A 2023 Guide to Free Assemblies
Updated: Mar 1
TOP Ideas for Free School Assemblies
1. Museums – Museums in virtually every city across the United States offer community outreach programs.
2. Fire and Police Safety Demonstrations –Due to their longevity and success, safety programs that come out to schools often offer entertaining speakers and sometimes feature “giveaways” for the students.
3. Animals – Zoos, Aquariums and animal shelters can bring fascinating and sometimes hands on shows that feature members of the animal kingdom.
4. Physical Fitness - Invite current and former professional athletes, local fitness centers (i.e. karate demonstrations), medical and dietary experts to show your students’ the importance of good health and physical fitness.
5. Mascots – Bringing in a pro mascot from a pro sports team is a great way to kickoff a good old fashioned pep rally or team building event.
Planning a school assembly is typically not very difficult. You do some research, get recommendations from friends at other schools, contact the assembly company and book it! Easy! But planning free assemblies for your elementary school can be much more challenging -- but -- with a little help and guidance from some "pros" it's definitely not impossible!
Here is an easy to follow guide to finding and
planning a free assembly for your elementary school.
1. Choose a Fantastic Theme
Hopefully you're not doing this on your own. If you are -- find friends to help. You need to put together an assembly dream team because working with others always brings out the best ideas. Getting together with friends or co-volunteers can really get the creative juices flowing and you’ll find new and interesting ideas that you never considered on your own. You and your assembly committee need to sit down and choose a theme for the assembly. if you’ve already set your sites on one of our suggested free assemblies, the theme will be chosen for you and you can simply develop it and build around it.
2. Resource Gathering
Let’s say that you’ve chosen Black History Month as your theme. You might consider inviting local historians or leaders in the community that can bring unique perspectives to your students. In the Philadelphia area, there is an organization called History Hunters which hosts field trips to historic locations in the area to teach kids about African American history. I'm not sure that the History Hunters comes out to schools, but I'm sure that this organization would probably be a great resource to help you find someone who might be able to come and do a presentation. Put some effort into your research, the Internet can be a beautiful thing.
Regardless of the specific theme, engage with the community! Reach out to speakers, educators or artists in the community and see if they can add something to your idea to make the day extra special. Enlist them to create artwork, decorations or even a piece of original music! When you reach out, you will quickly find that people want to help! You have an untapped wealth of talent in your school's own parent universe! If you don’t ask, people won’t necessarily step up to volunteer.
3. Create Your Timeline
As an assembly provider myself, I’m very aware that schools have to stick to the schedule! I’ve found in my experience that the school principal is usually the ultimate “timekeeper” and his or her word is the final word! Free assemblies should run approximately 45 minutes in length and sometimes need to work around lunches or gym classes (depending on their location). Just make sure you work with the Principal to create a timeline and then set it in stone. No surprises or deviations!
4. A.B.P. (Always Be Prepared)
Sounds like we’re talking like Boy Scouts here, but The success of your assembly will largely depend on how well the performers and speakers are prepared. Make sure you discuss what your performer will be doing during their performance. Scheduling free assemblies might bring you guests who are not experienced doing live presentations for large groups. Make sure to brief them on how many kids will be at the assembly. Make sure to educate them on the importance of utilizing acceptable materials and acceptable language during their presentations. As a side note, I’ve personally witnessed guests telling kids to “shutup” at the show…language that doesn't belong in ANY elementary school. If possible, schedule a practice time for everyone involved, including students who might be performing. Preparation helps ensure that everyone knows their roles and that your free assembly runs smoothly.
The more people that see this show, the better! There are many ways to promote your assemblies. Facebook parents’ pages, school websites, flyers for the students' backpack. You’ve done a huge amount of work putting together a wonderful program – make sure people know about it!
AFTER THE SHOW!
6. Decompress and Discuss
Schedule two meetings. One with the school principal and one with you co-volunteers. Did the program go as expected? Was the performer ready and able to carry out their duties during the assemblies? Would you do it again? What would you change next time?
These are all helpful exercises that will improve future assemblies and make them even more engaging and educational for your students.
Here are some example ideas that (through minimal internet research) we have found offer presentations that might work for your free assemblies.
1. Museums – Museums offer community outreach programs to schools in just about every city across the United States. In Dallas, the Perot Museum offers a community outreach program called Tech Truck which brings opportunities for STEM learning to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Primarily interested in serving underrepresented communities, this is an example of how museums reach outside their walls to teach students.
2. Fire and Police Safety Demonstrations –Due to their longevity and success, safety programs that come out to schools might offer polished & entertaining guest speakers and sometimes feature “giveaways” for the students. We found a very well organized program in Tampa, Florida presented by the Tampa Fire Rescue. Tampa Fire Rescue offers a free "Learn Not to Burn" fire safety program for elementary schools in the Tampa area. The program includes a classroom presentation and hands-on activities that teach students how to prevent fires and respond safely in the event of a fire.
3. Animals – Zoos, Aquariums and animal shelters can bring fascinating and sometimes "hands on" shows that feature members of the animal kingdom. Zoo presentations have been a staple in the free assemblies community for years and generally present entertaining and educational shows that the kids love! Reach out to smaller zoos for better availability.
4. Physical Fitness - Current and former professional athletes, local fitness centers (i.e. karate demonstrations), medical and dietary experts can bring the importance of good physical fitness to students. The NFL offers outreach programs through their NFL360 events as well as the Presidential Youth Fitness programs which can be synced with in-school visitors with ties to high profile athletics. Think outside the box and your kids will benefit from your creativity!
Mascots are an often-overlooked resource for free school assemblies. Local pro and minor league sports teams are always looking for ways to raise the teams awareness in their community. By bringing their mascot to school, you are doing THEM a favor! Bringing in a mascot from a pro sports team is a great way to kick off a good old fashioned pep rally or team building event.
SchoolAssemblies.com has been bringing elementary schools fun and educational assemblies for more than 20 years. You can take a look at our shows by clicking the banner at the top of the page. If you have any questions or need just want some free assembly advice, give us a call. We're happy to help.