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St Lawrence’s RC Primary School have recently embarked on a very exciting and far reaching period of prayer and reflection in school.
The project was inspired in response to the Department for Education’s request for schools to explore traditional ‘British Values.’ Having discussed these as a staff, the school decided to explore their own values as a Catholic school as true values of the Gospel that the staff and children try to live out on a daily basis. These values included love, hope, faith, truth, joy, prayer, justice, peace, mission, community and mercy.
Each class was assigned a value and were encouraged to explore what it meant to them before coming back as a whole school assembly. We invited a number of guests into school for the assembly. They were all tremendously impressed by the reverence and fresh ideas displayed by the children.
Among the guests were Anna Spencer and Beth Grist, regular volunteers at the school in other capacities. Anna and Beth asked if they could come to a staff meeting to talk about Prayer Spaces in Schools and how they could help the children engage further with God and the themes that they had explored.
After much planning and preparation, Beth and Anna set up a gazebo to serve as a prayer space in the school hall. Each day all of the children in the school – from Nursery Class up to Year 6 – were given an opportunity to work on a given theme in a variety of age appropriate ways.
It proved a tremendous success with the children all engaging and finding new paths to connect with God and their personal faith journeys. An open evening was held with parents which proved hugely popular and parishoners also had the opportunity to explore the space during the week and share with the children.
Lily Knox, a Year 6 pupil and member of the school council said: “It was fun. I particularly enjoyed it when we explore the importance of faith and hope. We blindfolded one another and had to depend on each other to get through an obstacle course. It was like a journey through life. I learned that I could lean on a friend and that I can depend on God and the people I love to lead me through difficult times.”
Anna Spencer, who designed and ran the prayer spaces said: “It has been a delight to see the children engaging with prayer and see them reaching God in different ways. Some of the questions they ask and insights they have are extraordinary. The whole community has engaged with us so readily and St. Lawrence’s is such an open and welcoming school that is bursting with new ideas. It has been a delight and a privilege to be part of the process.”
Mr Brown said: “It has been delightful to see our initial idea grow and flower in such away. I’d like to express my thanks for Anna and Beth for all of their tireless work and commitment to our vision. It has been a delight to see all of the children and indeed the whole community join in with this project and get so much out of it. We see it not as a finished project, but the beginning of something special in the prayer life of our school.”