Friday, December 9, 2016

Natural Materials in the Godly Play Classroom

One of the ideals of the Godly Play classroom is to surround the children with beautiful, natural materials.

Materials, however, can be use a huge hurdle in beginning a Godly Play program. Natural items, especially wooden ones, can be expensive, hard to make, or even difficult to find. 

I always try to communicate at trainings that materials should not hinder one from starting. You start with what you have. Before I had ever been to any kind of training an had only the books as a guide, I used plastic Playmobil figures to tell the stories. It was certainly not the ideal, but you have to start somewhere.

Then, as I slowly learned more, and had the financial or creative resources, I began to replace the old materials with natural materials. And I am still in the process of doing this.

For a long time, I have used Legos in our Godly Play clubs. Legos are great, and I think that even Maria Montessori would have been a fan. However, this year, I finally had the resources to buy a construction toy that was made of natural materials to replace to the Legos. 

I chose to buy Kapla blocks, which are made of wood. They are simple wooden planks that don't look all that impressive at first, but the creative possibilities are endless. (This is not an advertisement for Kaplas, but you can google them to find examples the amazing things that children build with them.)

And you can see how the children began using them last week . . .

Godly Play is a process and building our classrooms is one as well. Growth doesn't need to be rushed, but we do need to keep the ideals and values in mind. Use what you have in the beginning stages, and then "upgrade" your materials when you can. 

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