Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Two books for Godly Play...

Jerome Berryman, with his late wife Thea, is the founder and director of a program for young children called Godly Play, and he has written two new stories for the program. The stories are: The Great Family, which tells the story of Abram and Sarai, their travels, and God's promises to them; and The Good Shepherd, about a shepherd and how he loves and cares for his sheep. Of course, it is Jesus, but the children have to guess that. Both books are published by Morehouse Education Resources, a division of Church Publishing Inc. The illustrator is Lois Mitchell, an artist as well as a Godly Play teacher. Though appropriate for small fingers, the books are large, 8 1/2" x 11" and very colorful. For more information visit GodlyPlayFoundation.org.

Last January, on this blog, I reviewed Berryman's book on the Godly Play program, called The Spiritual Guidance of Children. In it, he gives some of the history of early Sunday school programs as well as the work of Maria Montessori in Rome in 1907, and others who believed that children are "inherently spiritual." Teachers under Montessori's guidance were trained in how to guide children in their spirituality.

The Berrymans joined in the challenges of helping children to know God as they planned their Godly Play program. Berryman says there are similarities and differences in other programs and most are built on Montessori's earlier work in the Roman Catholic network. Godly Play was first marketed to the Episcopal Church but is now "in the mainstream of Christian education around the world." Berryman reminds us that none of these programs are finished, and they all "continue to try to find better ways to help children help themselves to know God."

 I can almost hear the children saying to each other: "I wonder...."

---Lois Sibley