Godly Play has much to offer

Godly Play in Schools

Godly Play is a gift to a school

Godly Play takes children’s spirituality seriously. It is an imaginative approach to spiritual nurture through story, wondering, and play.

You can find out more by watching the film ‘What is Godly Play?’ or by listening to this short interview

We recommend that anyone taking Godly Play into a school undertakes the three-day core training course.

“Godly Play, led by Jo Apps, is a highly valued aspect of the spiritual life of our school. Pupils and staff talk about how they look forward to their regular sessions, which support spiritual development and enquiry”

— Deputy Head

“I can hear the voice of the Good Shepherd when I’m in the Godly Play room. I can hear his voice all the time in the Godly Play room … in everything”

— Student

Godly Play can be grown by a school

Our trainers can help by offering:

  • A taster session to experience Godly Play, perhaps as a twilight training
  • An INSET (half or full day) on children’s spirituality
  • A place for a staff member on an Introductory training day
“Without Godly Play I’d be like him at the side of the road in the parable of the Good Samaritan, beaten and half-dead”

— student

How to get started

“The current UK context warrants a serious conversation about the relationship between spirituality and wellbeing. At a time when … according to the last census, religion plays a decreasing role for young people (ONS, 2011), there is a strong case for protecting spaces for spiritual development because many aspects of spirituality, particularly practices like meditation, but also and most simply, a richer experience of life’s meaning, can serve to promote well-being”

— Schools with Soul report (2014) produced by the RSA

Godly Play and its underlying principles offer a different way of being with children that can help nurture their spirituality in all aspects of school life. Godly Play values process rather than product, multi-modality learning, open questions and space for discovery, meaning-making and self-directed activity

“I like how you can interact with people and say all your differences”

— Student

Planning for Godly Play in schools

There are many ways of using Godly Play:

  • For key festivals and seasons such as Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter
  • To learn about Christian traditions such as baptism and communion
  • As a lunchtime or after-school activity
  • As part of a themed day such as RE day
  • As a regular activity, a way of learning and doing things differently
  • As part of Collective Worship
  • As an SMSC enrichment activity

Godly Play can be done in all sorts of spaces. A special or ‘sacred’ space is created for Godly Play by:

  • Creating a threshold, a place where the space begins
  • Offering a welcome: ‘Are you ready?’
  • Ensuring there is space enough for a single circle of children
  • Having a visual focal point (a focal shelf)
  • Being fully present to the children
  • Being clear about listening and mutual respect
  • Acknowledging the place and power of silence
  • Displaying the story and response materials carefully, in a way that communicates value and appeal.

The Godly Play stories are published in The Complete Guide to Godly Play. This is a series of 8 volumes with the core stories in volumes 2, 3, and 4.

Godly Play can be done with:

  • A whole class
  • Smaller groups
  • ‘Family’ groups
  • Nurture groups

Useful Reading

  • Children’s Spirituality: What it is and why it matters

    Children’s Spirituality: What it is and why it matters

    Rebecca Nye

     (2009), Church House Publishing, ISBN 9780715140277, £10.99

  • Teaching Godly Play: How to mentor the spiritual development of children

    Teaching Godly Play: How to mentor the spiritual development of children

    Jerome W Berryman

    (2009), Morehouse Education Resources, ISBN 9781606740484, £16

“This is the best time I ever had in school”

— boy aged 8

“I thought it was magnificent. When I walked in I forgot my problems and began to smile I really enjoyed my visit because if it a splendid place”

— student

“I love GP sessions in RE – they make me feel really calm and peaceful and that really helped me in my exam”

— year 5 child

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