It has been an exhilarating two days, full of promise, encouragement and expectation, as well as the change of pace that you have to move into when you realise that 30 children require your soul! It is good to feel and see the deepening unity that we have as a staff, the willingness to encourage each other and the absolute commitment to hard work that is taken as a given by virtually everyone here. Leaders have different perspectives from those they lead, of course, but still, it feels wholesome and strong. To see Year 6 turn out as Victorian children, and adapt to a wholly different educational culture was very interesting. Some made the transition as though they had been waiting their whole lives for such an opportunity. Others just felt queasy! The teachers, acting in role for the whole day, just felt exhausted, but it was done with great skill and the children learnt masses.
Over the last three and a half weeks of the Autumn Term, the chaplaincy team converted our prayer room (“Soul Space”) into a stable and invited children to come in and explore the meaning of Advent with the help of some questions, activities and displays. Every child was invited, and nearly all responded. A visitors’ book was kept for the children to respond in, and this morning, with Years 1-3 at their Collective Worship, we lit candles in the hall, sang some quiet songs and shared some of the wonderful comments (and some of the funny ones) that children had written in the book. Here’s a sample, then some photos of the prayer space we used:
- I feel this room is full of peace, quiet, hope and joy. It’s really quiet and nice smelling (!). I really like Soul Space. It’s my favouorite place to be.
- It is nice and peaceful. You have to stay quiet to have peace.
- It’s very peaceful. We’d like to visit again.
- I feel I’m under the stars. I’m in the stable with hope and peace. It is very peaceful. It is heaven.
- I think Soul Space is a very important place, for people who wish to pray and have a magical time, here in Soul Space. I also think it is beautiful and it has lovely decoration.
- I love the way it is decorated. It looks like a real stable where Jesus is born on Christmas day. I love the activities and spending time together and to spend time thinking about Jesus’ birth.
- I am excited to come here. I am excited to meet the king!
- I like it here and I would like to visit again, to have a lovely day again to do the stuff I done today!
- This place is very good because it reminds me of being born. It was very fun because we made crowns and little angels. I can’t wait for Jesus’ birth and 19 days till Christmas!
- I think that the Soul Space is an amazing place to express your feelings about God and about the birth of Jesus Christ.
- I feel this room bring back memories from the past and makes me think of what is to come.
- It’s very calm and peaceful and beautiful. I like the candles and lights. The displays are wonderful.
- I feel at peace when I am in Soul Space and I feel very precious because I know that God loves me.
- I felt that the soul space was very calm and it was a time for you to think over your feelings.
- I like the atmosphere and the smell of hay and the interactivities which include me!
- It is very peaceful and calm and I feel included.
- I like everything that brings peace, most importantly the candles.