WHAT IS GODLY PLAY?
Godly Play is a hands-on presentation of the Sacred Stories from the Bible, Gospel Parables and Liturgical stories. It is a method inspired by the Montessori approach to spiritual development and growth for children and young people. Children listen to stories and then respond to them by making art, working with the story or reading about the story.
Godly Play is a creative, innovative and experiential way of helping children (and adults) engage with the stories in the Bible. It offers a way of worshipping with children in an environment where God is not just learned about but experienced too. The aims of Godly Play are:
• To make faith come alive for children
• To assist their spiritual development
• To help faith become part of daily life
• To make the language of faith familiar
Each Godly Play session uses parables, sacred stories, silence, and simple liturgical actions to help children become more fully aware of the mystery of God’s presence in their lives. The story telling is accompanied by simple movement and illustration using two & three
dimensional figures. In each session time is given to allow the children to express their thoughts, feelings, ideas, opinions and gifts in a safe environment. Children are encouraged to respond to the story through ‘I wonder’ style questions and art work. Godly Play is an act of worship which allows children to decide their own responses. Godly Play can be used with smaller and larger groups of children; it is also used in schools hospital and with adults. In smaller churches with flexible furnishings Godly Play could easily be used in a service of worship. The experience of adults with Godly Play is overwhelmingly positive.
Godly Play teaches children (and adults) 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.
When Christian language is learned through the Godly Play approach, it is learned as a means to know God and to make meaning of our lives. This approach is quite different from the traditional model in which the teacher tells the children what they need or ought to know. Godly Play is not about things that are that simple. It is not just about learning lessons or keeping children entertained. It’s about understanding how each of the stories of God’s people connects with the child’s own experience and developing relationship with God. Godly Play respects the innate spirituality of children and encourages curiosity and imagination in experiencing the mystery and joy of God.
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.