In The Classroom
When using Faith & Play™ the storyteller and doorkeeper create and maintain an open, safe and welcoming classroom environment that nurtures wonder and loving community through, among other things:
• slowly paced storytelling,
• invitations to prayerfulness and mindfulness as each child enters the room,
• carefully placed periods of silence,
• gentle gestures and slow movements of story materials,
• invitations to wonder out loud and
• validation of each child’s sharing.
Together these serve to draw children deeply into their own individual and corporate experience of God as they hear and watch the story. Even children who are otherwise disruptive, or who are unusually withdrawn, often participate in the lessons with focused attentiveness.
Open-ended questions used in Godly Play® and Faith & Play™ are not actually questions at all, but are “I wonder” statements that invite experiential responses. Because they are experiential there are no incorrect answers. The storyteller never fishes for a particular response. The storyteller repeats each child’s response with genuine acceptance. Children therefore readily come to feel safe in responding from their own experience:
• I wonder what part of this story you like best today. (Each hearing of a story is potentially fresh because the listener is always changing.)
• I wonder what you wonder about this story.
Story materials should be of the nicest quality you can buy or create, and simple in their color and shape. Wood is preferable to plastic, and simplicity of form leads to children using their imagination more fully.
When working with story materials, be tender and gentle. Your respect for the materials and for the story is important modeling for the children.
The Faith & Play™ working group put together a "DIY" guide for people figures, felt hats, and bonnets (for stories set in the 17th-19th centuries). With felt hats and bonnets removed, figures can be used to represent present-day Friends. We suggest you stain the faces different shades to reflect the diversity of our human community.
If you're not making your own, materials for Faith & Play™ stories are available for purchase from QuakerBooks of FGC. The Faith & Play Group and QuakerBooks are working in partnership to make available kit materials for stories. Kits are unfinished but include all parts, and are sold at lower cost than finished sets. Check the "Gifts & Merchandise" page of QuakerBooks or call (800) 966-4556 to learn what stories have kits available.
In The Home
Using Godly Play® and Faith & Play™ in the home also provides a unique opportunity for parents and children to connect with one another by sharing wonder, Spirit, and the power of not knowing answers. Through stories, whether told by parents or children, a place is created where we don't need to have all the answers. We can wonder together and be on the journey together. Creating a space where silence is welcomed, care and responsibility for belongings is valued, and uncertainty is accepted, is a gift to our families in the midst of complex, busy lives.