About Godly Play®
Jerome Berryman is an Episcopalian priest who studied the Montessori Method and its religious implications with Sofia Cavalletti (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd) in Italy in 1971. Since then, he developed the Godly Play approach to Christian religious education with an emphasis on the function of religious language—parable, sacred story, and liturgical action—in the moral and spiritual development of children. The goal of Godly Play is to teach children the art of using the language of the Christian tradition to encounter God and find direction in their lives.
Godly Play has six objectives to help meet this goal:*
- Model how to wonder in religious education, so children can “enter” religious language rather than merely repeating it or talking about it.
- Show children how to create meaning with the language of the Christian tradition and how this can involve them in the experience of the Creator.
- Show children how to choose their own work, so that they can confront their own existential limits and depth issues rather than work on other kinds of problems dictated by others, including adults.
- Organize the educational time to follow the pattern of Christian worship that the Christian tradition has found to be the best way to be with God in community; getting ready, listening to the word of God, responding to God’s word, giving thanks, sharing the feast, and participating in the blessing and dismissal.
- Show children how to work together as a community by supporting and respecting each other and one another’s quest.
- Organize the educational space so that the whole system of Christian language is present in the room, so children can literally walk into that language domain when they enter the room and can begin to make connections among its various parts as they work with the lesson of the day and their responses in art or other lessons.
*from Teaching Godly Play: The Sunday Morning Handbook by Jerome W. Berryman