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article on 10 ways to start and maintain a successful Spirt Play program.
Religious Education Method and Ministry
Spirit Play is based in story and ritual, play and creativity. It gives children the tools to make meaning of their lives and questions such as Who am I, Where did I come from, and What is my purpose within the container of Unitarian Universalism.
The Montessori Philosophy
We use the Montessori approach with key elements of a prepared classroom environment, child-directed activities, and trained teachers. These elements free the children to choose their own focus after an initial lesson or story within a safe and sacred structure shepherded by two adults.
Encourages independent thinking through wondering questions
Gives children real choices within the structure of the morning
Creates community of children in classroom of mixed ages
Develops an underlying sense of the spiritual and the mystery of life
Supports congregational polity through choice of lessons
Fulfills parts of the volunteers' spiritual processes
The Proven 3-Part Format for Education
Spirit Play is a Unitarian Universalist program of religious education that has evolved from a long line of Montessori-based religious education programming.
Active Story Telling
Full day trainings are available to ensure success in this innovative method of religious education.
Spirit Play is a way of thinking about religious education, and inviting children and adults into an exploration of their own needs and "existential" limits. It provides for the modeling of authentic religious questioning, the freedom to search for one's own meaning, and perhaps most importantly, is emotionally provocative. I often tell the children that faith is not really something you think, but something you feel.
The sacred space that has been created allows for creative wondering and an opportunity to explore the stories personally through re-telling or through art materials provided. The manipulative materials allow the children to remember and connect to the stories and to independently work with them. The children are learning about our Unitarian Universalist principles and values at an age-appropriate level. Their own ideas are encouraged and valued at the same time.
This spectacular storytelling and spiritual learning method adapts well to rural multi-age classrooms, as children will do individual work at their own level. The method responds beautifully to a congregation's specific curricular needs. I've been using Spirit Play in different ways for fourteen years!