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To think this is an inappropriate topic for a Y1 assembly?

72 replies

GirlInTheDirtyShirt · 01/10/2018 19:29

Honestly willing to be told I’m being unreasonable here. DD5 came home from school today talking about a little girl who had a bomb fall on her and then got very sick and to get better she tried to make 1,000 paper cranes but only managed 644 before she died. Google tells me it’s the story of Sadako, a girl who died as a result of Hiroshima. I’ve found the assembly resource here: and showed the picture to DD and she’s confirmed this is it. The thing is, I now have a very anxious and worried DD who thinks bombs will fall on her. AIBU to think this isn’t an appropriate assembly topic to gove to five year olds?

OP posts:
MemoryOfSleep · 01/10/2018 19:31

I would say it's inappropriate, yes. And I would complain.

Passmethecrisps · 01/10/2018 19:33

I can see it would be upsetting but there is an important message in there. Do you know what the follow up activity was?

I think with extremely careful lead in and follow up it could be a very effective and powerful lesson. If it was a random assembly plonked in then yes, I can see your annoyance

NopeNi · 01/10/2018 19:34

... it's first term of school isn't it?!

Isn't it supposed to be about rainbows and kittens and smiling and being nice to each other at that stage? Not war-torn Hiroshima nightmare stories!

PotteringAlong · 01/10/2018 19:35

It was the international day of peace last week. It will be linked to that.

CherryPavlova · 01/10/2018 19:36

I don’t think children need shielding nearly as much as is imagined. It’s an important lesson and children of all ages need to learn life isn’t all sunflowers and smile.
As a parent, I would have continued the topic and helped the child understand itbwas very unlikely that bombs will fall on them.

GirlInTheDirtyShirt · 01/10/2018 19:36

This is the thing. I think it’s hugely important we teach children about war, history, peace etc, but in an age-appropriate way (otherwise I end up having to talk down a fraught DD), but I’ve asked her what they did after the assembly (I’ve seen teaching resources that talk about making paper cranes and so on), but she’s not sure about what they did. I don’t want to be seen as questioning the teachers but I also don’t want DD to be unnecessarily frightened at the age of five. I think older primary children have the ability to handle these topics, but not new Year Ones.

OP posts:
Arrowfanatic · 01/10/2018 19:38

I think it's a very good subject to cover, it's sad but the story and message behind it is an important one and I think with the right staff telling the story in such a way to be sympathetic to the age of the children.

Honestly if my 5 year old came home telling me about it I'd do my best to follow up any questions she had and reassure her if she gets worried about bombs. She's 5, she's old enough to discuss and understand the implications and any worries.

NopeNi · 01/10/2018 19:39

"As a parent, I would have continued the topic and helped the child understand itbwas very unlikely that bombs will fall on them."

That's nice - but what about the kids who don't have parents ready to continue the lesson and be super-caring and attentive? Mine weren't, and this sort of thing would have given me nightmares.

DunesOfSand · 01/10/2018 19:39

Depends on how it is done.
School does International day of Peace. I don't know what has been said at school, but hand made posters and paper cranes have come home.
Done sensitively, it can be powerful. However after an assembly, it would need very careful handling by the class teachers.

NopeNi · 01/10/2018 19:40

(Sorry, my parents weren't evil or anything, but they both worked 24/7 and weren't around much, especially when I was young!)

RedHelenB · 01/10/2018 19:41

Tbh a lot of year 1s will be messing with shoes/hair etc and not paying a lot of attention. I would reassure her that it happened before your lifetime.

SergeantPfeffer · 01/10/2018 19:43

It’s a very famous story and an appropriate one for year 1, to my eyes. There’ll be started with all the armistice day stuff soon anyway! One little girls quest to fold a 1000 paper planes is a lot easier to explain than the First World War 😬 I speak from experience here, we ended up having to buy an Usborne book on it.

DeborahDowner · 01/10/2018 19:44

I recall that book, it was moving and has stayed with me. However I was older, perhaps 8-9. I think it’s your dd’s age rather than the book, which as pp has mentioned, done with sensitivity at the right age it might be different. Hope she’s ok. I wouldn’t be happy with my 6 year old experiencing it.

Loraline · 01/10/2018 19:44

I don't think you're being that parent to ask the teacher about it.

My DS goes to school in the same borough as Grenfell. In Reception it was briefly and age appropriately discussed in class around the anniversary but DS came home and grilled us on the safety of our larve block of flats for days. So I asked the teacher about how it had been taught and what reaction he'd had and she was perfectly happy to discuss it with me and keep an ear out for any discussions he had in school. I think he picked up on the wider school's pupil chatter more than anything but the teacher really had no problem in having the discussion

Bestseller · 01/10/2018 19:45

It's an impoetant lesson, but not at 5yo, by 7/8 I'd say yes but not this young.

Shednik · 01/10/2018 19:45

My dd is six. She's quite young for her age and I wouldn't consider it an unsuitable topic.

havingabadhairday · 01/10/2018 19:46

I think DS would be upset by this, he struggles with the idea of death anyway, despite our best efforts and following all the advice.

He knows wars happen, I don't think he needs to know details yet.

BlueJava · 01/10/2018 19:46

I say this kindly - but get used to it there are many more of these types of topics to come. Personally I don't think my 15 yo DS should have had to watch a woman be abused in a hard hitting educational film before he had experienced the good side of sexual love and relationships. He seemed to suffer trauma for several days and it gave him a strange ideas ("I know I've never seen you and Dad behave like that but you don't do it in secret do you?" "No!") I had to walk out the room when my DS had to watch Mississippi Burning for History (their DF stayed) I could not. One of my DS brought home the book Noughts and Crosses - I picked it up and flicked through it saying "I think you need to find something more appropriate - this is horrible" and they told me it was their book to study for English for the term.... it goes on. Personally I've never complained but many things seem inappropriate to me.

Witchend · 01/10/2018 19:48

One of the problems is you can't necessarily work out what is going to effect which child.
My exceedingly sensitive dc was totally un-phased by Anne Frank's diary, even when she looked on-line (She was looking for the sequel)and found out what happened afterwards.
My usually hard as nails dc who never got upset by anything of the kind, was reduced to tearful nights over a police dog retiring.

I've seen the story of the cranes in books that is clearly aimed at infant school age. So it's not just your school that thinks it's a reasonable thing to do. They may have not presented it in not the best way for your dd, and maybe that is worth discussing with the school.

FrederickCreeding · 01/10/2018 19:50

i think it's too young too. I have a child in Y3 at the moment who has started to become very anxious about death and I think it's partly connected to a few things he's picked up from school assemblies.

I know life isn't fair and that children need to learn the harsh realities at some point, but I'm all for shielding them from certain things for as long as possible. Otherwise you have a child who is scared to go to sleep every night Sad

Genderwitched · 01/10/2018 19:52

children of all ages need to learn life isn’t all sunflowers and smile

I strongly disagree with this, children in Yr1 do not need to be taught about the horrors of war.

Passmethecrisps · 01/10/2018 19:52

I think the fact she can’t remember any follow up activity probably suggests that they didn’t get it quite right. All sitting down together making the paper cranes with their messages of peace should be a nice opportunity to talk out any issues or concerns and for the teacher to spot anyone who is particularly upset.

I can imagine my 5yo dd giving me a very disjointed version of this over the dinner table and I am not sure she would be upset. I think she would find the story sad but not scary.

There is nothing wrong at all with have a word with the teacher about how the lesson came together and alerting him or her that your dd was scared.

Juells · 01/10/2018 19:53

I think with extremely careful lead in and follow up it could be a very effective and powerful lesson.

What's the powerful lesson that a five-year-old will learn from this? "War is bad, mkay"?

Passmethecrisps · 01/10/2018 19:57

What lesson would you hope anyone could learn?

It’s a story of strength and courage. Of responding to a terrible situation with focus and having a positive goal.

For it to be worth doing though I think it needs to be really well managed or I agree, it becomes pointless

BitOfFun · 01/10/2018 19:59

I still remember my first assembly, aged 5, at my Catholic primary school. The headmistress told us the Bible story of the Slaughter Of The Innocents Hmm

'Twas ever thus.

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