The Order of Things

The order of our time with Godly Play on Sunday mornings changes a little from time to time, but usually follows the same routine. Routines help children feel comfortable and train their minds and spirits to look for what could happen next.

Others may do things quite differently, but here’s sort of an approximate order of activity that’s worked for me and my co-teachers:

Peaceful beginning: We start with all children meeting in the game room. At a designated time, they leave the game room and go to their individual class rooms. This allows us a little time for stragglers to arrive, so that  most all of the children get to hear the entire story.

After taking time to get ready (see the “Getting Ready” section if you’re not sure what I mean here) children begin to enter the room and sit down in the circle. Quiet music is playing and the teacher is often drawing pictures of a few things in the story. This is not presented as a guessing game but the children know to try to figure out what the drawn pictures are, and to look for them in the story. As the children sit down, the teacher whispers a short, personal hello, never stopping what she/he is doing. This is to acknowledge that the teacher is very glad that the student is present, but also that what she/he is creating for the student is important.

What do you see that I have drawn? Children offer what they think they see. All responses are accepted as possible here, because the child sees what they see.

Let’s have a prayer. The teacher prays a short prayer to begin.

The story is told.

Children and Teachers wonder together. We use the questions suggested in the Godly Play books and add others that are appropriate and needed. Another teacher writes down responses as the children offer them. This shows the children that what they say is valuable to us (and it is!) and we often want to share the responses (no names attached) with parents and sometimes the congregation. The children often say things that adults need to hear!

Creative Expression. At the end of the wondering time, it is time for the children to make their thank you gift to God for the story: some kind of expression of creativity (art or writing, etc)  that illustrates parts of the story. This can be a group effort or done in pairs or as individual work. The teacher usually gives some ideas or prompts. (ie. I wonder if you could make an altar like the one in the story. How could we do that? Could we use these materials? Or these?) See more ideas under “Our Creative Gift to God”.

Closing time. We gather in the circle again. First we read the Bible story, or part of it. Then we take the title of the day’s story and place it on the Bible Board (See “Learning to Use the Bible”) Then we change the calendar. Then we ask for prayer requests and write them down. Either a child or the teacher prays. Then we “change the light.” Lastly we ask the children to give the teacher either a high five, a hand shake, or a hug, and the children are picked up by their parents.