Book here for the  Childhood Spirituality Conference in Sheffield on  Saturday 11 May. 

Peter Privett says, ‘One thing I appreciate about our conferences is the opportunity to hear speakers from a variety of settings, so I’m really looking forward to hearing Elizabeth Wood.

A strong advocate for free play and for children having their own power in play, some of her recent research explores the ways children mix digital play with traditional play.

Children play out their everyday life and their interests. How do we react to their play?  How do we support it? How do we hinder it?

Elizabeth’s work and research is highly respected internationally and she has influenced national policies. She also works with adults, helping them to examine their attitudes and their practice.




What will the workshops be?

With a choice of seven different workshops in the afternoon, there is lots on offer.

Godly Play Session: Experience a full Godly Play session in the Cathedral’s fully-resourced Godly Play room, with additional time at the end for questions and discussion.

The Spiritual Dialogue of Children’s Play: A chance to explore some reflections on the relationship between play and spirituality, to see what adults may understand of children as they communicate and express themselves through play.

Walk and Wonder: Explore the labyrinth as a path for creative observation and reflection. Learn a little of the history of labyrinths and how they can offer a welcome space during Godly Play response time. You will have time to experience the labyrinth – walking and wondering – and learn how to make a simple labyrinth too. Finger Labyrinths are available for those who might find walking a challenge.

Play and Adulthood: Why do we need to play? What gets in the way of our play? What can children, and adults living with dementia, teach us about play? Come to this workshop if you want to play!

Playful Art: This workshop is not about producing amazing art or being good at art. It is for everyone, even those who don’t think they are ‘creative’, to have a go, get messy, perhaps even lose yourself in the moment – blowing, dipping, squeezing and enjoying materials, and making marks in different ways. Here is an invitation to come and play with not just art materials but a few other things –strawberry laces, marbles, string, salt, glue, slime…

 Becoming a more playful teacher… and so much more…: A workshop for those involved, or interested, in education. We shall explore how we might nurture spirituality in school life and across the whole curriculum – and in particular, how we might become more playful teachers.

Playful sin – a sort of side-by-side workshop: What happens when you put some quotations about play alongside some theological themes? So what might ‘playful creation’, ‘playful redemption’, ‘playful soul’, ‘playful trinity’ look like? What happens when the words ‘play’ and ‘sin’ are put alongside each other? This workshop is interactive with opportunities for creative discussion.

What is Godly Play?

A creative and imaginative approach to Christian nurture, Godly Play

  • is based on long established, tried and tested approaches,
  • uses symbols and objects as well as words
  • values process, openness and discovery
  • and encourages people to make meaning for themselves

It invites listeners into stories and encourages them to connect the stories with personal experience.

Godly Play

  • is  a non-coercive way to encourage children to move into larger dimensions of belief and faith
  • uses wondering questions and open-ended response time
  • aims to develop a deeper understanding of stories, symbols and rites
  • a way of preparing children to join in the worship and life of their faith community.

Developed originally as a resource for children, Godly Play is now being used with a wide range of age groups in a diversity of settings.

It can be used in a variety of settings – churches, schools, care settings and hospitals, and among people with and without formal religious faith.

Godly Play is one of several variations of the Montessori tradition of religious education and was developed in the United States by Dr Jerome Berryman.

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The Godly Play UK Facebook page will help you to see some of what Godly Play has to offer. With well over a thousand members it offers many different experiences, opinions and testimonies. There is a chance to get advice from our 14 trainers as well as asking other users how they have done things. And you can also share your own successes, insights and findings.

Find us, Godly Play UK, and ask to join us!