Vital Friends: Religious Education Programming for Children
Discover tools for nurturing the spiritual foundation of children’s lives and resources to guide their journey as they grow. Featuring Faith & Play Stories, resources by religious educator Melinda Wenner Bradley, Sparkling Still, and more!
Discover tools to nurture the spiritual foundation of children’s lives as well as resources to guide their journey as they grow.
Faith & Play™ Stories
Faith & Play™ Stories is a Montessori-inspired storytelling resource that helps children find words and images for expressing their experiences of holy mystery and wonder in their lives. Play is children’s practice, hence the name Faith & Play, deriving from Faith and Practice. Faith & Play includes stories of Quaker faith, practice and witness, told in the method of Godly Play® (a resource to teach stories from the Bible in an open-ended, experiential manner). Godly Play and Faith & Play acknowledge that God is active in children’s lives long before they enter the religious education classroom, and at the core of this method is a deep respect for children’s spiritual lives. Participants hear and respond to the stories in age appropriate ways, making the method ideal for meetings with grade-level classrooms as well as for small meetings where few children are in diverse places developmentally.
Hear more about Quakers sharing Faith & Play Stories in this short video: “Making Space: Stories in Religious Education”
Faith & Play Stories:
- are designed for children 3 to 12, but are also shared by Friends in multigenerational settings,
- present a collection of stories about people who have encountered the divine and been shaped or informed by these encounters,
- create playful, contemplative, experiential spaces for drawing out children’s experience of God (or the great mystery, the spirit, the divine),
- give children images and language for talking about this experience and practice in using it in community,
- use open ended questions that invite wonder and reflection, and
- are designed to be used with a particular method that requires training to be used effectively.
Support and consultation for individual teachers, religious education committees, monthly meetings or Friends schools is available through the authors and developers of this work for Friends: the Faith & Play Group. Demonstrations, introductions, and one-day workshops on Faith & Play™ and Godly Play® are offered, as well as Playing in the Light and Learning in the Light trainings.
For more information, please visit their website www.faithandplaystories.org and contact the Faith & Play Group at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kits to make Faith & Play Stories materials and the second print edition of Faith & Play™ (with new stories added) are available from the QuakerBooks website.
Resources by Melinda Wenner Bradley
Melinda’s work as a consultant and trainer for religious education programming has produced several worthwhile resources for Quaker parents and teachers. Here, we’ve included highights of her work, beginning with a beautiful essay about her ministry.
- Concord Quarterly News – Fostering Community with Young Friends
- Philadelphia Yearly Meeting – Exploring Vocal Ministry with Young People
- Quaker Religious Education Collaborative – Being Present: Worship Bowl Lesson
- Philadelphia Yearly Meeting – Let love (and welcome, inclusion, knowledge, and action) be the first motion!
- Quaker Religious Education Collaborative – Nurturing Children’s Spiritual Lives: A Journey of Spirit and Wonder
Everything you need to create lessons for children ages 3 to 8 and build a classroom community is here in the pages of Sparkling Still. View the Sparkling Still page, which includes a link to buy a paperback copy on the QuakerBooks website.
Looking for more resources for First Day School? Explore our First Day School Tool Kit!
The Spiritual Deepening Library
FGC’s free online Spiritual Deepening Library features booklists, activities, and other resources for children under each library topic. To view Spiritual Deepening resources for children, visit the Library website here.
Programming for Children and Teens at the FGC Gathering
Each summer, the FGC Gathering offers children and teens a week full of spiritual exploration, community building, and fun through Junior Gathering and the High School Program.
This article originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of FGC’s Vital Friends eNewsletter.