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Born on 29th February

15 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 24 February 2012

It's a Leap Yearand in the story today Gemma Hunt finds out what it's like to be born on 29 February.

  • A calendar

    A calendar

  • Notes for programme 6: Born on 29th February

    Themes: Leap years; special days; what makes us special.

    Programme content:

    STORY: A day to leap about by Kate Stonham

    INTERVIEW: An interview with triplets India, Alicia and Savannah about what is is like all being born on 29 February

    REFLECTION: … on thinking about what makes us special, thinking about what makes our friends and family special, enjoying being who were are.

    SONG: Come & Praise, no 15 – ‘God knows me’

    Pre-programme questions:

    • What is a leap year and do you know why we have them?
    • Do you know anyone who has a birthday on 29 February? What do you think they feel about having their birthday come around only once every four years? Would you like to have this special date as your birthday? Can you say why or why not?
    • What would you say makes you special? What gifts, talents or interests do you have that make you stand out from other people?

    Story synopsis: A day to leap about by Kate Stonham. Read by Sue Brodie.

    It’s Tom’s birthday and his family are throwing a very special party for him. Tom was born on a leap year and this year he is celebrating his third ‘official’ birthday.

    At the party Tom meets Sandra, a fellow ‘leapling’ who helps him realise that being born on a leap year is actually ‘pretty cool’ and makes him special.

    After the programme:


    • What did Tom feel about being a ‘leapling’? Can you remember some of the things he said about having his birthday on 29 February?
    • How did Sandra help him to see things differently? Why did she think, ‘It’s a pretty cool day for everyone, not just us lucky leapers’?
    • Sandra explained that ‘leaplings’ like Tom and herself had their own club. What do you think Tom felt about that? Do you think he’d like to join the club and why?


    • Divide a sheet of plain paper lengthways with line down the middle. On the left side write ‘Tom’ as a heading and put ‘Sandra’ as a heading on the right hand side. Think of the sheet of paper as the story with the beginning at the top and the end at the bottom. Using colours, track the feeling of Tom and Sandra through the story. Choose different colours for different moods such as red for angry, yellow for happy, orange for hopeful, blue for sad and so on. Make up whatever colour scheme you want and fill the page with colour and patterns. So if you think that Tom is sad and angry at the start of the story but also hopeful (after all it is his birthday!) you’ll need to make a pattern using your sad, angry and hopeful colours.

    • Sandra seems mostly happy throughout the story but she becomes more excited when talking about her birthday adventures so you’ll need some colours for those too. Change the colours for each character as you work through the story, reflecting their moods.

    • Write a short poem or prayer about why everyone is special. Think about the kind of things that Gemma says in the ‘reflection’ towards the end of each programme and write your own version for her. You could use the letters S P E C I A L to start each line. For example:
    - S is for someone I know, someone special to me
    - P is for people around me, my friends and family
    - E is for everyone, special people wherever you go…and so on.

    • Collect data on all the birthday dates in your class and create a chart to display and show clearly the spread of birthdays. Use dots to show each date against a list of months along the bottom of your page. Or you could create a large whole class chart using drawing pins to show the dates. Then using your chart analyse the data. Can you find out:
    - Which month has the most birthdays?
    - Which has the fewest?
    - Are there any months with no birthdays?
    - In which half of the year does most birthdays fall?
    - Are there any days with more than one birthday – are these due to twins in the class?



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    Together (BBC Learning)

    Collective worship / assembly resources for school children aged 7 to 11, primarily for use in…

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