The Mornings of Reflection are run for those aged 14-18 (Years 10 to 13) in the main school as a way of giving them some time within the School timetable to reflect on their lives and journeys of faith. They are compulsory, so there are differing expectations from students who attend.
We do not offer a specific Morning of Reflection to 13 year olds (Year 9), but the chaplaincy at Worth plays a full part in the ‘living together’ morning they have, which is run by the pastoral team and focusses specifically on Benedictine values. All of Year 9 also attends a Christian Living class once a week with me, where I engage and instruct them in what living a Christian, Catholic and Benedictine life means.
The other themes for the different Year Groups are: Confirmation for Year 10, ‘Who am I?’ for Year 11, ‘Being on a faith journey’ for Year 12 and ‘Identity and faith – moving on to university’ for Year 13.
This pattern of the Mornings of Reflection has evolved over a number of years here at the School and has been found to work well and to be appreciated by students. It makes time for: input/silence/prayer/reflection. The students are in home clothes to mark a difference in style for the day, so that they are relaxed and feel that it is their day for talking about what’s important to them. When we ask them what they appreciated most about the day, often the time for silence comes out top – this is because I think it contrasts so much with their normal days.
The biggest challenge is to stimulate real engagement with students and I think this style of morning offers a range of activities and experiences where this can happen – hopefully something will ‘speak’ to them. From this perspective it is important to see it as a time when seeds can be planted.
At present we are reformulating the Year 10 morning, so that it provides a good introduction to the Confirmation programme, and it will be followed up by four other half-hour sessions next term. Religious and spiritual input to young people has to be carefully balanced so that it does not come across as heavy handed or too imposing; instead it has to be presented as relevant and engaging in itself. At the moment the chaplaincy here at Worth School feels it has that balance about right.