By Mark LaPointe, DLRE, Published on September 21, 2017
This past Saturday, RE Committee co-chair and volunteer teacher, Dana Robinson and I trekked over to the Unitarian Universalist Church in Northborough for an 8-hour training in Spirit Play, an exciting new addition to our RE line up. Part of the multi-year curriculum change that we launched two years ago, Spirit Play builds from the Montessori method and Jerome Berryman’s Godly Play to engage children in Preschool through First Grades in Unitarian Universalism, ethics, world religion and spiritual exploration.
The basic premise of Spirit Play is that young children learn best when given room to explore in their own way through play. Each Spirit Play class begins with a story that tells a moral lesson, or perhaps a bit of UU history, or some unanswerable mystery of life, and so on. Unlike reading a children’s book, however, the stories are told using what we educators call manipulatives (material items that can be touched and moved). The storyteller ends the lesson by raising up wondering statements such as, “I wonder what it’s like to break a promise,” or “I wonder if you’ve ever experienced unfairness.” The children are left to contemplate and wonder without being given answers. As one story notes, “sometimes there are different answers to the same question. Sometimes there are no answers to a question. But, we keep on asking anyway.”
Ask me or Dana or any of the RE Committee members a bit more about Spirit Play if you’re curious. Sometime this fall we will present one of the Spirit Play stories as the Time for All Ages during worship. We are excited about this addition to our RE program and want to share this excitement with the church.
Director of Lifespan Religious Exploration