The Value of Wondering…an Alternative Approach to Exploring Bible Stories with Children

imagesAs a Primary school teacher in England, my lessons were target driven and goal oriented. I had specific objectives that were measurable: Did the child know the letter A and the sound it made? If they did, we moved on to letter B. I had a sense of satisfaction and security because I could easily measure what the child had learned. This approach spilled over into my Sunday school lessons…

It was a satisfying feeling when the children in my class were able to recite the weekly Bible verse; could name all twelve disciples, or knew how many loaves and fishes the little boy shared on that hillside in Galilee.

But a few years ago, I discovered a wonderful curriculum called Godly Play where the Bible story is simply told, but not explained, and little minds are at work, making meaning out of mystery.

In this approach, the teacher, or parent, does not begin with a pre-determined outcome in mind, and there are no right or wrong answers. Rather, a ‘wondering’ environment is created, where children are invited to ponder.

In the Godly Play model, instead of asking how many loaves and fish the little boy brought, the questions might be:

  • I wonder how the little boy felt when Jesus fed all those people with his lunch…
  • I wonder what he said to his mom when he got home…
  • I wonder how we can share what we have…
  • I wonder what might have happened if the little boy hadn’t shared his lunch…
  • I wonder what the disciples thought when they were collecting all the left-overs…

The value of using this type of wondering approach is that no answers are wrong, because no answers are needed. We are simply inviting God to be at work in the mind of the child, and as we do, we trust that God is at work in ways that can never be measured.

Try using this ‘wondering” approach the next time you share a Bible story with your children and see how they respond. it’s a wonderful way for both you and your child to engage deeply and meaningfully with scripture.

Glenys

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Comments

The Value of Wondering…an Alternative Approach to Exploring Bible Stories with Children — 4 Comments

  1. Glenys, this is a wonderful way to teacher children to think deeper about what they are reading or what they are seeing. It’s true analysis which is hard to measure, but far more effective in educating children and ourselves. Being brought up on the book report method, I have to train myself to ask deeper questions about what I read or hear. Thanks for sharing this method.

  2. I love this idea! It really engages the child and allows them to think and imagine rather then just absorb the facts of the story. Thanks for sharing this, Glenys!

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