“It feels good to get it out, it makes you feel lighter”.
“It was a pleasure and a privilege to host a prayer space at St Peters’ CE Primary School. Using fairy lights, a garden gazebo and a bit of creative flair, we transformed part of the school library into our prayer space for the week. We set up a range of engaging prayer activities for the children to use; a prayer wall, bubble tubes, fizzy forgiveness, sorry strings and a space for the pupils to just be still.
Over the course of four days the prayer space was visited by over 240 children and it was wonderful to watch the ways that they engaged with the space and each other. In each of the sessions, there was a sense of calm and peace.
We had themed the prayer space around ‘words’ and enabled the children to reflect on the importance of the words we say. We reflected on how the words we say can be like toothpaste; once toothpaste has been squeezed out of the tube, it’s impossible to get it all back in the tube. Once our words are said, it’s impossible to get them back in again too! Many of the children chose to reflect on what they had said in the past that may have hurt others’ feelings; saying sorry for the ways that they had upset family and friends. Many found this a helpful thing to do – “it feels good to get it out, it makes you feel lighter”.
We were also helped by the school’s Ethos Committee, a group of Year 5 and 6 children who help to lead collective worship and other ethos initiatives in the school. The team, of about 9 children, hosted the prayer space at lunchtimes with us and were amazing at encouraging other pupils to engage with the prayer activities. Brilliant hosts!
On one of the days, we had a visit from the Bishop of Birmingham, David Urquhart, who spent some time in the prayer space with us. He reflected on the prayer space, recognising that, “Prayer Spaces in Schools are a hugely positive experience for pupils and staff, and enable children and young people, of all faiths and none, to explore spirituality and faith in a safe, creative and interactive way.”
Feedback from the school staff was highly positive too, the headteacher also saw the value of the prayer space, saying, “Prayer space enables the children to 'step out' of the daily routines and expectations put upon them and to have some individual time to speak to God and to reflect on actions and choices they make. The four days were very successful, and we would love to look at how we can build on this as a regular feature in school.”
Mike Down, Growing Younger Schools Project Manager, The Church of England Birmingham