Introducing Godly Play
In the Diocese of Chichester
What is Godly Play? A discovery method of teaching and learning A method that is focused on the needs of the whole child – body, mind and spirit A multi-sensory approach that integrates the two primary gateways to knowing for young children language (the verbal system) and play (the nonverbal system) An approach that encourages a calm, quiet and deliberate way of working
Godly Play aims to: Provide
a safe space in which children can encounter and engage with stories from the Judaeo-Christian tradition Help children make connections between these stories and their own experience Support spiritual development Make the language of religion familiar
Godly Play has been influenced and informed by: The
Montessori tradition of education Sofia Cavalletti’s work on the religious formation of the child The work of Jerome Berryman over more than 30 years A worldwide network of Godly Play practitioners who have supported and informed Berryman’s research
What can Godly Play offer? It includes the four processes of: Creating
sacred space Building and working in community Learning religious language Using religious language to make meaning
Creating sacred space The
space is designed to focus the child’s visual attention on images and ideas which are at the heart of the Christian understanding of God The care with which the space is set up and maintained teaches about the value of what goes on there
Building and working in community The
participants gather together in expectation and anticipation The setting aside of a special time for Godly Play helps us to prepare to come close to God The time allowed for ‘collective response’ makes it possible for participants to learn from each other
Learning religious language Well-tested
scripts help to convey the essence of each story presentation Silence and gesture are treated as powerful aspects of the language of the story The story scripts are learnt by heart by the story teller; the importance of key phrases and ‘refrains’ helps the listener make connections
Using religious language to make meaning The
story teller invites the listeners to ‘wonder’ about what they have heard All contributions are accepted as equally valuable There is no attempt to reach a particular teaching point or explain what the story ‘really means’
The heart of Godly Play is that it does not depend on knowledge but on a personal response and spiritual engagement with God’s word within a supportive, safe community of friends.
Godly Play Presentations Sacred Stories – the stories of God’s people within which we invite the children themselves to become part of the story
Parables – to stimulate our sense of creativity, help us question our view of everyday life
Liturgical Actions – a chance for children to learn and practise the language of liturgy
Creation The Flood and the Ark The Great Family The Exodus The Ten Best Ways
The Good Shepherd The Good Samaritan The Great Pearl The Sower The Leaven The Mustard Seed
The Circle of the Church Year Advent 1 to 4 Epiphany Holy Baptism The Mystery of Easter The Good Shepherd and World Communion
Godly Play in the Church Primary School and in the Parish Church
children to understand more about the Church of England by learning religious language and modelling each session on the Eucharist .
(meeting and greeting)
of the word ( listening to and responding to a Bible story)
(sharing food and drink)
and Dismissal (saying goodbye)
Making a start with Godly Play some principles: Slow down the pace
Use attractive, well-made materials to help tell the story.
the materials as you tell the story
Use open questions to encourage the children to reflect on the story and its meaning for them
Enable the children to respond in their own way to the story
Give the children time and space to make the story their own
Bring the community together again at the end of the session – to share experiences and even food!
In most religious education children are told who God is. In Godly Play children discover who God is.
If you would like to know more .. Visit For For
Godly Play training in the Diocese of Chichester contact : Irene Smale 07980 617584 or email: [email protected]