16th June 2021
In May 2021, the local church hosted a pop-up prayer space for two days on the grounds of our local school. It was a huge success, all of the children loved visiting the space, and the level of engagement exceeded all of our hopes and prayers! Essentially it was like any other prayer space in school – the children visited the space in small, half-class sized groups (up to 15) and had 30 minutes to engage at their own pace with several prayer/reflection activities in a calm/reflective/quiet environment. We had a team of 6 volunteers from the two local churches who hosted the space: helping to create a calming/prayerful environment and helping the children to access the activities. But there were a couple of key differences with this prayer space:
Essentially, we went super-simple with our resources, chiming in with the natural environment – and it worked! All the children in Years 1-6 visited the space and literally, every child loved being there and didn’t want to leave! So many of the school staff commented on how amazed they were at how the children were engaging with the space and the activities. One of the highlights was seeing children who struggle in other settings, really enjoying the peace and stillness, and visibly being calmed by this experience.
Prayer activities: We set up 11 prayer activities in the quietest area on the school grounds – an area that was not going to be used at break and lunch time. Some of the activities were under a permanent wooden shelter, some were in the open, some were in a tipi tent, and some were under an open-sided gazebo tent. All the activities required minimal set up and could be done outside if the weather was dry. We had the undercover option as the weather was forecast to be changeable. At the start of each session, we gathered the whole group in a circle, either outside on the grass or inside the tipi tent. We did a very brief introduction (5 mins max) to the session – explaining the vision of the space and how the children could access the activities. At the end of the session, we came back together and stood in a circle, and the children briefly shared what they had enjoyed or any comments about their time in the space.
Watch the video to see how we set up the space and the activities we used here.
All the prayer activity cards we used are available to download here.
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