During the month of October, I had the opportunity to attend a mini training session for Godly Play, "a non-coercive way to encourage children to move into larger dimensions of belief and faith, through "wondering questions" and open-ended response time."
It was a day full of storytelling, art, and wonder. It has been said that to truly learn about Godly Play, you must experience it. How true!
Throughout the day, the trainer told us many stories.. The story of Advent was especially beautiful and moving.
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."
The storyteller is emphatically not an actor or entertainer, but really listens to what God may be revealing to her too as the story unfolds and as the children respond. Usually there is little eye contact. The storyteller is not the focus; instead the unfolding story or religious message is the focus. The teacher creates a sacred space but then 'gets out of the way' to allow the children to meet God directly. This is wonderfully powerful, and has to be seen to be believed - it turns ordinary teaching and storytelling techniques on their head and creates a compelling contemplative level of attention in even the youngest of children.
A key element in the Storyteller's role is to lead the 'wondering' period in response to the story or presentation. Key wondering questions are:
I wonder what you like best about this story
I wonder which is the most important part?
I wonder where you are in this story?
I wonder if there is any part we could leave out, and still have all the story we need?
After the story, the children are given time for an art "repsonse". Children engaged in art or craft work are not directed 'what to do' either. The adults in fact are very cautious about interrupting or pre-judging the children's work. The emphasis is on inviting the children to comment on what they have done and find their own words for what is meaningful or of value, rather than teacher commentary.
This was a wonderful "peek" into what goes on in our Godly Play classrooms. Special thanks, especially, to Miss Ellyn and Miss Kathleen for bringing such life to this program at Trinity!Gdo
Hello, Trinity Families!
I hope you are all enjoying the beginning of this beautiful Autumn season. It is with great excitement that I join the Trinity staff as your new director of youth education. Day by day, I am learning more about the space, the programs, and most importantly, the children of Trinity. One of the many things that originally drew me to Trinity was the warm and honest welcome the parish and clergy extend to children of all ages. I still think of the woman sitting in front of us during our very first service...my son, then 18 months old and increasingly talkative, was becoming restless. This woman turned around and exclaimed, "Oh, don't feel like he has to be so quiet! He's more than welcome here!" ...I knew we had entered a space and parish which was understanding of children; through all of their ups and downs. (although I'd never let my son scream through a service, haha!)
It is my hope that this program will continue to offer guidance to our children in a manner which is respectful to their development, needs, and interests. I intend to utilize this blog as an informal way of giving you a "peek" into what is happening on Sundays; way, way downstairs:) Look for updates weekly!
Of course, if you should ever have questions, concerns, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.