Godly Play
In the Diocese of Chichester
What is Godly Play?
A discovery method of teaching and learning
 A method that is focused on the needs of the whole
child – body, mind and spirit
 A multi-sensory approach that integrates the two
primary gateways to knowing for young children language (the verbal system) and play (the nonverbal system)
 An approach that encourages a calm, quiet and
deliberate way of working
Godly Play aims to:
 Provide
a safe space in which children can
encounter and engage with stories from the
Judaeo-Christian tradition
 Help children make connections between
these stories and their own experience
 Support spiritual development
 Make the language of religion familiar
Godly Play has been influenced and
informed by:
 The
Montessori tradition of education
 Sofia Cavalletti’s work on the religious
formation of the child
 The work of Jerome Berryman over more than
30 years
 A worldwide network of Godly Play
practitioners who have supported and
informed Berryman’s research
What can Godly Play offer?
It includes the four processes of:
 Creating
sacred space
 Building and working in community
 Learning religious language
 Using religious language to make meaning
Creating sacred space
 The
space is designed to focus the child’s
visual attention on images and ideas which
are at the heart of the Christian understanding
of God
 The care with which the space is set up and
maintained teaches about the value of what
goes on there
Building and working in community
 The
participants gather together in expectation
and anticipation
 The setting aside of a special time for Godly
Play helps us to prepare to come close to God
 The time allowed for ‘collective response’
makes it possible for participants to learn from
each other
Learning religious language
 Well-tested
scripts help to convey the essence
of each story presentation
 Silence and gesture are treated as powerful
aspects of the language of the story
 The story scripts are learnt by heart by the
story teller; the importance of key phrases and
‘refrains’ helps the listener make connections
Using religious language to make
 The
story teller invites the listeners to ‘wonder’
about what they have heard
 All contributions are accepted as equally
 There is no attempt to reach a particular
teaching point or explain what the story ‘really
The heart of Godly Play is that it does
not depend on knowledge but on a
personal response and spiritual
engagement with God’s word within a
supportive, safe community of friends.
Godly Play Presentations
Sacred Stories – the stories of God’s people within
which we invite the children themselves to become
part of the story
Parables – to stimulate our sense of creativity, help
us question our view of everyday life
Liturgical Actions – a chance for children to learn
and practise the language of liturgy
Sacred Stories
The Flood and
the Ark
The Great
The Exodus
The Ten Best
The Good
The Good
The Great Pearl
The Sower
The Leaven
The Mustard
The Circle of the
Church Year
Advent 1 to 4
Holy Baptism
The Mystery of
The Good
Shepherd and
….and more
Godly Play in the Church Primary School
and in the Parish Church
 Helps
children to understand more about the
Church of England by learning religious
language and modelling each session on the
Eucharist .
 Preparation
(meeting and greeting)
 Ministry
of the word ( listening to and
responding to a Bible story)
 Communion
 Blessing
(sharing food and drink)
and Dismissal (saying goodbye)
Making a start with Godly Play some principles:
Slow down
the pace
Use attractive,
to help tell
the story.
 Focus
as you tell
the story
Use open questions to encourage the children to
reflect on the story and its meaning for them
Enable the children to respond in their
own way to the story
Give the children time and space to
make the story their own
Bring the community together again at the end of
the session – to share experiences and even
In most religious education children are
told who God is.
In Godly Play children discover who God
If you would like to know more ..
 Visit
 For
 For
Godly Play training in the Diocese of
Chichester contact :
Irene Smale 07980 617584 or
email: [email protected]