On Wednesday 9th March 2022, the National Literacy Agency welcomed the Spiritual Development in Schools team to deliver a training session about prayer spaces to the Heads of the Department for Literacy and other NLA personnel.

Fr Reuben Gauci commenced the session by introducing the SDS team and its role in supporting, providing and accompanying educators and students in schools with spiritual activities. The participants then introduced themselves and their roles as Heads of Departments (HODs) for Literacy in various Colleges.

Pastoral workers Silvana, Kathleen and Svetlana then invited and led the participants to roam around the three different rooms set up with activities to explore Prayer Spaces.


After experiencing prayer spaces for themselves, Silvana invited participants to use the prayer spaces experience as a prompt to write on their journal and also to share some of their writings.

Small-Group discussions

Then it was time for participants to be divided into groups for small group conversations. After some allocated time to discuss the set of questions provided, the HOD’s shared about how they felt while doing prayer spaces, what struck them most, and how prayer spaces could be beneficial in their personal life, for others within the National Literacy Agency and within their assigned Colleges.

  • Peaceful, thoughts pop out, thoughts that are at the back of your mind and yet we have no time to reflect on them.
  • To come to terms with your thoughts, and feelings, move away from the fast life.
  • It can help everyone become a better person, by promoting self-reflection, gives time to everyone to appreciate the things around them we take for granted.
  • The activities are varied and give one the opportunity to make use of the senses and reflect.
  • At first, it was difficult to stop and concentrate but once you start reflecting, it comes natural. The need to be just on your own for some time.
  • There is a direct link with literacy skills as literacy (writing and reading) are means of communicating. Communication not with others but also with the self.
  • The background music was relaxing and helped me reflect even more.
  • The activities had various aims. First, they work on oneself, but then they help you to think about others. We realized how every one of us affects those around us and vice-versa.
  • This could be a team-building activity

How Prayer Spaces Developed in Malta

Fr Reuben proceeded with a presentation of how prayer spaces in schools developed in Malta throughout the past nine years and also about the SDS website, its useful resources related to prayer spaces and other spiritual activities/sessions prepared specifically for educators and students.

Silvana shared how prayer spaces help children to develop literacy skills in a safe environment. She showed instances when prayer spaces were incorporated in NLA programmes such as during Intergenerational Writing Clubs, Family Writing Activities in Malta and Gozo and also during virtual activities for children and guardians.

Prayer Spaces and Spiritual Literacy

Mr Phil Togwell Director, Prayer Spaces UK, connected with us on MS Teams to talk about ‘Prayer Spaces and Spiritual Literacy.’ His contribution was an inspiration for all. At the end of his presentation, he gave a couple of questions to ponder upon. Participants wrote their responses and other feedback on exit notes.

  • Prayer Spaces make a lot of sense! It digs into one’s soul. It helps us understand that we are all wonderful beings. It brings hope for new beginnings and it helps you appreciate more what you already have.
  • I should do this more often. It releases tension but mostly it helps with dealing with decision making. This in turn leaves a positive effect on others.
  • I feel so many emotions. Those children’s messages on post-it notes looked like they have been written by adults. So deep. I think we take so many things for granted regarding young people and yet they can teach us too.
  • I have realized that stopping to reflect in silence has lightened the burden of guilt. (through the symbolic forgiveness space)
  • The way that such simple activities affect each person in a personal manner is inspiring and impressive.
  • This session ties in well with Symbol Literacy and with the idea of we, as humans need the same things. I think that this is what education should be about. A very valuable morning. Thank you.
  • It deserves a space within our curriculum.
  • The session, especially the practical part at the beginning and slides of the activities that were shared was interesting and with some thought could easily be integrated into a literacy session. The presentation gave us an in-depth understanding of why sessions are important and how they could be used.
  • Sometimes we wonder what we can do to support others and this might be the answer to that.
  • All children should have the opportunity to experience a safe place where they can think, pray, and reflect… a place where they can ask questions, which would otherwise remain unanswered. Keep up the good work!
  • Thanks for the range of activities. They encouraged my personal reflection on certain issues.
  • Thank you for this experience. You have given me an opportunity that I would gladly share with the schools in my College. A very good opportunity to integrate literacy with spirituality – helping pupils express themselves and share or perhaps reflect on themselves and their actions with the world around them.

Spiritual Development in Schools would like to thank Mr David Muscat CEO, National Literacy Agency, for hosting us, the Head of Departments for Literacy for their active participation throughout the session and Mr Phil Togwell Director, Prayer Spaces UK for his contribution via MS Teams. Thanks be to God for the fruitful time spent together in sharing experiences, ideas, prayer reflections and also in planning our way forward to continue helping children and young people in schools and in programmes offered by the National Literacy Agency.