Creating & maintaining a healthy classroom
In addition to the rich tradition of stories which Godly Play® and Faith & Play offer to children, and the language of those stories which helps to elucidate children's spiritual lives, how the classroom is created is of deep importance. Building the circle with the children we create a safe space, boundaried by expectations and practiced rhythms, and in that space children can wonder and explore their ideas, feelings, and faith.
The space needs to be welcoming but not cluttered, and shelves for story and art materials are essential. A small chair for a doorperson to greet children and carpet squares to define each child's space are helpful in creating a child-centered and friendly classroom. Intentional stillness, and a balance between worship and playfulness help children see the possibilities. Godly Play® print resources include excellent sections on how to create and maintain a healthy classroom. A useful analogy might be building a fence around a yard where children can then be free to play and roam.
Discipline in a Godly Play® or Faith & Play classroom is gentle and non-blaming, focusing on the need to "get ready" for a story and not on a child's poor behavior. Once children in a program become used to entering the classroom in an expectant and calm manner and building the circle together, this environment becomes a place where other kinds of religious education programming can occur, framed by this worshipful environment.