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WHAT DOES GODLY PLAY® DO EDUCATIONALLY AND THEOLOGICALLY?


Providing structure for spiritual practice, the Godly Play method engages our innate spirituality and nourishes use of religious language to make meaning from Biblical stories through the Creative Process.  Originally designed as a curriculum for the spiritual guidance of children, the Godly Play method firstly aims for fluency in the Christian language before adolescence so that children entering this next stage of development have the ability to explore their existential limits and articulate their experiences in community.

Fluency does not mean “remembering the language as an end in itself.” Instead, a “conscious and functioning language system” develops because “religious language acts as a door into the pure coordination of actions among God, self, others and the creation.”  Because language names and orders thoughts, the base language used to construct reality plays a significant role in the reality itself. Pre-language, conceptions of Self, God, Others and Nature connect and communicate directly with one another.  When language is added, “the primary relationships are now refracted through  the prism of the language.”


In practice, the language domain influences relationships, meaning, and use of one’s knowledge and experience. The art of using language is acquired through modeling and immersion; words are only part of the process. Since both spoken and unspoken meaning foster full language acquisition, the environment and culture of Godly Play practice is critical—the method is much more than a clever way to tell Bible stories.

The Godly Play curriculum guides participants through self-discovery, which is fundamental to the Montessori tradition from which Godly Play developed. While the Godly Play method is a spiritual practice, spiritual experiences during Godly Play sessions are actually the mechanism for
“being in religious language.” These experiences serve as both a conditioner for our existing spiritual connection with God and as the instrument for grounding spirituality in the Christian language and community of religion.