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Godly Play Review by Christine Field

Living the Good News
Godly Play Resources

Bible truths are so complicated, yet so simple. Godly Play is a unique way to present these truths. It uses the Montessori approach to education to facilitate spiritual education in a beautiful way, demonstrating the power and richness of simplicity.

The way to describe these materials is to use some Montessori words. I feel clumsy using them, as this is not my expertise. Yet, I was so struck with the beauty of Godly Play that I want to try to explain what I saw. The materials talk about the unique function of story as a "way of knowing". So a Bible story is told simply, gracefully and beautifully. Then the storyteller sits back and asks; "I wonder what part of this story you like best." The students are allowed to speak and each answer is affirmed. Then she asks, "I wonder where you are in the story, or what part of the story is about you." Another discussion ensues and then the teacher asks, "I wonder, is there any part of this story we could leave out and still have all the story we need?" The teacher always encourages discussion by saying, "I wonder" not because she does not know, but because she wants the children to find their own way.

Five volumes and three videos are available to teach you to do Godly Play. Volume 1 is How to Lead Godly Play Lessons. Volume 2 is Fall, with an opening lesson on the church year followed by 13 Old Testament stories from Creation through the prophets. Volume 3 is Winter and includes 20 presentations based on stories about Advent and the feasts of Christmas and Epiphany, followed by the parables. Volume 4 is Spring and presents 20 lessons covering Lent, the resurrection, the Eucharist and the early Church during the Easter season. Volume 5 is Practical Helps from Godly Play Trainers in which experienced trainers and Teachers share insights, stories and ideas for using Godly Play to its fullest.

The three videos feature demonstrations of Fall, Winter and Spring Godly Play sessions, led by Jerome Berryman, creator of this series.

Finally, I looked at the storytelling materials: some simple felts, figures, and yarns packaged in elegant wood boxes -- simply beautiful. I will be using these materials with my Sunday school students at my church. When I tried them with my children at home, they we captivated anew by a story they had heard tens of times before. They don't need videos and computerization to make a connection to God's truths. They need simplicity and relationship. Here's one way to get back to that.

--Product Review by: Christine Field, Senior Correspondent, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine