CIRCLE OF WONDER: Ages 3 – 6

When

Every Sunday through June 9th, 2013
Time: 9:25 – 10:30am

Circle of Wonder

The Circle of Wonder is a special place where young children can come to encounter God, be still with God, and listen to God. In the Circle of Wonder we use the Young Children and Worship program, which is based on a Montessori interpretation of religious education.

The Circle of Wonder uses the four-fold order of worship.

Gathering

cow signTo begin, the children come into a special worship space, to a storyteller waiting for them with a smile on her face. They sit in a circle,surrounded by bible stories made just for them, with all materials at their height. Everything in this special place is accessible to the children. This special coming together of the children follows the first order of worship which is the gathering of God’s people to hear God’s word.

The Word

Next they will hear the word proclaimed through a bible story told with multi-sensory materials that children with all different learning styles can value and enjoy. As the story is finished the children are invited to enter into a time of wonder about the story. They are asked “wondering questions” to help them dive deeper into the meaning of the story and to listen for God’s still voice that is found there. These questions might sound like, “I wonder if the Good Shepherd’s sheep have names?” Or, ” I wonder what it was like to be in the ark for forty days…I wonder if Noah knew that God was with him?”

Response

Third, the children will respond to the word. In worship we often respond through prayer, song, offering, celebrating Communion, commissioning, and celebrating baptisms. The children have the chance to respond to the Word in a myriad of ways as well. Some of these ways include telling their own story or the story they just heard, using art and craft materials, celebrating the feast, and praying.

Sending

As they leave Circle of Wonder, the children will participate in the last order of worship which is the sending out of God’s people into the world. Each child will be given a special blessing as they leave to be God’s disciples in their homes, schools, and activities.

Circle of Wonder Slideshow

What is Godly Play?

A Way to Wonder Together

The approach to children’s religious education called Godly play is usually offered to children in the context of Sunday or church school. It is also a wonderful way for parents to tell the stories of faith — Bible stories, baptism, church seasons, and others — in ways that allow us to enter the stories “as little children” and discover the riches that are waiting there for all of us.

“Godly play” is a term coined by Jerome Berryman to describe an approach to children’s spiritual formation that is based on creating a sacred space in which to present the stories of our faith, wonder about them together, and then allow the children open-ended opportunities, usually with art supplies, to engage the story on their own terms.

The stories are told very simply, with simple props, and without interpretation or moral instruction. After a story is presented, the children and the storyteller wonder together about aspects of the story that draw their interest. For instance, with the parable of the Good Shepherd, they might wonder together how the sheep felt as they followed the shepherd. Or whether the sheep have names. Or how it might feel to be inside the sheepfold.

After a time of exploring the story with wondering, the story is put away, the children choose the art supplies they would like to work with, and they spend some time creating whatever they choose, in response to what they feel is most important in the story, or most interesting.

This is play. It is Godly. It is meeting God along with children rather than teaching them what we adults think they ought to know. Our faith stories are very powerful and offer plenty to think about even without our elaboration on what they “mean.” Godly play is often deeply satisfying for the adults who engage the stories along with the children. What a gift for parents to bring to our families!

Godly Play (Video)

Parable of the Good Shepherd (Video)

 

For More Information About Godly Play