Three years ago I saw an assembly that inspired me. I recreated that assembly for my very first assembly as a new headteacher.
I had bought the smallest olive tree that I could find the day before and I perched it up onto the table at the front of the hall.
I explained that the olive tree is very symbolic for different reasons.
Firstly, the olive tree represents peace.
One reason for this symbolism is because olive trees take a long time to grow. Therefore, in times of war it is likely that they will be trampled on. These olive trees can only grow in areas where there is peace.
In the same way, I argued that we want a school of peace, where every child is able to grow and develop without fear or worry. We will provide a climate of peace to encourage the best growth for our children.
Secondly, the olive tree represents winning.
Ancient Greece held the incredible Olympic games. For each competition there was just one winner- there were no silver or bronze medals. First place was the only place. The winner was given an olive branch wreath.
In the same way, we want every child to be the best version of themselves, and to develop in their own unique way. It is easy to look at other people and compare yourself against them. It is more important, however, to think ‘How can I be better in my race?’
Thirdly, the olive tree represents hope for a future.
Noah had experienced the earth being destroyed by catastrophic floods. After forty days, the rain stopped. A short while later, Noah couldn’t see land so he sent a dove. That dove returned to the
Ark with an olive branch. They were going to live. There was hope.
In the same way, I explained to the children that we are preparing them for the future. That we wanted the best for them and that they have many options, even when the storms of life hit them. There is always hope.
That small olive tree was then planted by selected children from each year group. It will grow as we grow.