the godly play session
Welcome: Entering the Space
The shepherd sits in a chair outside of the room to help the children to slow down, mentally and physically, and “get ready” to enter the room. The storyteller greets each child warmly by name and invites them to join the circle. The storyteller invites a child to change our Church Year calendar. This helps orient the children in the flow of time not only during the week but for the whole year.
Hearing the Word of God: Story Presentation
When we present a story we are offering it up for interpretation. It allows the children to process the story and wonder about it in association with their experiences with God. Godly Play is not the “transfer model” which concentrates on concepts moving from teacher to the student. To some this approach seems too risky. How can one be sure that children will learn what they are “supposed” to think and feel about Christianity? Godly Play trusts the process that through children learning to come close to God and God coming close to them, they will gain confidence in their discovery of faith and trust.
Wondering in the Circle
At the presentation’s end, the storyteller invites the children to wonder together about the lesson. The storyteller works to maintain a trusting environment in which the children can express their wondering and questions, without fear that they will be wrong. The storyteller allows space for thinking and for the children to inform each other about the story.
Response to the Story
After wondering the storyteller goes around the circle asking each child to choose his or her work in response to the story. Our play is expressed through freedom to choose and engage in our own creativity. Response time includes, but not limited to: art, reading, playing with stories or other materials.
After the children put away their response work, they are asked to join the circle for the Feast. Children are invited to say prayers if they wish, whether silently or aloud. The last prayer is said by the storyteller.
The feast is a good time to relax together and talk freely. Sometimes the children have more questions about the story or about life.
The shepherd stands at the door to greet parents and calls each child by name to say goodbye to the storyteller. The storyteller and shepherd say goodbye quietly and bless each child. Saying goodbye, and giving a blessing, is a special time to stop and acknowledge the children as they leave, so they know we value them and that they are important in this community.