Reflection Day

How do teachers keep up the pace? 

Yesterday the RE coordinator and I  ran a cross-curricular whole school reflection day at St M’s. I felt like I was walking on Holy Ground, especially as it was not only the children’s spiritual and emotional development we were addressing but also the members of staff and all the ‘helpers’ that came in from the Parish to be part of the day. 

In readiness for the day, every child had drawn round their feet on bright coloured paper which they had decorated.  The evening before (and it took simply ages!) I stuck them to the hall wall to form a trail of footprints.  I am going to use this as a time line for future assemblies.  At the start there is a picture of the world, in the middle a picture of Jesus in the stable and at the end  pictures of the children in school at the moment.

73sk28We began with a whole school  assembly telling the story of Jesus walking on the water.  The children then had great fun acting it out.  We had made a huge boat out of a large box.  Reception class had made cut out fish for it. Peter even had a large rubber ring when he tried to walk on the water!  Beethoven’s storm bit of the pastoral symphony provided the background music.

By the time the children got back to their classes they were familiar with the story.  Each class then did some work on emotions.  How Peter/Jesus/the disciples felt at different parts of the story.  They then produced some wonderful artwork.  Class R and class 1 made boats.  Class 2 made some amazing fish kites.  Class 3 did some weaving to make the sea and class 4 got extremely messy making large pictures of stormy seas using hand paints.  There was also a large batik being made and a large loom with more weaving and felt footprints with beading on.

After lunch we were back in the hall.  I have not really tried Godly play before with such a large group and was not sure it would work but 120 children plus about 20 adults watched completely engaged as we wondered about who accompanied us on the journey.  Back in class the children thought about this some more and then finished their time together ‘praying’.  They wrote their hopes for the future on flower petals and we floated them on water, lit a candle and played the traveller’s song (Keith Duke).  Children don’t get much oportunity for stillness or thinking in their lives.  Perhaps we should do this more often.  The staff that did this in the way I asked expresed surprise at how still and engaged the children were.

We finished the day altogether in the hall looking at each others creations and watching some pictures of friends projected on the wall as we listened to Leonna Lewis sing footprints in the sand.

All this gets followed up on Sunday with a family service in the school hall.  It is good that so many from church were able to some and help as it means they should now be out there in the community encouraging others to come.

I have just had an email today from school, ‘could I do something similar on the first day of Advent?’

HELP!

Protect me, O Lord for my boat is so small

Protect me, O Lord for my boat is so small

My boat is so small and your sea is so wide

Protect me O Lord,

If I’m not careful, I will be like this Seiger Koder picture of Peter nearly drowning and holding on to Jesus with two hands.

I love this work!  What a privilege to have access to the children and to do some deep thinking with them. This is all excellent stuff , but I have worked out that more than half my time is now being spent on school related stuff.  Next week I am in the middle school starting off the admission to communion lessons.  It maybe that this is where God is calling me but last week I did a number of pastoral visits by telephone which is not a good habit to fall into, and a lot of the necessary parish stuff is falling down to the bottom of the to do list. On top of that I promised the vicar I would sort out the healing ministry in the benefice and have suddenly realised that St Luke’s day is only a fortnight away.  If I continue to be last minute.com then people won’t get asked to help and no one will grow.

My dilemma is how to get the balance right.

I will try and remember my camera on Sunday

 It is my day off today!

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