Godly Play / Faith and Play
An Invitation to Godly Play
What is Godly Play? Godly Play is a curriculum of Christian education for children that connects the Godly with the playfulness and wonder of childhood. In Godly Play, children feel God’s presence, discover their relationship to God, and explore great ideas from the Original and New Testaments. Godly Play stories are written to help children find meaning rather than memorize doctrine. They are written with simple prose that invites visualization and imagination.
Once upon a time there was a person who was so amazing, and did such amazing things, and spoke such wonderful words that people wanted to be near him. Crowds of people followed this person around the country so they could listen to what he said. One day, someone asked the person, “What is the Kingdom of Heaven like?” … the parable of the Mustard Seed follows.
Sometimes Abraham would go out to the edge of the desert and look out across the sand and into the sky. Then God came so close to Abraham, and Abraham came so close to God that he knew what God wanted him to do.
After each story or parable, children are invited to “wonder.”
I wonder what part of this story you like best today?
I wonder … if you were in this story, where (or who) would you be?
I wonder if there is something you wonder about this story?
When the “wondering” is complete, we play. Play may be centered on objects used in the story or parable. Play may involve Bible-story puzzles. Play often moves to artistic expression with paper and crayons. The important part of “play” is that children express themselves in whatever way they wish after listening to the language and stories of God and God’s people. Telling the story takes 10-15 minutes, then 30-35 minutes is spent in “play.”
Our Children's Hour "play" takes us on journeys. In Godly Play, we begin our journey at the very first with Creation. Then, we walk with the People of God from Ur to Hebron, to Egypt, through the Red Sea and all through the desert. We stand with the crowd that follows Jesus and the disciples, listening to parables and experiencing amazing things that Jesus did. Our Faith & Play stories lead us to be with George Fox, Mary Fisher, and John Woolman as they journeyed in the Light and experienced God's great Love and Care. Each December we journey to Bethlehem with the prophets, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and the Magi. And, in Spring we experience the new Life and Eternal Light when "God makes Jesus alive again." These stories of our soul and our being with God are wonderful and fresh every time we experience them.
Heartland Friends Meeting invites children to join us in Godly Play at 10:45 a.m. on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month. We sing a few songs with guitar accompaniment at 10:45. As everyone settles into silent worship at 11:00, our children proceed to their Godly Play space. Just before noon, children join their parents for a few minutes of quiet worship before sharing a simple soup-and-sandwich lunch with everyone for 30-45 minutes.
Faith & PlayTM, created by Friends (Quakers), is a Montessori-inspired resource that helps children find words and images for expressing their experiences of holy mystery and wonder in their lives.
Like Godly Play®, with which it is designed to be used, Faith & PlayTM is designed for children 3 to 12 and is suitable for multigenerational settings, is deeply respectful of children and their spiritual lives, employs highly visual storytelling and open-ended questions, and requires training to be used effectively.
In the Faith & PlayTM classroom, an experiential framework for exploring Quaker faith and practice with children is provided through regular use of story in a structured environment, careful pacing, including periods of silence, community building, mutual sharing and creative play.