Faith at HomeExplore and enjoy your faith with your kids!
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Godly playSharing the stories of our faith
Tips & ideas
Useful BooksWe have good books on children, spirituality, & faith formation
Godly Play (Vol. 1): How to Lead Godly Play Lessons, by Jerome Berryman. A new overview of this Montessori-based method of faith formation.
The Religious Potential of the Child: Experiencing Scripture and Liturgy With Young Children, by Sofia Cavalletti et al.
Treehaus offers their hard-to-find books on children's spirituality
Other resourcesThe Godly Play Web site of Jerome Berryman (new location)
"Playing the Stories," a newsletter for Godly play teachers. Back issues are available for purchase.
The seasonal parish flyer by Faith at Home, for families with young children.
A Way to Wonder Together
The approach to children's religious education called Godly play is usually offered to children in the context of Sunday or church school. It is also a wonderful way for parents to tell the stories of faith -- Bible stories, baptism, church seasons, and others -- in ways that allow us to enter the stories "as little children" and discover the riches that are waiting there for all of us.
"Godly play" is a term coined by Jerome Berryman to describe an approach to children's spiritual formation that is based on creating a sacred space in which to present the stories of our faith, wonder about them together, and then allow the children open-ended opportunities, usually with art supplies, to engage the story on their own terms.
The stories are told very simply, with simple props, and without interpretation or moral instruction. After a story is presented, the children and the storyteller wonder together about aspects of the story that draw their interest. For instance, with the parable of the Good Shepherd, they might wonder together how the sheep felt as they followed the shepherd. Or whether the sheep have names. Or how it might feel to be inside the sheepfold.
After a time of exploring the story with wondering, the story is put away, the children choose the art supplies they would like to work with, and they spend some time creating whatever they choose, in response to what they feel is most important in the story, or most interesting.
This is play. It is Godly. It is meeting God along with children rather than teaching them what we adults think they ought to know. Our faith stories are very powerful and offer plenty to think about even without our elaboration on what they "mean." Godly play is often deeply satisfying for the adults who engage the stories along with the children. What a gift for parents to bring to our families!
Barbara Laufersweiler is an at-home mom, an Episcopalian, and the creator of Faith at Home, http://www.faith-at-home.com/, a Web site offering help to parents as they explore and enjoy faith with their children. Copyright © 2001 Barbara K. Laufersweiler. All rights reserved.
Independent, creative art
expression for kids:
The heart of Godly play is the telling of a story to children from memory. This can be intimidating to us parents! There are lots of ways to approach storytelling and memorizing a story.
To start with, here's a great article to help parents with Godly play: Ten Godly Play at Home Tips for Parents
Story telling tips from noted Biblical storyteller Dennis Dewey
A story learning technique, from the Network of Biblical Storytellers
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