A DEDICATED space for youngsters to relax, reflect and pray, has opened in Corpus Christi National School, Moyross.
To mark Catholic School Week, local parish priest Fr Tony O’Riordan joined children at the school to open the room with a special Mass.
A former classroom has been converted into a room with beanbags and a knee-high altar for children to reach.
Also expected in future is a water feature, and paintings on the wall to mark the Stations of the Cross.
Over the last few months, Fr Tony has been speaking to students on what they would like to see in a reflective room.
“We have been reflecting on the role of the school - to educate children, and make sure they get ahead in life, and also give them the Catholic heritage. We wanted to give them the experience of being able to pray. I think we wanted to create this room as a way of saying prayer is something you want to do, instead of being forced to do,” he explained.
But as well as a place to pray, Fr Tony said the room is for children who just want to come in, relax, and reflect.
“We will put in little soft speakers, so we can put music here, when there is nothing structured, so people can just drop in, and listen to calming music. We will also get some equipment to help children regulate their emotion,” he said.
Fr Tony added that the room will benefit all children, whatever their needs.
He said: “Some children are very hyper and need things to calm down. Other children are very reserved, and need a bit of stimulation. So we will have a combination of tried and tested devices.”
The walls around the room will also act as a ‘blank canvas’, giving the capacity to recreate scenes from scriptures, in line with whatever the children may be studying.
“It will be an interactive room for re-engaging with the parables,” Fr Tony added.
The altar is low to bring it closer to students, and it is hoped that Mass will be said once a week.
Three children who were the first to try out the room were impressed with it. Patrick O’Brien, 11, said the room is “very nice, and cool”, while Bethany Ranson and Adam Kelly, both 12, also praised it.