Christian Formation is provided for children age 3 through grade 6 through Godly Play. Godly Play respects the innate spirituality of children and encourages curiosity and imagination in experiencing the mystery and joy of God.
What is Godly Play?
Godly Play teaches children the art of using Christian language – parable, sacred story, silence and liturgical action – helping them become more fully aware of the mystery of God’s presence in their lives.This approach is quite different from the traditional model in which the teacher tells the children what they need to know. When Christian language is learned by the Godly Play approach, it is learned as a means to know God and to make meaning of our lives. Godly Play is not about things that are that simple. It is not just about learning lessons or keeping children entertained. It is about locating each lesson in the whole system of Christian language and involving the creative process to discover the depths of meaning in them. It’s about understanding how each of the stories of God’s people connects with the child’s own experience and relationship with God.
The goal of Godly Play is to show how to be open to God. To achieve this goal is to help children become deeply rooted as Christians and yet at the same time use this powerful language and community to be creative. Godly Play is a creative and imaginative approach to Christian nurture. It is is based on long established, tried and tested approaches.Godly Play encourages children to make meaning for themselves by inviting them into stories and providing the opportunity for them to connect the stories with their personal experience–in a non-coercive way that encourages children to move into larger dimensions of belief and faith through wondering questions and open-ended response time. Godly Play values process, openness and discovery.
Godly Play is a way of preparing children to join in the worship and life of their congregations as they develop a deeper understanding of stories, symbols and rites. We tell Bible stories to children to encourage them to enter into the stories and relate them to their personal experience. Godly Play is concerned with the spiritual development of each child as an individual and with modeling the appropriate moral behaviors expected of people living within a Christian community.
In Godly Play, each class session follows the pattern of the church’s Sunday Service, so children will have a deeper understanding and enjoy fuller participation in the parish worship. Godly Play was developed and classroom tested for more than twenty years by Episcopal priest, author, and teacher Jerome Berryman. The Godly Play method is currently being used in churches of many denominations throughout the world.
For further information, there are some delightful videos of Godly Play sessions on YouTube – just search “Godly Play” from the YouTube site.