At St John Vinanney we always strive to provide quality experiences of prayer and liturgy that support pupils’ spiritual development. These communal acts of prayer and the liturgical celebrations of the Church form part of everyday life in our school.
Every child is given the opportunity to pray by giving praise and thanks to God using traditional prayers of the Catholic Church and many other sources of prayer that enable this to take place. We encourage the children to nurture a relationship with God through words, symbols, song, gestures and silence.
Prayer is such an integral part of school life that it can never be confined to ‘timetabled’ slots but may take place in a variety of contexts other than those specifically structured.
Have a look at the photos below to see the variety of prayer in our school.
Central to our prayer life in St John Vianney is Child Led Collective Worship.
Children prepare reflective sessions themselves and are happy and confident to share this with their peers.
Whole School Collective Worship
What does Collective Worship look like in our school?
Acts of worship may take place at any time during the day. It may take the form of a single act of worship with the whole school community or separate acts of worship in school/class groups. Collective Worship in our school is an integral part of our ethos, aims and relationships, as Christian values permeate all aspects of school life and all relationships. It is a way of deepening our relationship with God together and individually.
Before COVID-19, the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher were key leaders in planning, preparing and delivering Collective Worship at St John Vianney.
Since COVID-19, we have adapted our delivery of Collective Worship. To ensure that all bubbles in school experience Collective Worship weekly, many different members of staff have led their year group bubble or class bubble in prayer and worship. This includes the Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher, School Chaplain, RE Co-ordinator, Senior Leaders and teachers. It has been a whole school effort to ensure that Collective Worship remains a fundamental part of school life.
This pandemic is causing us to work in new and creative ways, inspiring us to deliver Collective Worship using video and voice over too!
Have a look below at some differentiated examples of Collective Worship:
Parent's are invited to join their children in class led Collective Worship.
The Eucharist is the core of our Catholic life and therefore is celebrated regularly as a whole school and with the extended community. Children in a variety of ways: praying, reading and singing. The opportunity to celebrate Mass with our parishioners, in our church, helps to further the children’s understanding of the richness of the Eucharist.
The school is blessed in having very supportive parish priest, Father Martin. Father Martin is in school regularly helping our children to experience what it means to belong to, or take part in the worshipping community of the Church. The children are fortunate to be able to experience the richness of the liturgical life of the church in many ways throughout the year such as the Stations of the Cross during Lent, the celebration of the sacrament of Reconciliation, regular Masses and a Nativities at Christmas.
He welcomes children to become altar servers and delivers training so that they are competent in their role in the Mass.
Lenten Prayer Stations
Our children have marked the events of Holy Week with different Lenten prayer stations around our school.To help us to prepare for Holy Week every child from Nursery to Year 6 has taken part in our Lent Prayer Trail. With the help of an adult guiding them through each station, even the very young children in our school community are able to experience God's goodness through their senses e.g. the feeling of sand or a blanket, the smell of bread, the coolness of a marble.
Statements to live by
The school gather in key stages weekly to listen and act upon a weekly statement to live by. Pupils participate in the assembly by reading the statement and thinking of ways they can follow it.
The resource is rooted in nine guiding principles which support the distinctive nature of Catholic schools. The statements make the Catholic values of the school explicit, promote a positive and caring Christian ethos that is understood and communicated to everyone, promote emotional literacy and contribute towards community cohesion and the common good. They ensure that children and young people are given opportunities to:
- Hear the Christian story and encounter the person of Jesus
- Understand their uniqueness as made in the image and likeness of God
- Experience a sense of belonging within a range of communities, including the local Eucharistic community
- Know, appreciate and understand the importance of social justice
- Know that our limitations are also opportunities for growth
- Understand the connection between knowledge and living
- Know that everything has the opportunity to reveal God’s presence to us, ie to see the divine in the ordinary
- Forgive and be forgiven, to reconcile and be reconciled
- Experience fun, humour, imagination, creativity, play and excitement in life
Each week a different statement such as ‘I try to be just and fair’ is displayed in every classroom and around the school, and introduced and explained to the children, usually through an assembly. Children are encouraged to think about the statement at the beginning of the school day, it is reinforced throughout the day, explored in collective worship and circle times (written specifically for each statement) and reflected upon before going home. Rewards are often linked to the statements and certificates are presented to those children who have lived the statements well that week.