Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Spring Godly Play Club Week 2

Diese Woche wollten wir Pfingsten, den Geburtstag der Kirche, ein bisschen 'reinfeiern, da wir uns nach dem Feiertag nicht mehr treffen werden. Obwohl Pfingsten ein offizieller Feiertag ist, wissen viele Berliner ganz wenig vom Hintergrund der Pfingstgeschichte; deshalb wollten wir mit den Kindern in die Geschichte eintauchen. Since our Godly Play Club will come to an end before Pentecost Sunday, so we decided to go ahead and start thinking about this story today. Pentecost is a much over-looked holiday, and many people here in Berlin are unfamiliar with its background, although we get two free days off from school.

Unsere Erzählung handelte von Himmelfahrt und Pfingsten, als Gott den Heiligen Geist geschenkt hat und die weltweite Kirche "geboren" ist. Wenn ihr mehr über die Reaktionen der Kinder lesen möchte, dann schaut mal her. Our story focused on Jesus' ascension in to heaven and the Day of Pentecost when God gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit and the worldwide church was born. For more details on how I told the story and the children's responses, please see this post

Nach der Geshichte haben die Kinder Aktivitäten ausgesucht um weiter über die Geschichten der letzten 2 Wochen nachdenken zu können. Beim 1. Angebot konnten die Kinder Muffins verzieren zum Geburtstag der Kirche. (Wir haben sie nachher beim Fest aufgegessen!) After the story, the children began to choose activities to help them process what they have been hearing.  One activity involved decorating cupcakes to celebrate the church's "birthday". We then ate the cupcakes during our feast!

Andere Kinder malten weiter mit Ölkreide.
Several children drew pictures with oil pastels.

Wir haben auch weiter gemacht mit den Vögeln und Nestern aus Ton. At another station, the children worked on their birds and nests sculpted from clay. 

Andere Kinder haben an die Nähcollagen gearbeitet. 
We also continued our sewing collages.

Das letzte Angebot war mit dem Material von der Geschichte zu spielen. Dieser Junge kam auf ganz interessante Gedanken als er die Filzstreifen und Spielfiguren umgeordnet hat. And other children wanted to explore the story materials more in-depth.

Noch eine Woche!
One more week to go!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Experimenting with the Pentecost Story

Okay, Godly Play storytellers, see something strange in the picture above? 

"The Mystery of Pentecost" ("Das Geheimnis von Pfingsten" in German) is a story that I've written extensively about it on this blog in the past. First of all, the German version of the story is quite different from the original English version. Secondly, in my experience younger children or children who aren't very well acquainted with GP have verbally expressed their discontent with the use of the apostle's shields rather than real figures in the story. 

Jerome Berryman writes that his decision to use the apostles' shields instead of People of God figures is to give the story, which is by all accounts difficult to understand, a parable-like approach. I understand this and see the reasoning behind it, but I do question whether this is the best way for younger children or children new to GP to experience the story. I've also heard some of my other colleagues here in Germany express the same sentiment. 

When planning this year's Spring Godly Play Club, I knew that none of these children had heard this story (in Godly Play form) before, and only a third of the kids were familiar with GP at all. So I decided to experiment. I decided that I wanted to try telling the story with People of God figures rather than just the apostles' shields. However, I do think the apostles' symbols are important to see and know about, so I wondered if I could use both, unsure of whether or not the use of both would be distracting. 

The German version of this story starts out with Jesus' ascension rather than the Tower of Babel analogy. Jesus gathers with the disciples on the Mount of Olives. As I began to introduce the disciples, I told the children that each disciple had a shield with a special symbol on it that told us something about that disciple. I added that they could find out what the symbol meant during the Response Time with special control cards that explained the symbols. The children were very attentive and seemed to track with me rather than blurting out frustrated questions which had been my experience in the past. 

As I prepared the felt "house" that the disciples return to after Jesus' ascension, I added a Wondering question. I asked the children how they thought the disciples felt after seeing Jesus ascend into heaven. The children were responsive, and we talked about the possible reactions.  I think it was a good call to have this question in the middle, because the story is almost like two small stories within one, since our German version starts with Ascension.

There was more Wondering this time than any other time I can remember telling this story. That may just be because this group of kids is extremely verbal, but I think the combination of real figures and the apostles' shields helped the children to identify more with the story.

What was their favorite part? "When Jesus went up into heaven."  "When the apostles went out of the house and started telling people about God." "When they went into all the world to tell about Jesus."

In addition to the usual 4 Wondering questions in the Sacred Story genre, I also added this one: How do you imagine the Holy Spirit? One first grade girl answered, "I think he is like a bird flying in the wind, who helps people when they are in trouble."

This boy matched the shields to the control cards to find out about each apostle. Then, he began playing with the materials and rearranging them. I love this image that he created- it makes me think of the church as a house, a safe place where a family lives, which is what the church can be. 

Have you experimented with the Pentecost story? If so, how have you told it differently?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Spring Godly Play Club 2015

So viele Kinder hatten Lust bei der OsterAG zu sein, dass wir eine Warteliste machen mussten - ein tolles Problem zu haben!  Daraus ist die FrühlingsAG entstanden.  So many children signed up for the Easter Club this year that we had to make a waiting list. What an awesome problem to have! As a result, we decided to offer a Spring Godly Play Club, which kicked off this week. 

Unsere erste Geschichte ging um das Gleichnis vom Senfsamen in dem Lukasevangelium. Our first story was the Parable of the Mustard Seed found in the Gospel of Luke.

Die Gleichnisse regen unsere Kreativität an und geben neue Perspektiven. Es macht mir viel Spass die Gleichnisse mit Kindern zu erzählen, weil Kinder so frische Einblicke darauf haben. Parables help our creativity to flow and God can use them to help us question our everyday situations and gain new perspective. I love telling the parables to children, because they have such fresh thoughts and insight into the metaphorical meanings.

Diese Gruppe von Kindern war besonders verbal, sodass unser Ergründungsgespräch nachher ziemlich spannend war. This was a very verbal group of children, so our Wondering conversation after the story was quite lively.

Nach der Geschichte und Ergründungsgespräch kommt die Kreativphase, die von der Montessori-Pädagogik inspiriert ist. Die Kinder dürfen Aktivitäten aussuchen, die ihnen helfen die Geschichte weiter zu entdecken. Sie dürfen sich auch zwischen den Angeboten frei bewegen. After the story comes a free Response Time inspired by the Montessori Method. During this time, the children can choose activities to help them explore the story further or perhaps explore some other topic on their hearts and minds.

Diese Kinder malen mit Öl- und Pastelkreiden. 
This group of children worked with oil and chalk pastels.

Andere Kinder gestalteten Vögel und Nester aus Ton. Nächste Woche werden wir die Vögel anmalen. Another group chose to make birds and bird nests out of clay. We'll paint the birds next week after the clay has dried.

Ein weiteres Angebot ging um "Nähcollagen" aus Filz und Jutestoff. At another station, the children could sew collages out of burlap and felt.

Auch konnten die Kinder eine eigene Geschichte ausdenken. And finally, the children could also make up their own story to tell.

Letztens feierten wir ein kleines Fest mit "Blondies" (Brownies mit hellem Teig), Paprika, und ein Gebet der Dankbarkeit für die schöne Zeit zusammen! Our time ended with a prayer of thankfulness and our "feast".  This week we had "blondies" and red pepper. 

Bis nächste Woche! 
See you next week!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Easter Club Week 4

Die Kirche sollte ein Ort sein, wo Leute aus unterschiedlichen Hintergründen einander begegnen. Deswegen öfter in den AGs suchen wir Möglichkeiten die Kinder mit unterschiedlichen Gruppen von Menschen in Kontakt zu bringen. Ideally church should be a place where people from all different walks of life come together. Because of this, we often seek to bring the children who participate in our Godly Play clubs in contact with different groups of people. 

In der letzten Woche freuten wir uns über einen Besuch von einer Alzheimer-Gesellschaft. Es gab einen Kennenlernenspiel gleich am Anfang zum Aufwärmen. In our last week, we were delighted to have a visit from an Alzheimer's Support Group. We played a game at the beginning to get to know each other a little. 

Danach zündeten wir die Christuskerze an, und wir hörten gemeinsam die Geschichte von Jesus und den Jüngern auf dem Weg nach Emmaus aus dem Lukasevagelium. Then, we lit our Christ candle together and heard the story of Jesus meeting the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.

Als nächstes bildeten wir Teams von Kindern und Senioren um Ostereier zu suchen! 
Afterwards we sorted ourselves into teams of seniors and children for an Easter egg hunt.

Auf die Plätze, fertig, los!
It was off to the races!

Die Kinder fanden  blitzschnell alles auf dem Boden, aber die Senioren waren schneller die Eier in ungewöhnlichen Orten zu finden. The children were quick to find everything on the ground, but the seniors helped to find the eggs in the not so obvious places! 

Wir haben eine sehr schöne Zeit zusammen erlebt! 
We had a lovely afternoon together and everyone benefited from the interaction!

Easter Club Week 3

Diese Woche hörten wir eine liturgische Geschichte über den Vater Unser. Wir haben spielerisch über jeden Teil des Gebets nachgedacht und auch über die unterschiedliche Arte und Weisen von Gebet geredet.  This week we heard a liturgical story about The Lord's Prayer, and considered each part of the prayer. We also talked about the different ways that people can and do pray. 

Danach haben einige Kinder ein Heft mit ihren Lieblingsteil des Gebets gemacht.  
During Response Time, some of the children made a booklet of their favorite part of The Lord's Prayer.

Andere gestalteten Sculpturen aus Ton und Naturmaterial.
Others made sculpted creations out of clay and nature materials. 

Manche Kinder machten Kollagen mit gefärbten Eierschalen. 
And others chose to make collages using colored eggshells.

Und einige von uns bauten Jerusalem auf und spielten die letzte Woche Jesu und seine Auferstehung. 
Some children made a model of Jerusalem and re-enacted Jesus' last week and resurrection. 

Alle freuten sich über die Brownies und Gurken fürs Fest!
Everyone was excited over our feast of cucumbers and brownies!

Easter Club Week 2

Heute hörten wir die Geschichte von Jesu im Garten Gethsemane. Wir haben uns nachher gefragt, wann und warum man so ein schweres Gebet aussprechen würde. Ein Kind sagte, "wenn jemand stirbt", und dann äußerten sich andere Kinder über solche Situationen in der Familie. This week we heard the story of Jesus and his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. We wondered about when and in what kind of situations a person would pray such a difficult prayer. One child said "when someone dies" and other children spoke of when family members and pets had passed away.

Ein Ziel in der Godly-Play-Pädagogik ist den Kindern Raum geben um über existentielle Grenzen nachzudenken, z.B. über die Geburt, den Tod, Freiheit und das Alleinsein. Solche Geschichten wie diese über Gethsemane helfen Kindern diese wichtigen Lebensthemen in geschützen Rahmen zu verarbeiten.   One of our objectives in Godly Play is to give children room to grapple with existential boundaries such as birth, death, freedom and aloneness. Stories such as this allow the children to process these topics in a safe place. 

In der Kreativphase haben wir Ostereier gemalt . . .
During Response Time, we painted Easter eggs . . . 

und an die Ostergärten weitergearbeitet.
and worked on our Easter gardens.

Und wir haben ein kleines Fest am Ende gefeiert. 
And we ended our time together with a small feast.