"It helped me to let all of my stress go away"

4th October 2019

The team setting up for this year’s Soul Space were greatly encouraged by the enthusiasm of the children as they passed us.

“Oh great! It’s Soul Space again – can’t wait”

This year we used climate change as our outward activity. We partnered the activity with the Tesco assembly on plastic and a class activity. This meant that students could spend more time thinking about climate change. Some of the younger pupils found it a bit harder to engage with this activity on a deep level but they understood that clearing up your rubbish is important. Most of the pupils were fascinated by the large wind turbine made out of junk that we had in the prayer space. 

The dark tent with lights and glitter jars and a lava lamp was hugely popular as ever, but for the first year, was not the MOST popular! We had orbeez (aqua beads) in a large bowl and invited the children to think about what stressed them (which makes us clench up) and to open their hands as they let the stress go. The gel beads trickled through. Some of the things the children said stressed them were deep and heart breaking. This was a messy activity, but the children absolutely loved it.

I enjoyed (Stress Less) because I was a bit stressed at first and the aqua beads helped a lot”

“I liked how it got all your worries off you”

“It helped me to let all of my stress go away”

“It made me stop thinking about my bad feelings

It beat the Calm corner into second place, and it is interesting to note that the two favourite activities were about calm and de-stressing. Clearly this is meeting an area of great need.

Be still and calm really helped me calm down a lot as I am hyper.”

“It just all around helps me see things in better ways like I am fine as I am.”

“It made me calm down and I felt amazing”

“I liked that you can be calm in your life for once. I felt really safe and I could trust anyone.

The friendship corner had the children thinking about who supported them; who their friends were. They were also invited to make themselves out of plasticine and place themselves in the “school community”. Many of them struggled with the thought that they might be important to the school community or to their friends.

There was a choice of activity in the classroom. Most teachers chose to make windmills, on which the children had written a thought or prayer about climate change, and what they would hope for.

The reactions to the class activity varied enormously from “boring” to “smashing”, seeming to depend on whether the child liked art/creating or not. Time is tricky. Often children wanted/needed longer for the activities. Other times they were ready to move on before the time was up.

All the activities fitted into one or more of the three school values, which were displayed by each area. The children demonstrated them all during the two days, and were a joy to be with. Some of the children were apprehensive of the noise/crowd and needed encouragement or to be on their own, but all seemed to manage and gain something from the prayer space. 

I felt so peaceful after Soul Space I did not want to leave”

“You realise and respect who you are and how to deal with stressful situations

I never knew mistakes could be so fun!”

“It helps your resilience”

“It was very fun and makes me feel like I was changing the world”

“Although it was a mistake, we were creative with it and enjoyed it as well”

“I think it was outstanding because it taught us resilience.

These comments are deep and important. There is clearly a need to continue to build in space/peace for the children. I am sure this contributed positively to the children’s mental health.