It’s not always easy to find a location for a prayer space in a busy school, but it’s not impossible. Somewhere in your school, at some time during the school year, there will be space. Perhaps when pupils are away on a trip, or on study leave? Perhaps in a mobile classroom or a hall, in a tent outside, or even in a large cupboard?
Below are a few potential locations, and the pros and cons that you need to consider.
Most prayer spaces take place in classrooms. You will want to transform the room, so check that you’ve got permission to move furniture, cover displays, blackout windows, etc. Take photos of the room beforehand so that you can put everything back where it belongs afterwards.
Pros – Classrooms are easy to find. Pupils can usually visit during break times as well.
Cons – Re-timetabling classrooms can be difficult.
If a classroom isn’t available, you could use a break-out room, or even an unused cupboard. (Honestly, it’s already been done a few times.)
Pros – It can be a cosy space for 3 or 4 pupils. It will only take a couple of team members to host it.
Cons – You’ll be limited to 3 or 4 prayer activities. Pupils will probably only visit for a few minutes.
Some prayer spaces take place in a school hall, using screens or gazebos to break up the large space into different zones.
Pros – Whole classes can fit in easily. Most schools have a hall.
Cons – Halls can be difficult to ‘transform’. It can be difficult to relocate school dinners/PE, etc. Halls are sometimes passageways to other parts of the school.
Some prayer spaces take place outdoors, again using gazebos, tents or even a yurt.
Pros – There are lots of great outdoor-themed prayer activities. Pupils often respond in a more informal way because the prayer space is in a different place.
Cons – The weather can be tricky. Electrical items are difficult to use. Security and safety issues.
Some prayer spaces are set up in a nearby church building, with classes walking to and from it for their lesson-times in the prayer space.
Pros – You don’t have to re-timetable a school classroom. Several schools can visit the prayer space during a week. You have more time to set up and pack down. Recruiting volunteers is often easier.
Cons – It reinforces the idea that prayer belongs in ‘sacred buildings’. It’s off-site, so it may be harder for the whole school community to visit. Re-visiting at break times can be more difficult too.
A local church building can be a good place to host your first prayer space, but if it all possible, host your next one in the school. In our experience, prayer spaces work best in school.