By: Brett Wood - St. Brigid's Catholic School - 0403277896
Prayer is an important part of our lives in a Catholic school. As we model the values of Jesus teachings to our students. Therefore it is vital that we model to our students the part that prayer can play in their lives. The rich spirituality that it can add to their relationship with God. One of the most important things to remember in leading children in prayer is that they are generally closely observant of how authentic we are in the prayer process. Obviously it is important as educators that we respect the different faiths that our students come to our classroom with.
As Drasko Dizdar explains: "Prayer simply is our relationship with God becoming conscious, deliberate and concrete. It is more a way that f being than something we do." For many of our students this will be a difficult concept to grasp. Traditionally in classrooms we stop and have prayer time. Often this is a result of the busyness of our schools. I feel it is important for our students time to just be. In my own classroom I have been working around a Calm Classrooms model in which students take time out to do activities which are calming for them. The use of guided meditations, mandalas, creating prayer and peace gardens in Minecraft. Many of these activities have allowed the students to connect with their calmer selves. I feel this is an important skill for our students to have to be able to more fully engage with prayer.
Nature gives educators an ideal opportunity for students to connect with God. We are lucky to have a school which has excellent grounds with many areas where we can reflect with our students about their place within the world. At St. Brigid's we obviously have a big focus on her life. St. Brigid was a woman of the land who helped the poor and gave away her riches to this end. "Brigid, in keeping with her Celtic traditions, was wonderfully attuned to the seasons and cycles of nature. She valued the elements of nature: earth." Our school celebrates Aussie St. Brigid's Day on the first day of spring, the 1st September. Brigid is seen as a woman of peace, contemplation, equality and compassion. For our students she is a woman who demonstrates a level of faith which is able to inspire them.
As stated on our sessions notes: prayer is "an encounter with the mystery of God and we are invited into relationship with God through this encounter." Ideally our students need to be allowed to have their own relationship with God in their own level of faith. As a educator I feel that I need to ensure that my students have the opportunity to explore this relationship with God by "allowing our lives to be graced by the Spirit."
"We all know that it is not possible to sustain the present level of consumption in developed countries and wealthier countries and wealthier sectors of society, where the habit of wasting and discarding has reached unprecedented levels." Laudato Si
As humans we have a connection to our land and we need to make a commitment to meet the challenges we now face to respect the land and understand the value it holds to us and our future existence.
Our abundant water world supplies are now running low. Wetlands help us to learn about the importance of water.
Our indigenous culture has demonstrated to us their respect of thei land. There are lessons that we can learn from our indigenous population are ones which will help us to maintain our environment.
The Kaura people of the Adelaide Plains lived with and respect water. Over the years our culture has eroded the waterways and change their course. This is symbolic of the ways we have impacted on the indigenous culture.
I was amazed by the amount of animals life that was attracted to the wetlands. As stated on the sign near the wetlands: "there is more life in a healthy wetland than in almost any other habitat.
In Laudato Si Pope Francis addressed to "every person living on this planet" for an inclusive dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. Pope Francis calls the Church and the world to acknowledge the urgency of our environmental challenges and to join him in embarking on a new path. This encyclical is written with both hope and resolve, looking to our common future with candor and humility.
God of Creation, help us to respect and renew the Earth.
Wonder - the emotion excited by what is strange and surprising; a feeling of surprised or puzzled interest, sometimes tinged with admiration.
May we live more wisely within our overlapping ecosystems. May we cherish anew the wonder of clean water and fresh winds. May we more wisely tend and respect the animals and plants that nourish us. May the sacred awe and wonder of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens guide us into new paths of hope.
As stated in the On Holy Ground documents - "This vision requires that all Church communities respond to the ecological challenges before us. Future generations have a right to live fully and express their humanity within a sustainable and ecologically diverse environment. Therefore we, together with all the people of planet Earth, have a responsibility to take seriously our call to care for life, a life gifted by God."
This video is very symbolic of the relationship between us and nature.
The awe and wonder of nature often surprises me personally. As one of the participants in the course stated about how insignificant one can feel within nature. Unfortunately though we as so significant as we hold its future in the palm of our hand. Our behaviour and interactions with nature are critical to its ongoing sustainability.
The flow of water is very symbolic and reflects how life continuously flows at an pace which often we can not control. Having just completed some work around Positive Education. The idea of flow is a central part of this.
"Look in mercy on your people living in dry lands, and struggling to survive without access to safe drinking water"
Plants have helped humans throughout time. While today we live in a world of technological advances the healing nature of plants can not be underestimated in the evolution of humanity.