In addition to nursery, toddler, and Youth Group, we have 2 Godly Play rooms. Our Godly Play Sunday school is all about stories. The teachers use beautifully crafted figurines to teach our children the stories of the Bible.
The goal of Godly Play is to enable children to use sacred story, parable, liturgical action, and silence to become more aware of the mystery of God’s presence in their lives and in the community of children gathered for worship.
Every Sunday the biblical story is followed by a time of reflection when the worshipping community of children and teachers engage in open, shared dialogue about the story with one another, guided by the storyteller. There are “wondering questions put to children. Some examples of these are:
- I wonder what you like best about this story?
- I wonder what is the most important part of the story?
- I wonder who you are in the story?
Such questions are always open-ended and allow children to participate in the reflective process without fear of right or wrong answers. Wondering together is the community’s way of remaining open to the Holy Spirit and allowing the story to become part of our lives. This time of wondering shapes and deepens our knowledge of God and what God expects of us.
This time of reflection is followed by a time of active response. Children choose from a variety of good quality art materials such as watercolors, clay, tempura paints, felt, shells, wood, markers or colored pencils. They create their own responses to the lesson. Some children prefer to hear another story or will take down a story from the shelves and work with it on their own. The teachers’ primary concern is that work is a result of the child’s own creativity.
Following their work time the children return to the circle on the floor. We pray together and then go to the sanctuary for our communion feast. Children leave the circle one at a time so the storyteller has the opportunity to share personal words of affirmation and blessing. Godly Play supports children as they find their own place in the Great Story and discover their unique identity as a child of God.
This method was developed by the Rev. Dr. Jerome Berryman, a Montessori teacher and priest, and is used by churches of many denominations throughout the US and many other countries.