'Freedom to Wonder' - York St John University

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Nov 16, 2013 (3 years and 6 months ago)

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‘Freedom to Wonder’

Developing Children’s Spirituality: Reflections
on Practice


Heather Black

Accredited Trainer, Godly Play UK


www.godlyplay.org.uk

Our Context


North Ormesby a community close to the
centre

of
Middlesbrough


Population approx. 4,500


North Ormesby Community Primary School, approx.
200 pupils


St Alphonsus RC Primary School, approx. 230 pupils



Reflections on
Practice


Five years working with local
community primary school



Sept 2009/10 a year
-
long
longitudinal study
for
MA
Dissertation, Durham University



Three years of supporting local RC
primary school



Four years working with local
special needs school


In the beginning….

There was nothing!


Something was created


Sowing some seeds

Key findings


Wondering


Respect for others


Understanding that others
may see things differently


Inner peace


Ability to concentrate


Ability to work
independently and
discover for themselves



School RE Coordinator


Pilot
study with a
Year 2
class over two
terms


Benefits were seen across
the curriculum


The weekly sessions


Tuesday afternoons for 1.5 hours


All sessions in Godly Play room at Holy Trinity Church


Lead by accredited Godly Play leader with support from
class teacher


Year 2 class, mainly white, almost all have little or no
experience of church or the bible, one or two children
from other faiths each year


The weekly sessions


Crossing the threshold


Building the circle


Sharing the story


Wondering together


Freedom to wonder


Sharing a feast


Saying goodbye


Creating space
to wonder

Creating space to wonder


“I wish I could live here all the time”


“I’m not ready to go in yet, can I go to the back and get
ready again?”


“I love looking out at the garden and watching the
water”


“I can hear the voice of the Good Shepherd all the time
when I am here.”


You are special

and you are welcome


The Good Shepherd knows
each of his sheep by name


Nurturing the call to relate to
ourselves, to others and to
God


Sharing the story


The focus is on the story and the ability of the narrative
‘to speak’


The significance of the artifacts


The attention of the children


Sharing the story from the heart

Wondering together


Which part of the story do
you like the best?


Which part of the story is
most important?


Where are you in the
story, or what part of the
story is about you?


If there is any part of the
story we can leave out
and still have everything
we need?


Four
key questions
that help to develop
wondering


I wonder……


Wondering together


I wonder…..


Creating a space to discover together


B
eing attentive to the children in that moment


Being prepared to go to places you didn’t expect!


Being comfortable with maybe not knowing


Wondering becomes a way of being with children



Wondering together


Making meaning with the
story of the Exile


The chain is like a prison


I think a prison can be
anywhere, my dad was in the
army in the Gulf and it was
like that for him


My
grandad

has a prison in
his bungalow (grandma had
recently died and now
Granddad was housebound)





Wondering together


Exploring what is
truly
precious

“The pearl of great price is a
home, because if you have ever
not had a home, that is what the
pearl is.


Wondering together


I
wonder where the joy (of
Easter) comes from?

“I think the happiness of Jesus
being born and the sadness of
Jesus dying is all mixed together
to make the joy of Easter.


I wonder which of the disciples
was the most important?

“Judas…. because if he hadn’t
betrayed Jesus would Jesus still
have died for us?”



Wondering together

I
wonder where the 10 best ways (commandments) are
kept today?

“In our hearts”

“They are kept in love”


Freedom to wonder


Time, space and resources
to continue wondering


Freedom to choose their own
work


The community of the circle


Sharing a feast


Learning to listen and respect each
other


A community of grace


A taste of a spiritual feast


Shared reflections


“For
me its giving the children the time and space to
become aware that there is a spiritual
dimension
to their
lives.”

Teacher Community Primary School

Shared reflections


“The awe and wonder element
is something that reaches
far into other areas,
the
class
keep ‘wondering
' all the time
in
science.”

Teacher Community Primary School


Shared reflections


“I have learnt more about the children in my class on
Tuesday afternoons than in all the rest of the week”

Teacher Community Primary School


Shared reflections



I

am so looking forward to this school year with the
opportunity to bring the children over to 'Godly play' it
certainly alters the whole dynamics of a class.”

Current Year 2 teacher Community Primary School



Shared reflections


“What I have learnt is that it is OK to not have all the
answers. Godly Play is for the children, they have the
answers inside and can usually explain it a lot better than
I could!”

Teacher RC Primary School

Shared reflections


“The impact on the school has been amazing. Our
Ofsted

inspection report commented that ‘what goes on inside
the Godly Play room is remarkable.’”

RE Coordinator RC Primary
S
chool


Shared reflections



We knew the stories because our teachers had taught
them and read them from the bible
, but
now they are our
stories”


Year 6 pupils RC
Primary School


With thanks to


North Ormesby Community Primary School


St
Alphonsus

RC Primary School


Holy Trinity Parish Church, North Ormesby
www.trinitycentre.org


Godly Play UK


The Diocese of York

Diocese of
York