Location Tried: Any or All Locations
Estimated costs: Free resources, set up costs depend on you
Suggested frequency: Annually
Hosted by: Local churches
Activity: Educational Resource
A prayer space, is usually a classroom sized area in a primary or a secondary school that has been transformed for a few days or a week, with a range of creative activities that encourage personal reflection. The activities focus on issues such as forgiveness, injustice, thankfulness, big questions, identity and stillness. In some schools, teachers bring their students for a subject-lesson in the prayer space. In other schools, students are invited to visit the prayer space voluntarily, during their breaks, lunchtimes and maybe after the school day has finished.
Prayer spaces are usually run by a suitably trained team from a local church or organisation as a service to the school at the invitation of, and with the full co-operation of, senior staff. Prayer spaces have been welcomed and praised by Head teachers, teachers and parents of different faiths and of no faith.
They have been recognised as a valuable contribution to the RE and PSHE syllabus in England and Wales, and the RME and Health & Wellbeing syllabus in Scotland. They are in line with government requirements, as well as assisting in the statutory responsibility to support the spiritual and moral development of the students.
Prayer Spaces in Schools enable children and young people, of all faiths and none, to explore life questions, spirituality and faith in a safe, creative and interactive way. Taking a broadly Christian perspective as a starting point, prayer spaces give children and young people an opportunity to develop skills of personal reflection and to explore prayer in an open, inclusive and safe environment. The approach does not proselytise and purposely allows pupils to make their own meaning and to draw their own conclusions.
What people say about Prayer Spaces in Schools;
"It was one of the most effective sessions I have seen during my career. The ethos in the lesson was superb and the gentle interaction between adults and children was heart-warming! Too often schools give into Ofsted pressures and neglect the spiritual needs of their students. The prayer space is a unique way of redressing the balance." Head teacher, Cumbria.
"Even the lives of our young people get pressured and squeezed. Soul Space does something remarkable: it claims that space and offers a place to breathe some healthy spiritual air. The responses from young people demonstrate what can happen when we allow a little bit of God space into crowded lives. It's a precious gift!" Vicar, Chaplain to the Bishop of Norwich.
"I don't even believe in all that stuff, but I could feel God in there!" Year 9 student.
"I've never seen prayer displayed or experienced like this before. It's made me realise how many different ways prayer can be appreciated. It's opened up religion into my life again. Thank you!" Year 12 student.
"It felt like the truth in here." Year 6 student.
"If you are sceptical about how a prayer space might be received at your school I would urge you to try it and see. I have been blown away by the responses of our young people to the opportunity it has given them to learn about the power of prayer first hand." Head of RE, Suffolk.
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