8th March 2023
I have carried a vision for using prayer spaces within our schools for the past few years. Whilst I ran our first pupil lead space with transition year students last year I had the opportunity to host our first Prayer Space at our local Primary school in Cahir (South Tipperary), Bunscoil na Cathrach, a few weeks ago. The school had limited space to offer us so we had to rethink how we would host the prayer space to serve school life. After some conversation with the school we had an idea to make the prayer space mobile. We came up with a plan to take 8 prayer activities around to the 2 groups of 3rd to 6th Class classes. We set them up during break times and then did the prayer space lesson with them in their class, all with the help from 4 Transition Year students from Colaiste dun Iascaigh, the local secondary school.
Because the activities had to be mobile, easy to set up and take down and suitable for all students to engage with on a limited space, we focused on simple stations taken from the website. We used existing school tables, chairs and notice boards to display the stations along with posters on large card to allow for the post it notes to be attached around the posters. Through these simple activities and utilising what was already in the classroom we were able to create a mobile prayer space for the class to use. We did a brief introduction to prayer and the activities and then allowed time for the students to use the space before getting some feedback at the end.
The students really engaged with the activities and across the classes pupils gave positive feedback. Some said it helped them to calm down and feel relaxed whilst others commented it got them thinking and asking questions. Some students liked the ‘Pipe Cleaner People’ activity because they could reflect on the person whilst creating them. Another student found the Thinking Good Thoughts activity helpful because they could “think about good things instead of bad.” One of the teachers commented how this type of thing was great for the whole school, regardless of faith background, because it accessible to all. Now I’m in the process of exploring a more permanent space in the school for the pupils to access and use regularly.
I’ve learnt that there’s so many ways Prayer Spaces in Schools resources can be used as part of school life, sometimes we just need to think outside the box and get a little more creative.