Friday, May 21, 2010

Bonus Book: Teaching Godly Play

I had four meetings yesterday with four hours between numbers three and four. Perfect time to grab a book! (Oo--blog post to consider - what are the perfect times to grab a book? I can think of at least fifty...)

On the "loaned/promised back" pile was Jerome Berryman's Teaching Godly Play: The Sunday Morning Handbook. It's a thin book, few big words, and even some line drawings. Oh, happy times!

Put simply, Godly Play is Montessori learning theory in a Christian religious education setting. The classroom is very carefully arranged to be child-sized, well-organized, and to have exactly the elements needed to help a young child express existential thought. It is a rather amazing system. (Nita Penfold created SpiritPlay as the Unitarian Universalist version of Godly Play, if you're wondering why this sounds vaguely familiar.)

The book was a good choice for a break in the high action of my May. There's a strong feeling of calm and of love. Of knowing that what you have is worth sharing, and of being willing to do a lot of hard work to get there. I'm too lazy to (get off the couch, walk across the house, find the book, find the page, and) quote, but Berryman, an Episcopal priest, makes theology easy enough for children, but compelling enough that the adult instructors are pulled in and their own faith deepened.

Overall, the book inspires me in its intentionality. I'm going to a one-day introduction to Spirit Play in August, and this was a really lovely scaffold for future knowledge.

(I am doing a bunch of reading towards the credentialing process for Unitarian Universalist religious educators - if you'd like to know what that list looks like, check out

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