I love Lent. Not just because it's the leads up the most important event in our Church calendar but because it's a wonderful time of year for reaffirming what it means to be a good Christian, or more simply a good person. The children really shine at this time of year eager to share with their friends all of the effort they make at doing good for others.
Our prayer table at Lent is usually quite full, this can be a challenge because the actual table is quite small.
This is how we set it up for the first week. Eventually our basket of bible stories will have to move to make was for everything else that's added. But in the meantime....
The heart represents God's heart. Our goal as a class is to fill it with love and we do this by doing good deeds for other (much like filling someone's bucket) The children are all sent home with a page of hearts and a note explaining to their parents that we are filling God's heart with love. When a child does a good deed at home their parent can write it on a heart and send it back to school. That child then gets to share with the class what he or she did and then places the heart inside the big felt one.
We also have a basket of hearts on the table for us to give to the children when we 'catch them' being kind and for them to give to one another should someone do something kinds for them. This is especially great for writing because the kids are encouraged to write on the hearts they give to their friends and because so many of them are eager to give hearts - a lot of writing happens!
By the time Easter rolls around that felt heart is usually overflowing.
Beside the hearts you can see colourful jars. Those are our jelly beans. During Lent we say the Jelly Bean Lent prayer along with our school prayer in the morning. Each jar has a different coloured jelly
bean in it with corresponding verse on the label. The children especially enjoy sharing these jelly beans during our "Alleluia" party after Easter.
Below is a copy of the Jelly Bean Lent prayer. I'd love to give credit to the person who wrote it but I've never been able to find out who did. If you know, feel free to comment and let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.
What you don't see in the picture is the small jars of oil and water, and a candle that we add throughout the weeks of Lent. Each week as we add these items we sing a verse from a song "Take A Walk to Easter" It's a great rewrite of "Take A Walk to Christmas" from the In God's Image CD. Each verse corresponds with a week of Lent so that by Holy Thursday we are singing the whole song.
After Easter weekend, we keep these things on our prayer table to for the entire 50 days of Easter. However, we also add to it a banner that says Alleluia (that the children make!) and a plant.
All in all this is most definitely one of my favorite centres in the class.