Today we shared the story of Exodus in our Godly Play room. This is the second of several stories we tell which take place in the desert and evoke the experiences of God's People as they seek his elusive presence. Just as we discovered last week along with Abraham and Sarah that God was not just in this place or in that place, but that all of God was everywhere - today we explored how God was with the People as they "went out" (the literal meaning of exodus) from slavery in Egypt to freedom through the waters of the Red Sea.
I adore telling the stories that use the desert box. Even more than that, I love watching the children retell and extend them during creative response time. Each time the desert box is used in a story, the story-teller presents a brief introduction to this important prop. "So many wonderful and important things happened to the People of God in the desert that we need to have a piece of it right here in our classroom." We talk about how the children may have sandboxes at home or sand tables at school, but that the one we have here in our Godly Play room is different. We always call it the desert box and talk about how it really does represent a piece of the desert we talk about in each story. It takes some time and modeling to keep it from becoming a simple sand box in the classroom but is so worth the time it takes we we get to see the kids really exploring and expanding on the desert stories we tell.
Today during creative response time, one student and I put our ears really close to the box and listened to the sound the feet of the wooden "People of God" figures made as they sunk in the sand as they walked across the desert. We wondered together what it might have felt like to venture into that dangerous place with shifting winds and few landmarks listening as we hurried across the sand for the sounds of Pharaoh’s Army behind us. As he reached across the desert to fold back the blue felt rectangles to part the Red Sea and walked each person one at a time between the waves he whispered some of the words I had used when I told the story, "this one felt confused....this one was excited...this one was scared."
Today we had some students who have been to just about every session this year and couple that were visiting for the first time. It was so nice to see to the children welcome our new friends into our community and help them find their way in our routines.
All the children are becoming more and more self-sufficient in determining what they'd like to work on, gathering the necessary materials, and finding a workspace. They take such care with each other as they negotiate materials and workspaces and work together to restore the classroom before our feast. The adult helpers and I, more and more, are able to blend into the background during this time and let the children take the lead.
Next week we contine to explore desert stories with the Godly Play version of the 10 Comandments which we call "The Ten Best Ways." We will then take a brief detour from the desert to explore the season of Advent. Please head over to our News and Announcements page for list of upcoming sessions.
Godly Play Team
Hannah Hannover, Minister to Children and Families and Genya Coffey, Christian Education Team Coordinator make up our current team of guides and storytellers. Both have attended workshops in order to receive certification from the Godly Play Foundation. They will take turns authoring the blog posts found here. Interested in joining the team? Be sure to let them know through the contact page.