Our Stories:
News and Notes from Calvary

Guiding imaginative hearts

by Ginny Strubing

Just after college, I began teaching first and second grades. Though in a traditional classroom at the time, Maria Montessori’s “The Secret of Childhood,” resonated in a way that traditional methods of teaching did not, and I went on to become a Montessori teacher. Teaching the four-year-olds at Calvary has allowed me to bring my teaching experience into the spiritual world. 

Teaching Godly Play is very similar to the Montessori method. Though the teachers initially guide the children through the lesson, the children are allowed to use the figurines, models, and materials to re-tell the lesson through play. This freedom to interpret the story through their play allows the children to internalize what they’ve heard on a deeper level than only experiencing the story through limited senses. 

Like many teachers, I feel I often learn more from the children’s questions than they do from the answers. Their questions range from the deeply profound, “Who made God?” to the culturally curious, “Why did the men wear skirts?” and the one all pet-lovers ask, “Do dogs/cats/my goldfish go to Heaven?” 

After the lesson and the children’s re-telling through play or art, we then enjoy the Feast, similar to Communion. We gather in a circle, and with help from the children pass out crackers and juice. Each child has the opportunity to offer a prayer or sing a song as the rest of the group sits quietly. Some of the prayers and songs speak to the children’s love of Jesus, their parents, or even their pets. Their close relationship with nature is another popular theme, and any idea that springs from their imaginative hearts is welcome.  

I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to be with these children as they experience God in their individual ways. Facilitating Godly Play with the children of Calvary deepens my own spiritual development and my enduring and fascinated love of children.

Posted by Robyn Banks at 11:15 AM
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