It wasn’t always like that. In the very beginning, in a class we started with older elementary children, the story we told on any given Sunday was the one we finished making about 10 hours prior to Sunday School. (The first classes were all the parables, because they were easy to make.)
For several years, the four teachers who tell stories to the the class of 3rd-5th graders have met in August and January to pick the stories for the “semester.” As a rule, we follow the progression suggested in “The Complete Guide to Godly Play” (volumes 1-7).
This fall, we tried something different. We have many children who only attend Sunday School and do not regularly attend worship services. So this time, we tried to pick every story we could that touched on corporate worship in some way. We had hoped to end the semester (on November 20) by attending church together as a class, but we’ve had to table that idea until January due to various conflicts (good conflicts!) in our parish life.
Here’s the schedule we came up with for Fall 2011:
9/11: How the Church Tells Time (The Complete Guide, Vol. 2)
9/18: The Ark and the Tent for God (The Complete Guide, Vol. 2)
9/25: The Ark and the Temple for God (The Complete Guide, Vol. 2)
10/2: The Boy Jesus in the Temple (Young Children and Worship)
10/9: Jesus’ Last Passover (Young Children and Worship)
10/16: Good Shepherd and World Communion (The Complete Guide, Vol. 4)
10/23: The Synagogue and the Upper Room (The Complete Guide, Vol. 4)
10/30: The Road to Emmaus (Young Children and Worship)
11/6: The Circle of the Holy Eucharist (The Complete Guide, Vol. 4)
11/13: The Lord’s Prayer (from our collection of stories in the style of Godly Play)
11/20: What Does It Mean to Be an Episcopalian?
This series of stories has been a particularly rich period for us as a class. Some of them gravitate to the “setting the table” materials during their work time. After hearing the story “Jesus’ Last Passover,” One fifth grader immediately said she would draw the story and went straight for the markers and paper. I was snapping photos (but being blind as a bat, I never truly see what I’ve accidentally captured until I get home to the computer). Her response is more profound than words I could write: