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Godly Play Training

Godly Play training for GGP teachers.
by

Keelee Allen

on 19 March 2013

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Transcript of Godly Play Training

What is Godly Play? In most religious education children are told what God did. In Godly Play children discover who God is.

Godly Play is a Montessori method of telling Bible stories, developed by Jerome Berryman, using parables, sacred stories and liturgical lessons about religious traditions using simple materials.

It invites the listener to connect faith stories with personal experience through wondering questions and open-ended response. Thresholds divide, but also invite one to come through. The Storyteller Sits at the focal point of the room
Anchors the circle of children
Presents "the lesson"

The Doorperson Sits by the door
Greets children to help them get ready to enter the room
Helps children "help themselves" get out response work
Helps children prepare the feast
Maintains the threshold
Children and the Threshold
"Getting children ready"
The 4 Kinds of Stories

Sacred Stories
Parables
Litugical action
Silence Parables provoke the experience of "un-think-able thought." The fundamental wondering question for parables: "I wonder what this could really be?" Sacred Stories are about our deep identity. Sacred Story wondering narrates the great story and gives our own stories context and larger meaning. Examples of Sacred Stories:

Creation
The Flood and the Ark
The Great Family
The Exodus
The Ten Best Ways
The Ark and the Tent
The Ark and the Temple
The Exile and Return
Prophets
Jesus and the 12
Pentecost
Paul's Discovery
Books of the Bible


Examples of Parables:

Parable of the Good Shepherd
Parable of the Good Samaritan
Parable of the Great Pearl
Parable of the Sower
Parable of Parables
Parable of the Leaven
Parable of the Mustard Seed
Parable of Parables
Parable of the Deep Well
Liturgical Action stories help us learn about the sacred work or actions that bring us closer to the living presence of God. Wondering questions for these stories are related to lessons about action and symbols. For example, "I wonder how the colors made you feel?" or "I wonder where else you might see this symbol?" Examples of Liturgical Action stories:

Circle of the Church Year
Baptism
Good Shepherd and World Communion
Mystery of Easter
Easter Eggs
Advent
Mystery of Christmas
Faces of Easter
Crosses
Symbols
Sometimes there is nothing to say and at other times there is too much to say.

Any of our four fundamental relationships (God, deep self, others, and nature) can involve one to the point of being overwhelmed, quiet. At every stage of the Godly Play class there is silence: entering, the lesson, wondering, art and material response, the feast, and saying goodbye.

A comfort with silence is shown and the assumption that silence is not empty but full is made. Five Responses to Disruptions
(Storyteller's Role) Level One:
Be engaged in the presentation. Model how to be in the room. Your deepening concentration shows the disruptive child that you will not support his/her behavior. Level Two:

Storyteller will briefly look up and say to everyone, "We need to get ready again. Watch. This is how we get ready. Okay?" Level Three

The storyteller looks up and says, "No, that's not fair. Look at all the children who are taking part in the lesson. They are ready. You need to be ready too. Let's try again. Good, that's the way." The storyteller shows them how to sit and returns to the lesson. Level Four:

The child will be asked to go across the room slowly and carefully to sit by the doorperson. Level Five:

If the child refuses, the storyteller will tell the child, "It is time to go now." and/or "May I help you?" The storyteller will not get up from the circle unless absolutely necessary. During this process, the doorperson remains at his/her chair, waiting for the child. Response for Disruptive Child
(Doorperson's Role) Option #1 Lap sitting:
Turn the child toward you and rub back if he/she will allow that.
Gradually turn child, when you can, so that he/she is sitting sideways on lap.
Turn the child so they can see the other children and the rest of the room.
Gradually move child from your lap to a place on the floor beside you. Rest your hand on the child's shoulder for reassurance.
Gently remove hand when you can. Option #2 Playing quietly on the floor:

There are a variety of books a child can look at while the lesson is being shared. Quietly allow the child to choose one.
Quietly encourage the child to listen to the story if he/she can.
There are large pillows the child can choose to lay down.
There are beads the child can choose to work with. Should a child every be removed from the room?

It is best to manage all discipline problems in the Godly Play room.
It can break down the community of children and shows it cannot maintain itself even with teh help of trusted adult guides.
However, sometimes it is necessary when the safety of the children is threatened. The children will sense this situation.
The child who is restrained or removed, and the watching children, need to know that sometimes people get so upset they don't know what to do.. They are so confused that they can't hear what the people who are there to help have to say. The child should remain at the door with the doorperson until the wondering questions are finished and the children in the circle are released for response.

The doorperson will give the disruptive child the option of hearing the story they missed. If he/she wants to hear the story, the doorperson will send the child to the storyteller.

If the child doesn't choose to hear the story, the doorperson will release the child to a response. Response Time
Storyteller's Role

Maintain and evaluate the story space.
Invite child to come back to the circle with their response materials.
Help children hear new stories they would like to work with.
Show the children how to work with the stories.
Help children properly put away materials used during response time.
Response Time
Doorperson's Role

Help children "help themselves" in the art and feast area of room.
Make sure feast gets done for the circle.
Help children (if needed) with aprons.
Put names and class on children's painting projects.
Show children how to gather materials on a tray.
During clean up time, make sure all art supplies are put away correctly. Feast
The feast is an indirect preparation for their participation in Holy Communion. A feast is not about how much you eat. Some people think that, but they do not understand. It is not even about what you eat. It is about how you share what you have. It is about being together. A feast is how you feel about what you are share.
It is not what you have.
Doorperson's Role during feast is to be engaged. Sing with them; if there is a spill get a towel for a child to clean up; and to maintain the doorspace and get ready for release. After the feast is shared and everyone is finished, it's time for release. The storyteller will release children one at a time with a blessing. The doorperson needs to be ready to receive children into the hallway. Slow yourself down, take a breath. You are a model.
The doorperson's role is to evaluate each child and help them get ready.

Don't hurry
Greet each child.
Invite them to walk slowly into the room and sit in the circle. Say something like, " The storyteller will help you find a place that is right for you."
If a child is having a hard time getting ready, then keep him/her with you by the door. Keep talking with that child. Maybe he needs to sit in your lap or stay with you for the story/wondering portion.
It is not fair to the community or the child to send someone who is not ready to the circle. When a child remains by the door during lesson, he/she also remains there during wondering. Children by the door might want to participate or talk during this time, but they need to know to keep their wondering/talking for later. Say something like, "Not now. When the lesson is over and the other children go get out their work, you may go to the storyteller and wonder about the lesson. Now it is time to listen. You are doing a good job, too. It is not always easy to get ready." Being by the door is NOT a punishment. It si a way to help children learn to be ready to participate in the presentation. This is one of the most important things to learn about how the Christian language works. If you are not ready, then it is very difficult to enter the language. If you cannot enter the language, then it cannot help you discover the presence of mystery of God.
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