The Spirit Play curriculum is a UU adaptation of the Godly Play curriculum by Jerome Berryman combined with aspects of the Montessori Method, by Maria Montessori.
The purpose of religious education in the Spirit Play classroom, as we see it, is to help children find their own answers to some existential questions.
The structure and key elements of the classroom are based on the Montessori Method. These elements free the children to work at their own pace on their own issues. Stories have been developed in the following categories using current children’s literature, myths, religious stories and church history that cover answers from various sources to the existential questions above.
The classroom is set up as a prepared environment. Each item or “work” on the shelves has a place to “live.” We call the activities work because children’s play is actually equivalent to adult work. They are using the “work” to help figure out the world they live in. Shelves are set up with lessons pertaining to a variety of categories.
Come on down and visit us some time! K.P. Hong, Director of Religious Education, would be happy to answer any questions you may have. You can reach him at the Church Office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-228-1456 x104.
The Gifts of Practice
From Sarah Cledwyn, Spirtual Director and Spirit Play Teacher
This year I have been teaching Spirit Play as one of my spiritual practices. I've also been spending some time reflecting on my experience of teaching and what I am learning from it as I engage with our children and engage with my own soul. This process of practice and reflection has been very rich. Aside from the joy of getting more competent and improvisational in my role, I have grown so much by observing and being present with our children as they learn and as we play together. Coming into the classroom in the same mind-set as I come into my meditation practice has been an interesting process in itself. I have tried to take on the different perspective that my other practices call for. Instead of trying to manage the children and the lesson, I have been able to let them flow and dance while I enjoy the creativity and learning taking place in a very embodied and energetic way.
Some things have touched me deeply, like the child who said that the best thing, the most important thing, and the character he would be in the story of Jesus' birth was the swaddling clothes wrapped around the baby. Take a moment to let that sink in. What swaddles you as you begin the new year, or a new path or a new practice? What swaddles you when you feel vulnerable and helpless in life? What does it feel like? How do you honor or appreciate your own metaphorical swaddling clothes? There are too many of these moments and opportunities to capture them all. Is it just my altered vision this year? Because it feels like I haven't noticed this much invitation for my own journey in other years I have taught. This is the difference between just teaching and practicing teaching.
My reflections are now online in the form of blog posts. If you want to see what invitations I have received from our children and how they have impacted my own journey, please feel free to read along: http://sarahcledwyn.com/musings/
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