After a Bible story is told to the students, the storyteller and children use “wondering questions” to reflect on the story together. Then each child chooses whether to respond to the story with art materials or play.
The most important thing that we teach in a worship-education center is how Christian people live and work together in community. Many parents who have children in the Godly Play program find that their children will begin to retell Bible stories – often in the car on the way home from church. Parents also report that their children “wonder” aloud at various times during the week about the meaning of the Bible stories they heard on Sunday.
The worship-education center holds a variety of art supplies for the children to use as they respond to the stories they hear. Because each child may be wrestling with different existential issues, each student will bring a different perspective and a different response to the Bible stories in class. For this reason, we do not assign crafts or give out “take home” sheets as part of the Godly Play program. At Saint Mark’s, we send home a weekly bookmark with the name of the Bible story and a Scripture reference. This bookmark will help you know what is happening in the class.
Existential issues are simply issues that have always bothered people. Aloneness, what to do with freedom, fear of death, and the search for the meaning in life are four of the existential issues that even young children wonder about.
By Kathleen Capcara, accredited Godly Play trainer
Tell stories at home.
Respect your children as people on their own distinct spiritual journeys.
Avoid asking your children, “What did you learn in Sunday school this week?”
Respect the sacred space of the Godly Play classroom.
Bring your children to Godly Play as regularly as you can manage.
Bring your children to class on time.
Godly Play is a unique method of religious instruction that allows for a great deal of self-discovery by both the children and the teachers. The over-arching goal of Godly Play is to teach children how to “come close to God all by myself.” The co-teachers in each room provide guidance, models of adults who deeply love the stories and the God who is present therein, and co-travelers on the lifelong journey of faith to which we invite each child.