said Miss Court, the teaching assistant who was kneeling in front of the class looking out for trouble, dripping noses and crying children.

The twins let out a sound like a burst tyre and slumped over their knees; a healthy colour returning to their giggling faces.

“Alright children,” continued Miss Jennings, “let’s begin. Abigail, up you come.”

A girl with freckles and blonde hair in pig-tails came to the front, clutching a painting of a hedgehog. Miss Jennings frowned slightly at the picture. She knew it was a hedgehog, but anyone else could be forgiven for wondering if their assembly was about hamburgers.

“Hello and welcome to our assembly we have been learning about the woods there are lots of different animals that live in the woods here are some pictures of them.”

Abigail held up her hedgehog/hamburger painting and behind her the other children held up theirs. There were three more hamburgers, four furry sausages and something that looked like a brick with fangs. It could be worse, Miss Jennings thought to herself, at least most of them look like animals, even if Rory seems a little confused about where giraffes live.

Abigail sat down and Marta took her place.

“In the woods, there are birds called owls. We have been reading a book called ‘Owl Babies’ by Martine Widdle”.

“Martin Waddell,” corrected Miss Jennings. It wasn’t the first time Marta had made the mistake and she was sure it would be Martine Widdle again when the parents were watching.

This was followed by 6 of the class reading ‘Owl Babies’ while Tyler, Karl and Bella, dressed in owl masks,  fluttered around pretending to be Sarah, Percy and Bill – the young owls from the story. It was going quite well until Bella decided that just saying to-wit to-whoo was boring and since she could make other animal noises, she might as well brighten up the story.

“I think she’s gone hunting” … moo …

“To get us some food” … baa baa…

“I want my Mummy” …oink oink…

“Thank you children,” said Miss Jennings as brightly as she could, “Bella, those were very nice animal voices, but we’ll just stick to owl noises for the assembly. Perhaps you can show us the other ones when we get back to class.”

Bella seemed satisfied by this and bounced back to the bench like a kangaroo.

On the rehearsal went: the song about badgers, the leaf prints and finally the tree pictures made from pasta tubes. It was at this moment, that Miss Jennings noticed Michael’s tree picture was considerably smaller than the others. Katy had used half a pack of macaroni to make a mighty oak while Michael barely had a twig. Looking upwards from the picture, Miss Jennings saw Michael’s bulging cheeks.

“Michael, have you picked off the pasta on your picture?”

“Nomiff,” came Michael’s untruthful reply.

“Michael, have you got the pasta in your mouth?”

“Nomiff..” At this point Michael started coughing and the floor was covered in slimy pasta tubes.

Miss Court, with macaroni sticking to her hair, led Michael outside to the water fountain.

Like a marathon runner that can see the end in sight, Miss Jennings waved Billy Smith forwards.

Billy stepped to the front and spoke in a voice that could probably be heard in the next town, “Thank you for enjoying our assembly, we hope you come to it.”

Miss Jennings closed her eyes and counted to three. When she opened them, her class were still there, proudly holding up their pictures with smiling faces. Well, she thought, that wasn’t too bad.

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