Age 3 to Grade 4
Following the Children's Time in the worship service each Sunday, children from age 3 through grade 4 are invited to leave for Godly Play. There are three age groupings - Pre-K/K, grades 1 & 2 and grades 3 & 4. Each room is staffed with a trained storyteller and greeter who help create "the community of children" who discover the language of faith together.
Godly Play is based on each child's experience of God; we supply the language to help them make connections between their everyday lives and God's story. In Godly Play, we tell the core stories of the Bible, of our history and from our tradition. Each Godly Play classroom contains shelves of multi-sensory objects for children to use. These objects help to make the images of our religious language come alive. Through the use and manipulation of these materials, teachers and children, tell and re-tell and enter into God's story in order to make meaning of their own experience.
Godly Play focuses on the spiritual development of each child as an individual, while encouraging the development of choices and values that are a part of living in a Christian community.
When they reach 3rd Grade, children graduate to a more mature version of Godly Play called Side-by-Side. The children have already encountered scripture in Godly Play and learned that their response to these lessons may be deeply personal. In Side-by-Side, we continue to study faith practices that allow the children to broaden their understanding of how to process the sacred in everyday life. Each child is presented with their very own Bible at the beginning of their 3rd Grade year.
Benefits of Godly Play for Children
Godly Play is……
- A distinctive approach to Christian ministry with children, both innovative and deeply grounded in our spiritual tradition.
- A discovery method of teaching and learning. There is no rote learning here.
- Teaches sacramental worldview in a society that is often utilitarian and materialistic.
- Helps children recognize the sacred in everyday things.
- Teaches children that being quiet and deliberate about their work can be as satisfying as being noisy, busy and pushy.
- Provides sensorial materials to work with, integrating language and play, the two primary gateways for knowing for young children
- Gives children the opportunity to enter into the story, wonder about it and then create meaning for their own lives in a creative response.
- Provides a nurturing, boundaried environment where children are guided to make their own choices within constructive limits.