Projects: Spirituality Days in primary schools

IACS member Ruth Wills is currently developing the work of ‘Spirituality days’ in Primary schools.

Although an acknowledged aspect of a school's community life and curriculum, 'spirituality' is a phenomenon which is not easily explained or identified. Ruth believes that it relates to and contributes to the well-being of children and communities, is involved in personal growth, consideration of global and ethical issues, questions about life and in some cases about 'God.'

All aspects of the school curriculum provide opportunities for spiritual experiences. On a typical 'Spirituality day' the children (of any age group) will take part in activities which relate to personal and global issues, will have a time for silence and reflection, will connect imagination to creativity through music, art, drama and creative writing and will be given the opportunity to talk about how the experiences have affected their own personal lives.

Here is a brief report written about a series of mornings led by Ruth in January - March 2009.

Spirituality mornings in Greater Manchester

This term, Ruth Wills led a series of 'Spirituality mornings' with 33 year three children in a school in Greater Manchester. The population of the school is multi-cultural and largely represents children from a Muslim background.

The aim of the mornings was for the children to explore global issues and personal responses to them though music, art and drama sessions. The overall theme of the six mornings was 'Water' and many aspects of spirituality were touched through the activities.

Spirituality days: musicThrough music, the children explored the 'awe and wonder' of a waterfall, a still pool and a gently flowing stream as they composed music to represent each one. Through sound painting they also considered the power of God in their imaginations as they composed music to accompany the stories of Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, and Jesus calming the storm.

Spirituality days: artThrough Art the children used their creativity to make representations of storms, waterfalls and rivers using paints, sand, combs, canvasses, glue, their fingers and glitter.

Spirituality days: dramaThrough drama, the children engaged in 'empathy' acting with a child who, living in Africa spends each day walking to a pump to collect clean water for his family. They also considered their own personal and collective responses to world poverty through a session called 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and through drama explored ways in which their actions here can benefit and affect others globally.

The children were finally given the opportunity to talk about what they had learnt through pictures and writing. Here are some of the responses.

  • Two pictures of the world were drawn, one with the words 'Africa doesn't have clean water' written on the shape of the continent of Africa.
  • God made everything. He made the waves separate when the flood came. God is kind and always will be.
  • I have learned you can recycle, reuse and reduce things. You can even save water for later, just don't throw it down the sink.
  • God made water and he cares about everyone in the world.
  • God is everywhere no matter if you are split up from others. I am important, no matter what religion you are or what you believe.
  • God made a planet for us to live on. God cares for people who have no water or money. Manchester has more clean water than Africa.
  • I learnt I can communicate with more children. If others share ideas you can make a good play in drama.
  • God made the world. God lives in the sky. Nobody can see him. God helps us.

The six sessions were very popular with the children and the school are looking to extend the programme to other year groups.

For more information or bookings please contact Ruth at ruth_bolton@hotmail.co.uk.

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