We have now been doing Godly Play for over a year at Christ the Good Shepherd and for me it has been a truly moving experience to see how much the children (and even the adults!) are gaining from this experience. Recently I was the Godly Play storyteller and during reflection time I watched two of the youngest kids telling the baptismal story together, with both of them taking turns to put the mark of the cross on the baby doll’s head.
Then, during the feast I asked the children if there was anything else that they would like for reflection time and the older kids requested a prayer journal for the classroom so people can write down anonymous prayers to be prayed on by the Godly Play class the next time we meet, or for Pastor Manda. They also asked for blank cards so they could make or write cards for people.
Through Godly Play I have come to understand and see that the styles of learning vary as much as creative gifts do. Some people learn most effectively when they see information written down, others when they hear it, and then some people are kinetic - they need to move their bodies to learn. Some people need all three. Some learn most effectively by working in small groups others by concentrating on their own. There is no one proper way to learn, there are only individual styles of learning. Godly play respects those differences.
In our Godly Play Sunday program for children ages 5 to adults, we tell stories with multi-sensory materials to appeal to a broad range of learning styles: Auditory, visual and kinetic.
We give the child time and space to calm down before entering the room. We ask them if they are “ready for the story.”
A story is spoken aloud with handmade figures representing what is happening in the story and the Storyteller moves the materials around during the story.
Then, in the reflection time those children who work best together can pair off or form groups to work on creative projects. Others who work best alone have the time and space to concentrate on projects by themselves.
We gather the children in a circle for the storytelling and then again at the end for feast and prayer because they thereby learn about being in community and working together. During feast the children and storyteller pray together, either silently or aloud, and then share a small snack and reflect on the morning’s story.
Each child is given an individual blessing before they return to their parents.
Godly Play is held on the 2nd and 4th Sunday in the library located in the back of the Great Hall from 10:00 am to 11:15 am (until church is over).
Everything we do in Godly Play contributes to learning. If you would like to learn more about Godly Play and how to be a part of this amazing learning experience please talk to anyone on the Education Committee or to Sophia Jobe.
We also hope you can make it to a special training that will be held at Christ the Good Shepherd on Saturday, April 7th, 2018, 9am to noon.