3rd August 2021

Mary Brand, (Class Teacher and RE Lead) and some parents from the school’s prayer group hosted a ‘Prayer and Reflection Space’ outside at Henleaze Infant School in Bristol last week…

It was a brilliant time! We decided to include ‘Reflection’ in the title since many of our pupils are not familiar with prayer. We began each half-hour session with a chat about what the words ‘prayer’ and ‘reflection’ mean, and this was a wonderful opportunity to explain what prayer can be for those with faith. The children were given the option to pray at each activity if they were familiar with praying in their family and explained how they could do that.

The Year 2 teachers had asked for a positive focus, thinking about what has been significant to them during their time at the Infant School. These are the activities we did:

Station 1 – Special people. 

Who is someone who has been special to you whilst you have been at Henleaze Infants? Maybe a friend, family member or teacher. Write their name on the post-it on a wooden brick from the pile and add it to the building. Feel thankful for that person or say a thank you prayer to God for them. See how all the different people build together to make up our school community.

Station 2 – Special times

What special memories do you have of your time at Henleaze Infant School? This could be from Reception, Year 1 or Year 2. Draw a picture or write about it on a hot air balloon. Peg it to our bunting line. Feel thankful for that memory or say a thank you prayer to God for it. Look at all the different happy memories people have!

Station 3 – Be still

Lie down on one of the mats in the tent and turn over the 1-minute timer. You could close your eyes and just listen to all the sounds around you. Can you hear birds, voices, cars, rain or wind in the trees? Feel thankful for the wonderful world we live in or say a thank you prayer to God for making the world.

Station 4 – Moving on

Take a vitamin tablet and drop it into the vase of water. Watch as the bubbles fizz away and imagine any sad feelings you might have disappearing. Feel calm and ready to move on or ask God to help you start afresh.

Station 5 – Hopes and Dreams

Choose a seed to plant in a little pot of soil. Write your name on a lolly stick. Just as seeds grow, so will you, and you have lots of exciting new things to do and learn as you grow. Think about something you hope to be able to do in Year 3 – or maybe when you grow up! You could write it on the other side of the stick, or just pray and ask God to help you to do it.

Two of the Henleaze Schools Prayer Group parents helped to choose the activities. I had 2 parent helpers on the day – one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Children came in groups of 15 and every child visited each activity.

The children engaged beautifully and really enjoyed talking about their special people and memories. They loved watching the bubbles fizz away, and simply being still in the tent – which was named as their favourite by a child who has ADHD.

Our Headteacher was very supportive and complimentary, and the Year 2 staff also received it well. The space we used is a permanent outdoor structure, and the potential of making better use of it was raised – maybe as a reflective space in the playground.