I wrote before about the Montessori-based religious education program called Godly Play. (I have links to my other posts at the bottom of this post.) Advent is a time when children can truly experience the mystery of Christmas through Godly Play. The spirit of Advent encourages you to slow down, take time, and experience the mystery with your child. Take time to wonder…
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This is the first week of Advent, and there’s much you can do at home with Godly Play to help Advent come alive:
1. If your church has a Godly Play program, you can reinforce the lessons at home.
Even if you don’t have Godly Play materials, you can help your child by having an Advent wreath and lighting the candles once each week during Advent or every evening at the dinner table. The following emphases would coordinate with the Godly Play lessons each week:
- Week 1: The Prophets
- Week 2: The Holy Family
- Week 3: The Shepherds
- Week 4: The Wise Men and Christmas
- Christmas Eve: The Nativity Story
- Christmas Day: The Mystery of Christmas (The Incarnation based on the book The Glorious Impossible by Madeleine L’Engle)
For more ideas on using Advent wreaths, I have links to resources in December Family and Homeschool Activities.
2. For a homeschool, you can prepare and present the Godly Play Advent lessons.
This will take much more preparation, and you may want to wait until next year if you don’t already have the Godly Play materials. Even if you wait until next year, you will find it helpful to read and begin absorbing the Godly Play lessons.
The Godly Play materials and lessons help your child truly experience the language of Advent and the mystery of Christmas. The current Godly Play Advent lessons are in Complete Guide to Godly Play: An Imaginative Method for Presenting Scripture Stories to Children (Volume 3: 20 Presentations for Winter) by Jerome W. Berryman.
You can purchase the Godly Play Advent materials through links in my post on How to Add Godly Play to Your Homeschool. But to make the materials financially feasible for home use, you will probably want to make the materials yourself unless you have someone who can make them for you. Until the new book of patterns is published, you will need to purchase Young Children and Worship by Sonja M. Stewart and Jerome W. Berryman. The book has patterns and presentations for the Advent lessons, although the presentations aren’t the latest versions.
3. You can create a Godly Play table or shelf for your home.
This is a lovely and practical alternative for many homes.
I love the posts from Watkins Every Flavor Beans on Godly Play. I’ll update this post each week until Christmas with links on using Godly Play at home throughout Advent.
Here are some wonderful links about using Godly Play at home:
Advent Club – Week 1, Advent Club – Week 2, Advent Club – Week 3, Advent Club – Week 4, and Creating Spiritual Space for Children from Explore and Express (this isn’t about using Godly Play at home but has great ideas that would be applicable – for art and religious language, for example – especially with elementary-aged children)
Ten Godly Play at Home Tips for Parents from Faith at Home
Here are my Previous Posts about Godly Play:
Linked with Exploring Advent and Christmas Link-Up Party at Explore and Express