Children's Program - Godly Play
What is Godly Play?
Godly Play is a multi-age curriculum that is used in many Episcopal parishes, and in other denominations as well. It is an imaginative approach to presenting scripture stories and liturgical actions to children.
In an age where children increasingly engage the world through "screentime" and fast-paced technology, Godly Play slows things down, calms things down, and gives children time to think and reflect.
We believe children already have an experience of God, so the aim of Godly Play is to give them language to help them relate that experience of God to the rest of their lives. It offers religious education in a calm, respectful manner using Montessori principles.
What Happens In a Godly Play Class?
At the Threshold: A greeter waits by the door to the Godly Play classroom, warmly welcoming each child individually as he or she arrives.
Building the Circle: Children make their way into the room and sit in a circle around the storyteller. She/he talks quietly with the children, building a community where each participant is recognized and welcomed.
Presenting the Lesson: When everyone is ready, the storyteller goes to get the story materials and brings them to the circle. Slowly, deliberately, the story teller brings out the story figures and objects, methodically moving and arranging them as she tells the story. The children’s eyes focus on the story's figures, plaques and props as the story unfolds in an unhurried manner.
The story concludes, and the storyteller sits back and asks some open-ended questions to encourage the children to reflect on the story. "I wonder what part of the story you liked best?" "I wonder what is the most important part of this story?" "I wonder what part of this story might be about you?" Sometimes the children have a lot to say, and sometimes they are thinking it through inside.
Response: The storyteller invites each child to choose the work they would like to do in response to the lesson. Some children play with story materials, some choose to create with arts and crafts, and older children may wish to find more information about the story in the Bible.
Saying Goodbye: When it's time, the children put their art supplies and story materials away, and then re-form the circle. The storyteller lights the Christ candle to remind the children about the presence of God in each of our lives. They say a prayer (either aloud or silently) and then each child receives a blessing from the storyteller. The storyteller and doorkeeper accompany the children to the “big church” - timing our arrival so that the children can participate in the Holy Eucharist with the rest of the congregation.
For more information:
Godly Play Foundation