Sunday, May 25, 2014

FrühlingsAG / Spring Godly Play Club - Week 1

Zum allerersten Mal haben wir eine FrühlingsAG angeboten, die vor zwei Wochen anfing! Unsere AGs fangen immer mit einer Geschichte an, und in der 1.Woche hörten wir eine Auferstehungsgeschichte, da wir noch in der Osterzeit sind. Es ging um die Emmaus-Jünger, die Jesus auf dem Weg trafen, aber ihn nicht erkannten.  For the first time ever, we offered a Spring Godly Play Club that kicked off two weeks ago! Our first story was a Resurrection story called "The Emmaus Disciples". It is not part of the Godly Play "canon", but rather a story told in Godly Play style that was developed by some of our German storytellers. 

Die zwei Freunde treffen Jesus auf dem Weg nach Emmaus.
The two friends meet Jesus on the road to Emmaus.

Kinder finden diese Geschichte toll. Es ist für sie faszinierend, warum die 2 Freunde Jesus gar nicht erkannt haben. Nach der Geschichte gibt es ein Ergründungsgespräch, wo ich den Kindern offene Fragen über die Geschichte stelle. Sie dürfen alles sagen, und es gibt keine richtige oder falsche Antworte.  Children just love this story. They find it fascinating that the two friends of Jesus don't recognize him at first. After the story, we have a time of "Wondering" in which I ask the children what they liked best or thought was most important about the story.

Einige sagten, es hat ihnen am besten gefallen, wo alle drei am Tisch saßen, und plötzlich erkannten die 2 Freunde Jesus, als dieser das Brot teilte. Ein anderes Kind fand's toll, dass Jesus in dem Moment verschwunden war! Die Kinder haben auch vermutet, warum die 2 Jünger nicht kapiert haben, wer Jesus wirklich war. Vielleicht waren sie einfach zu traurig oder die ganze Zeit den Boden  angeguckt. Oder vielleicht sah Jesus irgendwie anders aus.  Many of the children said that their favorite part was when they all sat down at the table together to share bread and finally the disciples figured out who Jesus was. Another child thought it was cool that Jesus disappeared at that very moment! The children speculated as to why the friends didn't recognize him. Maybe they were just too sad or maybe they were looking down at the ground. Or maybe Jesus somehow looked different. 

Die 2 Jünger erkennen Jesus, als er das Brot teilt. 
The two friends recognize Jesus when he breaks bread with them.

Nach der Geschichte gibt es eine Kreativphase, in der die Kinder Beschäftigungen aussuchen um entweder weiter sich Gedanken über die Geschichte zu machen oder über ein anderes Thema auf dem Herzen nachzudenken. Die Angebote sind bei Stationen aufgestellt, und die Kinder können sich frei dazwischen bewegen. After the story, the children had a Response Time in which they could choose from various activities in order to think more about either the story or something else on their hearts. The activities are set up in stations, and the children can move from one station to another when they are finished with one project. 

Station 1: Nähcollagen - hier gestalten die Kinder eine Collage mit Filzstücken, die sie an einem aus Jutestoff Hintergrund zunähen. 
Station 1:  Sewn Collages - here the children make cut collage pieces from felt and sew them onto a burlap background.

Station 2: Blumentöpfe malen - wie wäre eine FrühlingsAG ohne etwas einpflanzen zu können? Diese Wochen haben einige einen Topf angemalt, und nächste Woche wird's eingepflanzt.
Station 2: Painting Flower Pots - It wouldn't be a Spring Club if we didn't plant something! This week we painted, and next week we'll begin planting.

Station 3: Skulpturen mit Ton und Naturmaterial - hier haben die Kinder mit Ton u. Naturschätzen gearbeitet.
Station 3: Clay Sculptures with Nature Material - Here the children created with clay and added nature material to their work. 

Am Ende der Kreativphase haben wir zusammen aufgeräumt und für unser kleines Fest vorbereitet. Dann aßen wir gemeinsam ein gesundes Snack- für viele Kinder ist dies das wichtigste Teil des Tages! Ein Junge in der Gruppe spielte ein paar Lieder am Klavier und machte dabei eine schöne Stimmung.  At the end of Response Time, we clean up together and get ready for our small feast. Then, we enjoy a snack together - for many children, this is their favorite part.  One of the boys in our group plays the piano really well and agreed to serenade us during our feast!

Teil 2 kommt bald!
Part 2 coming soon!

Update: You can view Week 2 and Week 3 by clicking the links!

Godly Play with Seniors: The Desert Stories

So much has been going on lately that I haven't had time to document it all in blog posts! Since I last checked in about my work with seniors, I've begun to tell the desert stories. In April, I told "The Great Family" and in May I told "Exodus". 

My German colleague, Dr. Martin Steinhäuser, commented once that the desert stories can lead to a powerful release of thoughts and emotions in seniors. This has been my experience with my small group of ladies. 

A desert landscape in the Sinai Peninsula

These women were all children during World War II. One lady shared during the Wondering for "Exodus" that she identified with the children of Israel when Pharoah's army was coming after them. As a 10-year-old, her family had been driven out of Stettin (now a part of Poland) and forced to relocate near the Baltic Sea. She knew the feelings of fear and uncertainty very well.

That generation has not typically had the opportunity to talk about the things that happened to them, because the culture at that time encouraged people to keep their feelings to themselves and just keep going. That makes these conversations all the more important in being able to process their memories in the context of faith. 

A couple of the ladies really like to just run their hands through the sand in my desert bag. It's easy to forget that they no longer have opportunities to do this. Although the nursing home has a beautiful garden that the ladies can visit, they obviously don't play in a sandbox. 

I have still not really figured out how to do a Response Time with these ladies. I am not musically gifted, so singing the older German hymns is difficult for me. Lois Howard, whom I've written about before, often plays Bingo with her seniors. Perhaps that would be an option if I could find the time to make the Bingo cards.

My 8-year-old daughter has been accompanying me to our Godly Play sessions with the seniors. This last time, she had spent the night with her class at school the evening before, so I gave her the option not to go in case she was too tired. To my surprise, she insisted on going with me. One of the ladies that we are particularly close to at the nursing home gave her a small stone that her son had brought back from Bethlehem. My daughter was delighted and told me afterwards, "I'm going to always keep it, so I can remember her  after she dies." Such a wise child. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Catching Up

Hi there, Just wanted to say hi and let you know how we are. Many of you sent kind e-mails when my father-in-law was injured just before Easter. He and my mother-in-law were able to return to the US two weeks later and are doing well, though it will be several more weeks before he can walk again. 

Though our Holy Week and Easter turned out differently than we planned, we still managed to find a few bright moments. 

The mad race to find the Easter eggs was hysterical to watch.: )

The cherry blossoms were in full bloom and made us smile.

And I was able to make this lamb-shaped cake filled with raspberry cheesecake for Easter Sunday. 

After the Easter holidays, we had three days of school and then more holidays to celebrate May 1. We used the chance to take our bikes out to the forest and let the kids go. There aren't many places in Berlin where they can take off and ride as fast as they want. So much fun to watch!

Though it's rainy and overcast now, we also had some really warm weather, and enjoyed an afternoon at one of Berlin's many lakes. 

There were so many kids that registered for Easter Club this year that I had to turn several of them away. So, we decided to do a three week "Spring Club" (FrühlingsAG) that starts tomorrow.  I'll be sure to update you on how it goes!