Young Assembly is for 7+ children, with or without parents. We gather after the first song of the main Assembly (see HERE), at 11.00 in St Andrews Church, and rejoin in time for the last song at about 12.00.
At St Andrews Church Waterloo Street, Hove, BN3 1AR
SUNDAY 24 February at 11.00 am – 12.15 pm
‘The Call of the Wild’.
For nearly everyone on the planet, the ‘wild’ world has been pretty much tamed. Most of us live in cities. But how much of you and me is still wild? We will search for signs of the animal in us while, like animals, we browse on fruit.
SUNDAY 27 January Good Mood Food
Good Mood Food was the theme over the road. So we focussed on one particular food and one special mood: The food was sugar and the mood was the desire for more of it. A remarkable number of us – ok ALL of us – love sugar. And a remarkable number of food manufacturers oblige us by putting sugar into nearly everything we eat. We studied some foods and found sugar everywhere – 13 teaspoons in a can of CocaCola, for instance.
Sugar is necessary: our cells need it as a source of energy. But too much of it is bad for us, because the body doesn’t throw it away, it stores it in case there’s a famine. Since there hasn’t been a famine for 150 years, our bodies have been storing it all over the place, as fat. and it has clogged us up our workings. It has turned from a giver of life to a threat of death. The UK is the sixth fattest nation in the World. Our 11 lovely children were given one sweet each from a packet of 50 Maoams*: quite enough energy to last a day. The rest were flushed down the toilet, to a chorus of dismay. But really, we all knew that was the right thing to do, didn’t we, kids!
*Maoams: the first ingredient (Therefore the biggest) is sugar. The second is glucose syrup (sugar), the fifth is sorbitol syrup (sugar), the twentieth is caramalised sugar syrup, and in a final flourish, the last two are treacle and invert sugar syrup.
SUNDAY 16 December Money
We took a close-up look at money – literally: with microscopes, to spot the hidden details that make coins and notes hard to forge; we discussed pocket money and the whys, the hows and whens to save; and we had a chat about sharing while we distributed golden coins, filled with chocolate. Also some money magic (not how to make it disappear; anyone can do that).
SUNDAY 28 October Groupthink
We will be working together to create the International Space Station – an example of group-thinking across national borders: it is a collaboration between scientists from 16 nations. Plus free fruit and biscuits!
SUNDAY 23 September Festival !
Brighton is famous for its festivals; indeed some weekends the sea front looks like a day-long circus parade. We will be comparing festivals around the world, and making something useful for all festive occasions. Plus we’ll have our own little feast, on fruit and biscuits.
SUNDAY 19 August Wisdom
This month we are looking at pearls of wisdom; mottos we can reach for at times when life is puzzling.
Plus there will be refreshments: biscuits! (… Is this wise? Well, we will try to get wiser without becoming wider.)
Do you have any smart sayings you mutter to yourself when times get tough:
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”
“The grass always looks greener on the other side”
“Sour grapes!” (what does that mean? Come and find out.)
We will think of some, get given some more and hopefully make up some of our own. Then we’ll pop back to the main Assembly with our pearls, and help them to invent some more.
SUNDAY July 22 Strength
You may be strong – you can run fast or lift heavy things – but what about other other ways of being strong? Can you cooperate, support your friends, respect your enemies, or be brave when those all around you are scared? At the Young Assembly we played a variety of games and activities to find our inner strengths. We discussed our top ten, then arranged them in order:
Fairness – Kindness – Honesty – Courage – Patience – Cooperation – Open-mindedness – Forgiveness – Humour – Enthusiasm
Interestingly, it turns out that that is the way Nature has arranged them too. Many animals have been found to have a sense of fairness; young babies are kind; toddlers are disarmingly honest, and so on.
SUNDAY June 24 Geography
A fisherman’s cottage in Portslade 200 years ago
It was advertised as a ‘a walk around the block and back through 200 years’, but it also stepped into the future. Following the theme of mindful walks in the landscape, we walked in the glorious morning sunshine, becoming aware of the local neighbourhood. Straight away, we found to our astonishment that our little church of St Andrews was designed by Charles Barry, who went on to do the Houses of Parliament.
Our team observed every door, paving stone and window frame, and found a wealth of human ingenuity – for instance, old fire buckets turned into flower pots – and interesting smells, all noted down, and eventually turned into a poem.
We saw the grand frontages of the houses on the seafront, and the erratic jumble of sheds and shacks they hid behind them. We saw an old engraving of a fisherman’s cottage, on it’s own, where Portslade sits (above); and in the centre of Brighton city we spotted more cottages, now repurposed as shops and a stage door.
And the future? Right in the middle of our walk was an empty site, where a house once stood, but with nothing now except weeds, bushes and young trees, showing how the whole city will look once the humans leave: overgrown with vegetation.
You are welcome to search for the 200 year-old fisherman’s cottages in the centre of town. The Google view is here: Click on the image for a bigger shot
Below is another view of them. Clue at bottom, typed backwards.
Clue: (right the to and up slightly, picture the of middle near is cottage The)
SUNDAY April 22 — SPRING
On Sunday April 22nd, while the main Assembly were learning the multiple, life-enhancing – life-saving even – values of a bracing walk in the countryside, we were subverting their intents by inventing distractions. We ended up with 18 games to play, anyone of which will successfully disrupt the best laid plans.
The value to the spirit of Assemblism is that we discovered the enormous power of cooperative creativity – working together on a project and seeing the wonders that emerge.
For the benefit of all, we publish them now on the Young Assembly section of the website:
SUNDAY March 25 ‘Near and Far’
with tales from the slums of Rio to the Australian outback, via Brighton.
Over in the Young Assembly, Richard began by showing on a map of the World how humankind spread around the globe really quickly, from our first steps out of Africa 100,000 years ago to the tip of South America 90,000 years later, showing how we are all one big happy family (genetically speaking). Vicky followed on with amazing puzzle pictures of the languages, food and schools of other lands from around the world, much of it correctly identified by our young group, although a lot of it is surprisingly like our own (the school children in Papua, New Guinea for instance, below).
We rounded off with two tricks:
1) How to get the most out of your pocket money – On the first day of a month go up to whoever gives out the pocket money and say ‘I don’t want to keep depending on you for money. After this month you need never give me a penny more. Just give me a penny on the first day of the month, 2p on the second, 4p on the third, etc, doubling the number of pennies each day’. They will of course agree. Then get them to sign an agreement. This is important, because when they work out that they’ll be handing over £22,000,000 they may want to withdraw. Promise; try it out on a calculator.
2) We shrank one of the dads into a shopping bag, following the theme of ‘Near and Far’ (below the below)
Young Assembly is for young people, 7+ years old, (or younger if accompanied by an adult). We meet at the same time and place as the main Assembly, leaving just after the first song and rejoining just before the end.
SUNDAY 25 February – SENSES – REPORT
Last month Young Assembly did the senses. Turns out there are quite a lot of them – seventeen or more.
We can start with the traditional five: hearing, sight, taste, smell, touch. But touch can be sub-divided into:
pressure, temperature, pain and itch,
so we’re up to eight.
Then there are the inward-facing ones:
hunger and thirst, bowels and bladder, proprioception (knowing where your limbs are), balance, direction, stretch (found in lungs, stomach, bladder, etc), chemoreceptors (awareness of CO2 levels, and other chemical imbalances).
On top of those is what we might call the ‘sixth sense’ though it’s not as spooky as it sounds, it is our awareness of the state of mind of others, which we understand by their body language, the nuances of their voice, and their pheromones, or chemical signals which they emit and we pick up with our nose.
WOW! We then asked which was the most important, and then what would be our super-power.
Up came “X-ray vision”. Nice one! Did you know that dolphins already have that? They use echoes to find their way about, and the sounds they send out bounce off the objects they meet – say a wall – and detect vibrations from the objects on the other side, so the return echo includes this information.
“What about being able to see in the dark?” Useful indeed, as pit vipers can tell you. They can see infra-red, which means they detect the heat give off by other animals. Even in the pitch dark they can find mice, voles, and other snacks.
That was all we had time for, before we went back to the church and showed them a magic trick about proprioception.